Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Once Upon A Thread: Press Here


I was so excited when Katy at No Big Dill announced she was doing another chapter of her Once Upon A Thread series last week.  In case you've haven't heard of it before, it's a sewing series inspired by children's books.  It's my favorite sewing series out there by far.  I decided I was going to participate, laundry monster be damned.   I needed an artsy project.  I've been out on maternity leave since baby Jane arrived, which is fabulous timing on my part since my leave lasted through the end of the school year.   Now it's summer and I don't go back to work until August.  But to tell you the truth, I kind of miss my job (I teach elementary art).  Parts of it anyway.  I miss the art making part.   I needed some sort of messy art project to keep my hands busy.


I chose the book Press Here by Herve Tullet.  It's one of my new favorites.  I have quite a collection of children's books at school but I'm now starting a collection for my new little bundle (exciting!).  It's a simple picture book that asks the reader to do certain things to dots- press, rub, blow, clap- and on each page the dots change.   It's sort of a play on our obsession with all things electronic and interactive.  I love the dots.  I was inspired by the illustrations.  I thought the simplicity would work well as a fabric design.


I'm pretty sure the original illustrations are painted, but I thought they resembled a monoprint.  And I wanted to try monoprinting on fabric.   A monoprint is simply a one-of print.  Typically anytime you make a print you make multiples.   A monoprint is different because it's a one time deal.  Whenever I teach monoprinting to my kids at school, I tell them it's a print of a painting.  I figure that's a good way to explain it in elementary school terms.


Traditional monoprints are done on glass or Plexiglas using a press.  At school we do them on leftover pieces of laminating film.  I ended up using a roll of clear cellophane I had.  It was cheap and I had a large area to work from.  You need something non-porous so the paint sits on the surface and doesn't dry very fast.   It's really easy to do.  You paint on whatever slick surface you are using.  I used some Plaid screen printing ink I had.  Then lay your fabric on top to print your image.  I rolled over the back of my fabric with a brayer to make sure everything transferred.  I laid a piece of paper down first so the ink didn't get all over my brayer.


One of the things I love most about this elementary school style monoprint is that you can really see brushstrokes.  That's the main reason I wanted to monoprint the dots instead of just painting them on the fabric.  There is kind of a subtractive nature to monoprinting that you can't get from straight painting on fabric.   Some parts dry and don't print.   And it was fun.  That's a good enough reason, too.


So it was successful!  I printed the dots and then the stripes just because.  Then I made up the dress version of Simplicity 1813, the same pattern I used to make baby Jane's sunsuit.  It's a great little pattern.  You could probably do something a lot cooler with monoprinting on fabric but this was a fun experiment.  And I think baby Jane looks pretty darn cute in her new dress.  I made the little bow, too.  I've never considered myself a bow person before but who can resist on a face like this.



And even though baby Jane is just a babe, she loves being read to.   She's just now discovering she can reach out and touch things and this book is perfect for a little one who is just figuring out how to use those hands.  Look at all those dots begging to be touched.

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 She's saying, "Hands! HANDS, Mom!  These things are great!"
I speak baby now in case you were wondering.

Hooray Katy for your awesome series!  I had so much fun working on this.  Go check out all the awesomeness over at No Big Dill, folks.


48 comments:

  1. This is sooooo kewl! I love the art lesson and the wonderful new dress for Baby Jane!

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  2. She's killing me with her cuteness! The dress is lovely and unique and you made me want to try this printing method.

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  3. Oh my god, her little hands are making my ovaries ache. Oh, and I love the dress, too. This looks like a good project for little crafty people.

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    1. Yes, perfect project for little crafty people! It's always fun to see how a print turns out.

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  4. This is just too, too cute. She's such a pretty baby and the dress project looks like it was a fun one.

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  5. I think that is a fun series. I'm happy to see you got to participate in it!

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  6. Oh goodness, you are clever! This is a cool idea, and she looks totally adorable. Wonder if I should make things for my kids based on their favourite books, haha ;)

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    1. Well now, I think you already do a good job of sewing things for them for fancy dress parties! That's along the same lines :)

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  7. Oh my, you have to go back to work soon! Here in Canada you get maternity leave for up to 50 weeks. Enjoy your summer.

    Love the printing idea, I never would have thought of using cellophane to make a print, brilliant idea.

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    1. Oh don't even get me started on maternity leave in the US. It sucks. Most teachers only take 6 weeks or so because that is all you are paid for. You can take up to 12 but without pay. I am incredibly lucky that baby Jane will be almost 18 weeks old when I go back. But yes, still not enough time. I could stay home for 50 weeks easy. Going back to work in August is going to be the hardest thing I've ever done.

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  8. OH my goodness! I just love it! The monoprint dress is so inspired!

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  9. My goodness, that is one adorable baby!
    I've never heard of monoprinting before, such a cool idea. Love the sweet dress, it's perfect in it's simplicity.

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  10. You are so talented! I love the dress you made. Those would fly off the racks in a clothing store.

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  11. What a fun project and she looks very sweet in it. Interesting art lesson, as well.

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  12. Your baby is just SO darn cute! But I can't belive how short maternity leave you have over there, here in Sweden we are so fortunate as to have the possibility to stay at home for up to two years! (I didn't though, nine months was enough for me, and then my husband took over!)

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  13. This is beautiful - what a cool story to have to tell Baby Jane about her spotty frock when she gets older.

    I think I might try this soon with le 2 yo.

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    1. Yes, monoprinting would lend itself well to 2 year old painting. You could even use fingers instead of brushes!

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  14. This looks like fun! The outfit turned out beautifully too, how lovely to turn your art into something you can use. Plus, that baby is Gorgeous!!

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  15. Absolutely gorgeous dress - the monoprint is fantastic (I'd love a fabric with that print on it!!!!), and your little girl is just so beautiful!!!

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  16. That is really awesome! I love the Once Upon a Thread series. Your artwork is groovy, as ever, and your little girl just adorable.

    The latest Threads has an article on a similar technique...only they dab the paint on a bed of shaving cream rather than a non-porous surface....I wonder how this would compare??

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    1. Ooh, I'll have to check that out. I've done some marbling before using shaving cream to suspend the paint.

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  17. AMAZING! Truly original. She looks beautiful x

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  18. It's obvious that Baby Jane will not only be the best dressed baby in town but also very well read! She's adorable.

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  19. Oh gosh she's adorable!! My kids love that book too and the kids at school LOVE it!!

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  20. baby jane is one of the most adorable babies ever! so sweet. love the printing technique. looks totally doable for a summer project with my kiddos, i'll have to remember this!

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  21. I love it! What a great idea to print your own fabric. I'll have to check out the sewalong, I think you mentioned it last year and it sounded really cool. Baby Jane looks lovely in the dress!

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  22. Great idea - I love this dots. I also like the idea of monoprint. I've seen paintings on material but this is new to me.

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  23. Wow, how cool! What an awesome dress! And Baby Jane looks cuter every time she makes an appearance! The book looks really fun, too!

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  24. Cute book, dress, AND baby!! :-) I'm so jealous of how creative you are, this printing technique turned out super cute!

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  25. Oh my goodness, what cuteness! Great job.

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  26. she is so cute!! What is the ric rac looking stuff you used???

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    1. Hey Anne, it's mini-pom trim! Mini poms make everything better in my book.

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    2. just googled it - I've never heard of that before!!! Will definitely keep it in mind for future projects....too cute!

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  27. Agh so cool! I've always worked with monoprint as a fine art technique but it totally makes sense that you could print fabric with it. It's exciting that Baby Jane is so excited to explore books.

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    1. I know, right? Printmaking was my concentration in college. I thought I was totally original when I thought about monoprinting on fabric. But I googled it and it turns out quilters do it all the time :)

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  28. This is so cool! What a clever idea to print the fabric. It looks fantastic.

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  29. What a gorgeous little dress! I especially love when you post about fabric printing. I'm fascinated by it but too scared to try.

    Thanks for the book recommendation! It looks super cute.

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  30. Clearly little Jane was lucky when she born in your family! What a clever idea...will have to keep that idea in my list.

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  31. Oooh, baby Jane is so gorgeous. And so is her dress.

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  32. I so admire your creativity. The dress is as darling as the baby. :)

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  33. OMG! What a sweet face she has!! And she looks lovely in her new dress. I'm not familiar with this method, but it looks very, very cool. I'd love to give this a try for my own Press Play frock ;o)

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  34. Ohh, the cuteness! Baby Jane is darling, and her new dress is adorable. Thank you for the tutorial. I'd love to try it, it looks fun.

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  35. never heard of monoprints before, but now i'm amazed with this.. must try it out! your print is fantastic, and little dress is adorable.. and baby jane is too cute for words

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  36. This is just too darling! My kids love this book and I think this is just so incredibly clever. The dress is beautiful and your little girl is so sweet :)

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  37. This outfit is so super sweet! I love that you made this fabric. Baby Jane just melts my heart! I love babies.

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  39. So delightful, and I have been wanting to try printing! Thanks for a great idea :)

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