Hey guys! Julie from Our Chez Nous here! I’m back, and I can’t wait to discuss today’s topic! Kid made fabric! We all love to create and customize the clothes we make our kids (or else why would we all be here!?!) So why not get the kids themselves involved in helping to customize their own outfits. Granted, we’re not just going to hand over our sewing machines to them (unless you’re totally comfortable with that…), so here’s an alternative, have fun with fabric and try out some new techniques. Involving kids in the process helps them not only feel like they have a say, but also helps promote a creative mind and understanding as to how and where things come from fabric/clothing wise. So here a some techniques that I’ve rounded up for you to try (and don’t worry, I’m not going to be staying out of the fun here, I’ll be trying out all these techniques on my personal blog throughout the summer and sharing our results).
I think fabric paint is one of the easiest techniques you could experiment with, but just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s boring! There are so many different things you could try with fabric paints. Here are a couple of things you could try…
- Freezer paper stencils I know the majority of you have heard of, if not tried, freezer paper stencils, but you could use this opportunity to get your child to draw a simple shape or picture and use it as the basis behind a new stencil for his/her shirt (or pants, skirt, dress….after all, they’re not just for tshirts!)
- Make an applique This is how the rainbow shirt in the above picture is done, and is a great idea, apply some interfacing to a fabric so it doesn’t stretch/change shape while painting it, then sew it on to your garment. Check out the link for further details!
- Blank canvas Don’t be afraid to hand over a meter/yard of blank fabric to your child, and treat it as a blank canvas. Let them loose and they will create something unique that you can later cut into to create a new piece of clothing. If you’re doing this with small children, opt to stick to two or three colours, since the more colour you use, the less defined they will turn out.
- Use markers Grab some fabric markers, or even sharpies and create some unique patterns and drawings on your fabric. Unless you’re willing to finish an entire pattern all over a piece, stick to just a small pattern area or accent drawing and you’ll get just as much satisfaction out of it!
- Customize fabric Another way to use fabric paint, would be to customize yourself some fabric. You have a print that you love, but only comes in black and white?! Well don’t let that stop you! This could also be great for using with kids, since it’s like colouring in a picture. Determine how many colours you want, and then how much of that colour you want to see (a little bit, or a lot?) and let your child paint it in. It won’t always be perfect, but it’ll be unique, and nobody else with that fabric will have the same result as you!
Fabric dyeing may take a bit more work, but is really worth it in the end. You get beautiful colours and results are very permanent. But don’t let that scare you, run a small trial and error on a piece of scrap fabric before you dive into it fully, and you’ll see the results for yourself! Here are some techniques for your to try:
- Shibori This japanese dyeing technique has really taken off this year so why not give it a try yourself? The most used colour (and one of few) is indigo, which can produce stunning results when paired with a bright white or even a cream coloured fabric.
- Tie Dye We all remember this technique from when we were kids. So why not give it a try this year with your own? Pick one or two colours, or go crazy with lots of colours, let your kids figure out their designs or help the along the way. You can’t go wrong with tie dye, and that’s the beauty of it!
- Black and White to Colour Again, with the black and white fabric, but if you don’t want to paint it because you want it one entire colour, consider dyeing it instead to get some unique colour results.
- Photo-sensitive dyes Another way to dye is to use sun sensitive products, which is a great idea for kids. Get them to draw a couple of silhouettes of images (think flowers, robots, clouds like the photo above), cut them out, and place them on the fabric before applying the dye, which lets them create a pattern. Then all you have to do is apply the dye, let the sun to it’s work, and there you have a quick and easy pattern made by your kids.
Love your child’s drawings but you’re not too sure what to do with them other then storing them in a box never to be seen again (trust me…I have that problem!) Instead of storing them away permanently, transform them into accents for your child’s clothes. Here are some techniques:
- Iron-on Transfer Yes, I know, you’ve heard of this. But that doesn’t mean it’s not full of it’s own possibilities! Look at the picture above right, and you’ll see a transfer pattern made with one drawing and applied as an accent. Or above left where the transfer was customize even more with buttons for wheels and eyes, what a cool looking robot! Think of the things you could use to help accent a transfer, scrap fabric, buttons and ribbons. Let your imagination (or your child’s) run wild with this and see what you can create.
- Spoonflower Don’t be afraid to add Spoonflower as a tool (just like your needles, freezer paper, scissors and paints). Upload your child’s drawing or drawings to create a custom fabric, then use it to create some fun pieces. You can even create your own small patterns with one basic drawing!
You’ve tried all the techniques above and you’re looking for something new? How about screen printing? This is similar to freezer paper stencils, and by that, I mean the way you would approach your final image and by results, but the steps are entirely different, and each stencil can typically be reused more then once. You may think this is only for the brave souls, but involving kids in this process can also be pretty simple. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
- Creating their stencils If you don’t want to involve the kids in the messy job of applying the dye, then simply have them help create their own stencils, or drawings (to be turned into stencils). If you’re not sure where to start, remember that the most basic drawings like silhouettes and lines are the easiest to apply since you’ll only be using one colour. If you’re brave and want to try multiple colours, then your drawing will need to be divided by how many colours you will need to create seperate stencils (you want to use three colours, you will need three stencils).
- In on the Action Let the older kids in on the entire process, and not only will they have a blast, but they will have a new understanding of how a picture on a shirt is made. If it’s their (and your) first time, keep it simple with one colour applications. Let them create their drawing, turn it into a stencil and apply the dye.
I hope you’re inspired to try some new techniques this summer. I plan on testing out a variety of these with my kids (so don’t worry, if you want real life trial and error…check out my blog…I’ll be keeping it real for you 😉 ). As I find more inspiration and techniques, I’ll be pinning them over at the Kid’s Clothes Week’s Pinterest so make sure to check it out!