Flamingo shirts

hand paint flamingo shirt for little girlAt the beginning of the summer S requested a shirt with flamingoes on it. I did have some flamingo fabric at the back of the cupboard that I’d never used as I ordered it online and when it arrived it turned out to be a lot louder in the flesh that it had appeared onscreen. On digging it out again I definitely felt the print was too large and busy for a little shirt, but maybe just loud enough for a man who likes loud shirts, so I made another hacked version of McCall’s 6044. O was a little taken aback, I think it may even be too garish for his taste, but I have a feeling that a bit of sun-bleaching and washing may well tone it down.

man's shirt with flamingo print

Undeterred I went back to S’s original request and without any suitable fabric to hand I decided to make some. I have experimented a lot in the past with opaque fabric paint and stencils but wanted to try using some translucent paints and a freer style of application. I used Setacolour transparent paints (with added water) and a brush to apply the paint and played around with shapes that might work. The advantage of the transparent paints is that they absorb into the fabric rather than sitting on top of it which means they don’t cause any crispiness in the fabric. Of course it also means they only work on lighter coloured fabrics so I choose a fine white cotton. The downside of the paint absorbing is that it also spreads which works better for looser strokes that detailed work so my flamingoes ended up being a lot less delicate than I had envisaged. They were also slightly larger in scale than I’d have liked. flamingoes painted in transparent setacolour fabric paintWhile the paint was out I also let the girls experiment with making some fabric, and whilst it didn’t turn out quite like the amazing watercolour dress Cherie at You and Mie made with her daughter I did make something wearable* with it.

hand painted fabric hand painted fabric

S made the big bold strokes, and H decided on covering the whole fabric with smaller patterns, which after she started to get bored with I helped her to finish.

hand painted top

*not everyone may agree.

Once the flamingo fabric was painted and pressed I used a blouse pattern from ‘Everyday Sewing for Girls’ that I have blogged about previously here. For me, it is pretty much a perfect pattern for a child this age and I love the proportions and details.hand paint flamingo shirt for little girl

17 thoughts on “Flamingo shirts

  1. i’m allways so impressed with your printmaking! you remind me of a pile of fabric in my stash which’s waiting for some nice paint. the wathercolor look of the flamingos is so adorable! you should design fabrics!

  2. Flamingo fabric, I would buy that (not the crazy one, your one). I have a thing about flamingos.

    And your girls abstract printing is really, really good. Very impressive. I think if I let my girls do that it would start off lovely but slowly turn into a big brown smudge, so thick that it would take a week to dry. I’m trying to get them to understand the concept of ‘Less is more’.

  3. This is so amazing! Painting your own fabric is a beautiful idea. This top would work well for the Kids Clothes Week ‘Disguise’ theme!

  4. This is just gorgeous Toya. I love it. I have been thinking about a collaborative creation of a piece of fabric that can then be shared and different garments made by say three or four of us.

    1. Collaboration can be a tricky business, I definitely found it hard not to try and steer/control how my 2 yr old approached the painting, that said I am very envious of the freedom of expression she has! I’m always so inspired by your fabric painting so hopefully they’ll be more to see soon.

      1. Great news. Yes when I am crayoning with 4yr old grandson I want to make it “nice”, whereas he often scribbles all over with black. Which is nice in its own way.

    1. Oh I would love to design fabrics, I just have absolutely no idea how you could go about producing them for a more affordable rate that custom printing shops, but I’ll give it some thought.

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