Friday, August 7, 2015

The No grain jean jacket continues.

I thought I would share a peak of the progress. I have not touched this project or anything else for nearly three weeks, and trust me, it is killing me. I did manage to do a Hong Kong finish on the side seams to day and will do the same to the sleeve seams. I could have flat felled them but just wanted a bit of whimsy and finesse for the inside.  I took this jacket apart with a razor blade. Most of the recycle jean projects I have found specify just hacking the sucker with the scissors. The blade took very little time and I did it while watching TV. By doing that I gained the dark seam allowances to work with. I cut off all the details and repositioned them on other parts of the jacket, which made no logical sense whatsoever but is fun aesthetically.  For me, this design is all about the fun and nothing here is being taken too seriously.

This gives you a peak at some of the "painting" if you can call it that. I wanted just blotches of color, much like my original inspiration. I used Lumiere textile paints and once heat set they softened up nicely.  Next time I will mix them with fabric medium to soften them up. Every project there is something to learn, right? I did get some really cool iridescent textile medium, made by Liquitex, that I am anxious to try but this project is pretty much painted out at this point. I am chomping to use my new Inktense pencils and the irridescent medium.

Here you can see my Honk Kong seams , made without the benefit of an edge stitching foot, but on a galloping horse, it will be fine. As the side seam curves out for the hip there is a flat felled seam. Not easy to nicely wrap the binding around. I may redo that, we''ll see. Where is my all time favorite presser foot, the edge stitcher? Well, I am using my workhorse Kenmore which doesn't have such a foot while my Pfaff is at the spa in New Hampshire. I will pick it up in two weeks when we go down to visit. There is NO ONE around here that can fix a computerized machine within  50-60 miles. I think that alone is good reason to move, right?

We are still in fix up mode with the house and our hard work is starting to show. We are going for big curb appeal with landscaping changes, new front doors and other goodies. I think I've watched too many HGTV real estate shows.  We hope to have the house on the market March 1, although it's looking so  much better it's tempting to stay put. Realistically, however, we need to be closer to our children for several reasons and that's what we will do. This was our downsize home. We sold the big house on the lake some years back, still to the chagrin of our children, but we've all come to love this little beige box on the river and all it's wildlife and quiet. Our goal with this revitalization is to try and give this box some character and I think we have. In going over our papers on the house the other night, I found the original real estate photos. It was new construction and wow, I'm amazed we even bought it. The layout inside and location on the water sold us. We've always lived on the water and it was definitely the right choice. By Labor Day we will be done with a slew of August visitors and all the construction and hopefully it will be back to our usual quiet, laid back, creative lifestyle. I can't wait to seriously hit the sewing machine, yes!.......................Bunny

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Jean Jacket continues....

I managed to get an afternoon of painting in on my jacket and it is near done, so easy. This isn't the Mona Lisa, but soft big splotches of color. I experimented a bit and the Lumiere dyes gave me my best effect. All they will require is a heat setting 24 hours after paining. I may still use some of the Shiva paint sticks. We'll see. The vegetable peeler is what I use to remove the skin from the paint sticks. I have had sticks that are fifteen years old and fresh as daisies once they are peeled. They are supposed to be peelable, not just a drying out factor, and they last forever.  But I am not done.

I also ordered a set of Inktense Pencils which I am soooo excited about.  I want to thank Coco, of Coco's Loft, for introducing me to these via her blog. I can't wait to try them. You use them, sort of crayon like, or any colored pencil. Then you apply a bit of water with a small brush and voila - they turn to permanent inks which need NO heat setting or any other kind of setting to be permanent on fabric. You bet I am tracking this package! 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Denim Inspiration

I come from the generation of embroidered, slung low on the hips, bell bottomed jeans. I hated them as  they looked awful on me so I never owned a pair, que l├ístima! While I don't remember what I did wear for pants in my teens, it wasn't those. But I do remember being intrigued by the embellishment and maybe that's why I am enjoying making this jean jacket today. I have a definite plan: Phase One-piecing, Phase Two - painting and Phase Three - thread embellishment. Phase One is close to complete and I hope I can get some painting in this weekend. I will start with some experimentation before I  commit to the garment. I am really seeing just subtle blotches of color but evolution may kick in and turn it into something else. In the meantime, even though I have a pretty solid idea of what I want to do, I thought some research might be fun and started digging through Pinterest and Google. I saw some really interesting inspiration that fell into just a few categories and thought I would share.


People seemed to have discovered the Tide Bleach Pen or using stencils and bleach in a spray bottle or even employing tie dye techniques. I really like some of these  effects. I will put a clickable link below each pic. This one uses tie dyeing technique and I like its simplicity.
Simple technique, good tutorial

I would love to see the effect with the arms down. Would it be so "birdlike"?

And for the real artist out there, what could be more awesome than this, painted on jean pockets?
closed Etsy shop, boohoo.....all gone.

This is a fairly easy project, good tutorial. 

Denim, once the possession of the hardest working among us, is worn by everyone today. Denim fabric and  garments are so amenable to making your own artistic statement whether you are capable of pockets with classic Greek portraits or simply want to tie dye with rubber bands in a bucket. So many opportunities and much very doable. 


I think painting denim is what really appeals to me. It just offers so many possibilities and I've always loved painting.  While I am planning a subtle use of paint, like my inspiration jacket, anything goes as you will see in these jackets. Such fun!

You can commemorate  a favorite pet.

Express your faith.

Remember a place.

Or honor a rock star like Pharrell. 

Painting a jean jacket just knows no bounds and they are just so much fun. 


Embellishing the surface of your denim with embroidery has been around  for a long time. And, like painting, embroidery has limitless potential.  Many may feel more comfortable with a needle, be it machine or hand, when embellishing denim garments. An odd thing in my search though, embroidered jackets didn't have quite the artistic cache of the painted ones. Many were retail garments with a much smaller percentage being embroidered by the loving hands at home. Here are some  examples:

This little puppy is Dolce Y Gabbana and I know many of you could do this sort of work quite easily. I love how it works with the distressing of the denim. 

I couldn't understand a word on this page so hope this is nothing objectionable. It looks like a combination of paint and embroidery.

This one, above, is just darling and indicative of the the classic embroidered look I found over and over. I like how they used the peak of the yoke. Many self embroidered jackets utilize the back and yokes as the canvas. Embroidery elsewhere is not seen quite so much.

Applique and more:

Fabric appliqued to the jean jacket base is also popular and really a quite easy way to get a bang of a look and I like the effect. They seem to be a bit more contemporary. 

courtesy crux and crow on Etsy, no longer available

This one claims to be vintage seventies. While I think the fabric and trims are, those studded areas on the sleeves don't ring true to me. They are a much more recent trim development, IMO. Either way, pretty creative. 

This one sports machine appliqued flowers and I think its pretty cute and very doable.

Sometimes just a tiny bit of detail is the perfect amount.

Messy sequins and tears , anyone? Awww, come on, it's only 1650.00. Oops, its also sold out.

Hopefully you've enjoyed this tour of the denim jacket universe and the exciting opportunities for creative expression it offers. Each is so individual and such a personal creative expression. I'll be back with more of mine between carpenters and gardening, dump and delivery trucks, hammers, nails and trips to the nursery......Bunny