RTW Basics

There are some basics that I just buy. Things like plain, cotton T-shirts and tank tops in plain colors of black, navy and white. The cost/time benefit is low. Especially with my laundering methods.  I get 4-5 of “like new” wearings and then colors fade and shapes change. Good enough around the house, but out-and-about, I want nicer. I think I really need these plain, basic pieces. It seems to me that if everything I wear is a statement piece, instead of looking put together I look busy; confused.  The statement pieces disappear into a mess instead of being a focal point.  I do sew these basic pieces sometimes, but mostly I just buy.

Recently I had an unusual issue with a plain, navy-blue T-shirt.  I would wear it with my other pieces and put it into the laundry.  It would disappear for weeks at a time.  Finally DH would bring it back and tell me it wasn’t his shirt… it was mine.  I decided I needed to do something so that I would know this was my piece.  I didn’t want to put a tag in it.  I’ve given up on personal designer tags.  I’m still proud of my creations. I just don’t like tags rubbing the back of my neck. No tags for me. What else could I do that would immediately indicate this was my shirt (upon coming out of the dryer), but still retain its plain supporting role in my wardrobe?

I considered machine embroidery, my favorite. Except I really don’t like struggling to hoop an already sewn-together garment.  I considered some type of decorative stitching but again I’d need to get some stabilizer in there and keep it lined up while stitching.  I could rip seams to make that easier— but I won’t. Finally decided the easiest would be stenciling a design.

I sorted through my stencils and found one I liked

Except, I knew I wanted to put this on the front multiple times. I know you can lift and replace the stencil and scrape the paint again, but I always seem to make a mess plus it’s hard to conceive the total impact,  errr to know when I’ve repeated the design enough times.  So I decide to use my Cameo Silhouette.  I followed Carolyn Keber’s excellent instructionsEmbird and the Silhouette Cameo” purchased on the Secrets Of site.  It might have been faster and easier to do  within DE (software for the Cameo) but I’m pretty familiar with Embird. For me it was fast to scan my design; set the edges using the outline tool; save as a SDF and after importing into DE click the trace button.  Because I’m familiar with Embird, creating the SDF took me no more than 10 minutes (that includes scanning in the design). Once traced, I changed my mat size to 13X24″ and then played.  I copied my traced design multiple times, arranged and rearranged. I spent more time playing than anything else.  For these large stencils I use two sheets of freezer paper that have been pressed together and then trimmed to size.  I have the Cameo set to cut through only the top layer. Once cut, I separate the two layers and carefully weed the top layer. It’s another time-consuming chore.  If I’m not careful, I will tear the freezer paper.  For smaller stencils, I use bona-fide stencil material, but I can’t find big material and judging by the cost of the small stuff, probably wouldn’t buy it any way.

Once separated and weeded, I’m ready to place on my fabric. I keep a largish piece of cardboard (cut from an old box) which I insert inside the T-shirt. So far that’s been enough to keep the paint from bleeding through to the back side. Then I spray my freezer-paper stencil with re-positionble glue (sometimes called stencil spray).  It’s possible I could iron the freezer paper to the T-shirt and not use the glue.  But I’d rather be safe then sorry and use the glue for a good seal. This time I had problems positioning my stencil.  I placed it; removed it; rearranged the T-shirt on the cardboard; then sprayed the stencil a second time and positioned on my T-shirt.  I used a gold puffy fabric paint and dabbed it onto the stencil.

Fearful that I would disturb the paint, I let the T-shirt dry, in place,  overnight. Should I have removed the stencil immediately?   Because the next day I had a heck of a time removing the stencil.

Some pieces wouldn’t release even using the dental tool.  I soaked it overnight in water. Scraped at the stencil. Washed it. Scraped at the stencil.  Soaked and scraped again and again, but still had little piece that wouldn’t release:

For the next week, I kept soaking in water and trying to scrape away little pieces of freezer paper.  I’ve never had this issue before.  Maybe it was the 2nd spraying of glue?  Finally, I gave up and said “I’ll probably wear a vest over it any way”

Not only are there still little bits of paper but the paint has turned white in multiple places. (All that soaking?) It’s not really the basic piece I envisioned.  Guess I’ll have to buy a new, navy-blue T-shirt.


2 thoughts on “RTW Basics

  1. I probably would have just put a dot of fabric paint on the inside neckline or inside hem just to be able to tell yours from his. This is what I used to do to DH’s socks years ago. Small dot of fabric paint (different colors for each pair) on or near the toe. That made sorting navy and black socks so much easier to pair up once out of the dryer. At that time I had several colors of tulip paints.

    Sorry the stencil is being so obstinate.

    1. Duh, can I claim a blonde moment?
      I like stenciling. I think I made an error with the temporary adhesive and compounded that error when trying to remove the freezer paper. Oh well. Live and learn.

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