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Threads Sample Details

Have you seen my article in the current issue of Threads Magazine? It features a Tabula Rasa Knit tee extended to dress length, intricately stenciled with liquid fabric paint. Here are some additional details that did not fit in the article, to encourage you to paint knits and sew them successfully.

Magazine articles about embellishment techniques include step by step samples. When I was planning the article content with my editor, I decided that the samples would be the same color and shape as the dress itself, but cut the length of a top for ease of photography and prudent use of fabric. I used the samples to test the paint colors and the composition of the design.

These are all the tools I used.

My habit is to mix one color and apply it to all the pieces where it will be featured. Because these fluid textile paints dry quickly, often I get to the end of a color and the first painted section is dry enough to begin using a different stencil and a new color of paint. These photos show you the progression on the sample sections with the green applied first, then the orange flowers added, then the gold accents and finally the blue and black butterflies.

Then the additional colors.
First I paint the green.
Then add the oranges.


The green was mixed in my plastic lid using turquoise and gold. As the foliage for different flowers changed, I would add small amounts of black or white to alter the color slightly. It makes the scene a little more lively. Mixing small amounts of paint with room to expand the color range keeps the paint from drying in the dish before it is applied.

Mixing the paints for the desired color.
Preparing the green paint








The next color I applied was coral. It is a mix of pink, copper and a dab of white. Add a drop of gold and it becomes orange. Mixing the metallics into the matte colors adds some shimmer. You can purchase the paints in all these colors in our online store.

Mixing the coral paint.

Other colors used in this dress are:

  • Red – red with a dot of gold
  • Brown – copper, red, dot of black
  • Dark silver – black and silver
  • Medium blue – blue with a dot of silver and white
  • Yellow gold – gold with a dot of white
  • Dark gold – gold with a dot of black

Once the samples were complete I went to work on the dress which needed some length added into the design. The maple tree became the heightening element, placed along the seamline and extending into the band. It was easy to integrate it into the smaller design and the new maple leaf stencil was a fun addition.

The painted dress pieces ready for construction.

The dress’s neckline comes from the Clever Crossing Variations for Tabula Rasa Knits for the Tabula Rasa Knit Tee and Tunic. It is the surplice top with the shaped band finish. The band also offered an opportunity to bring the design up near the face. The band sections were fused with soft stretch interfacing to add support to the dress’s neckline.

The constructed seams are ready for paint touch ups.

The dress was designed for the model but it will fit Carrie, though it will be a bit longer on her! We will be displaying it proudly in our booths at the ASG Conference and at all of our fall shows. We will also have a selection of the paints and stencils for purchase in our booth so you can try these techniques on your own original garments or on knits in your wardrobe that need a little perking up.  Purchase our high quality knit solids including the teal knit used for this dress in our online store.

Watch our Facebook and Instagram for a new project of the week. It is the painted dress my daughter Anna started at the Enchanting France retreat.

The finished dress

Happy Sewing! RAE

Want to read about more painted knits?  Check out these posts:  Glory Vines Painted Tee Pins, Paints and Inspirations, and  Painting Knits.

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