Sewing Tabula Rasa Knit Tunic tops is a quick and easy way to perk up a comfy, casual wardrobe. This fall, however, I took the slow path to new knit top nirvana, practicing, planning, and finally painting one. It is made from a lovely soft gold sparkly knit jersey that has been kicking around the studio for several years.
Practice a new painting technique
If you follow this blog, Instagram or Facebook, you have seen our two socially distanced adventures to Artistic Artifacts to learn how to paint with their collection of Indian Wood Blocks and fluid fabric paints. On our first try, Carrie and I both painted some old jeans.
For our second try, I cut out the pieces of this knit top and painted them. I had made some color and shape samples on the gold fabric during our first painting adventure, searching for the right combination of paint color and shapes to create a tunic that complimented a necklace that I love, but rarely wear.
Plan the painting and paint the unassembled pieces
For planning purposes, I cut the test samples into pieces and arranged them on the pre-cut tunic sections. The woodblocks are a bit trickier to position than the stencils so I also made a sketch. I was determined to not let the blocks intimidate me.
It is smart to begin painting in the back so I do not have to look at my mistakes. Good thing I did because I somehow set a block covered with paint down in the wrong place and got some paint near one back armhole. Oh dear! Turned out to be a design gift, I painted most of the back yoke and it is quite fun. Lesson learned, I was much more careful going forward with where I set down the paint covered blocks.
Carrie and I had such a good time painting, she was working on her waterfall vest, and we were constantly chattering and admiring each other’s work. We even brought home some woodblocks for future projects. There is a wide variety of these blocks available through the Artistic Artifacts if you are interested in trying this embellishment technique too.
Heat set the painting.
As with all painting adventures, the paint has to dry thoroughly and then be heat set with the iron. Be sure to use a press cloth to protect your iron. It’s a good project to be accompanied by an audio book or your favorite music. Don’t rush this step so you can confidently wash your painted knits for years of wear.
Assemble the Knit Top.
Sewing together a TRK tunic is second nature to me, so after the heat setting experience, I cut out the neck band and got to work.
Turn it into an outfit!
In keeping with our comfy, cozy, casual theme, I made some Eureka! Pants with a skinny leg in super stretchy fine wale black corduroy from Style Maker Fabric to wear with this fun top. I am looking forward to wearing this outfit one day during the holidays.
Make good use of the leftover fabric.
There is a bonus in this too. There was extra of both fabrics, so I was able to paint and stitch up a cropped and painted TRK tee and a corduroy skirt for my “French” daughter. They are under her Christmas Tree in Toulouse and hopefully she will love her outfit as much as I love mine. Maybe next weekend I can post a photo of her wearing her top.
Have a safe and creative holiday, RAE