Sunday, August 02, 2009

Silhouette Stitch Shirt :: A Tutorial

I do not know what it is about the boys growing up. It is making me a sentimental mess. First I start by knitting them school vests though school is months away and we are talking two days a week, not college. And now I am making up projects that secure them to my chest, a place they never really took to until recently (ah, the explosion of toddler curiosity and my non-functioning breasts).
Silhouette Stitch Shirt

One thing I have wanted to do since having children was make shadow silhouettes. Really, it seems like one of the real perks of parenting, to freeze on paper the sweet cheeks and perfectly rounded heads and place them in a classic frame. The execution of the shadow silhouette eluded me until recently. After a failed attempt with paper on wall and a flashlight, it dawned on me that a photo would work just as well. Here is a project that developed from my desire to freeze my boys in time. Hope you enjoy it.

Shadow Silhouette Stitch Shirt
Silhouette Stitch Shirt
This project takes a few steps but I am beyond pleased with the result. Unabashedly sentimental, but sweet in its own way. It borrows heavily from my favorite book, Alabama Stitch Book.

You will need to gather a few things ::
- T Shirt
- Scrap T shirt (I used one of the boys tiny shirts)
- Tracing paper
- Freezer Paper
- Fabric Paint
- Thread and Needle

Step ONE :: Create silhouette

I took a profile picture of each of the boys then printed it as a 10x10 photo.
Silhouette Stitch Shirt
Then I traced their outline and TaDa! Instant silhouette. I used the copier at the library to shrink it to tshirt size but I hear tell there is a new fangled machine called a scanner out there. And something called Photoshop you might want to mess around with.
Silhouette Stitch Shirt

Step TWO :: Create Freezer paper template

Now, lay your freezer paper over your outline and trace the image again then cut out the outline carefully preserving curves and hair wisps etc. I use a cutting mat and straight razor to make sure the details stay clean and sharp.
Silhouette Stitch Shirt

:: Prep and Paint Shirt

Lay your freezer paper on you T shirt, centered and straight and iron lightly until paper adheres to shirt.
Silhouette Stitch Shirt
Apply paint to shirt, making sure to place an extra piece of paper inside the shirt to avoid bleed through of the paint. Let dry.
Silhouette Stitch Shirt

:: Stitch

Cut a piece of scrap t shirt to layer behind your shadow image.
Silhouette Stitch Shirt
I used black on red, another nod to sentimentality as it is from one of their small worn shirts. Make sure your scrap is a bit bigger than the silhouette image.
Silhouette Stitch Shirt
Pin scrap in place behind the painted image.

Use needle and thread to straight stitch around image. Make sure to catch both layers of tshirt in the running stitch. Also make sure to add eyelashes because baby eyelashes are essential in shadow silhouettes.
Silhouette Stitch Shirt

:: Cut and Finish Shirt

Carefully cut through top layer of t shirt and cut away silhouette, leaving a thin bit of painted fabric. Be careful not to cut through backing layer, I make a cut in the center then carefully cut from there.
Silhouette Stitch Shirt
Silhouette Stitch Shirt
Turn shirt inside out and cut away excess backing fabric.

And there you have your own way to wear your heart on your sleeve, I mean chest.

Silhouette Stitch Shirt

I have plans to use the silhouettes for some other projects. I recommend you keep an original template just to have forever.

(You may have noticed I had to draw in Mr mace's lips. We cannot dislodge the dot from his mouth for the last few weeks. Well, we can, obviously as we are the ones in charge (guffaw) but the most terrible of whining ensues and I am just not up for it lately. So, I fudged the lips, and you can too. You have my permission. Pick your battles, that is what I say).


jillian said...

You are on a roll with the making lately! Adorable.

LauraC said...

More importantly, where did you get the tshirt you are wearing? I can never find good tshirts that accomodate the girls and are still fitted around the waist like that!

Julia (MindofWinter) said...

So freaking cute, and so nice of you to write up a tutorial. Every time I see one of your stitching posts I think "we need to sew together!" I don't know if sewing is really a group activity, but I would certainly like to soak up some of your stitching ability. Love, J

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh those are freakin' adorable.

Sarah-potterknitter said...

Very cool, I love doing freezer paper stencils. I need to be making more cool stuff for my boy, but there seems to be an endless string of new babies out there that need knits!

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