sewing saturday! how to paint a crop top

sewing saturday.. painting a crop top

This week's Sewing Saturday project should be called fun with fabric paint, because that's what it is. A weekend or two ago during Porter Flea, I noticed my friend Jessica (check out this super awesome photo shoot featuring her clothing line) had crafted white t-shirt crop tops with summery images in fabric paint, and I was hooked. Ice cream and cats (which should be dogs but that's ok) and polka dots. I talked her into showing me how - so this week, she and some friends came over to try it for ourselves.

sewing saturday.. painting a crop top

What you need for this project.. paintbrush, fabric paint (I used Scribbles because that's what was available but Jessica suggests Jacquard), a ruler, pencil, piece of cardboard or old magazine, and a cotton tee (Jessica used a plain white shirt and cut off the bottom at a comfortable crop length - just try on and mark where it should sit). Certain kinds of fabric paint (including Jacquard) need to be set with heat, so in that case you also need an iron. Scribbles fabric paint doesn't need it, so it just depends on what you choose.

sewing saturday.. painting a crop top

First step, decide on your design. I wanted gold zig zags on gray which is what I did. My friends did everything from drawings of their cute pets to pizza to the women of song (Nina Simone and Gal Costa and I can't remember the other one) to obscene images that Jessica talked me out of sharing. We took photos but not all of them turned out - next time we do a craft project, I'm going to make sure it's in the daytime because my nighttime photos don't work so well.. but that'll be another day!

Now you have a design in mind, trace it onto your shirt with a pencil. Pencil is the best because it's erasable on cotton and cotton blends (can't speak for synthetic fabrics). Once you've figured out what you'd like and have it down in pencil form, paint! Place your piece of cardboard or old magazine in between the layers of the shirt and use it as a back for your painting. Cardboard piece suggested over a magazine as sometimes the pages of the magazine will stick to the paint.

sewing saturday.. painting a crop top sewing saturday.. painting a crop top sewing saturday.. painting a crop top

Acrylic paint will work if mixed with water and fabric paint, but it's suggested you use fabric paint as the acrylic might flake and wash off (if you intend to use acrylic paint in this project, go here for directions on how to use it on fabrics).

Once the painting is done, let your shirt dry for 24 hours. If it's a heat-set fabric paint - use an iron to do so, gently running the iron over the painted section for a minute or two on a low heat, non-steam setting with a scrap bit of fabric over the paint (a scrap of muslin or old t shirt or other press cloth).

Now, it's time to cut. I found my shirt at a thrift store and it's a cotton/modal blend, a stretchy knit similar to jersey. Because of the fabric content, it won't fray so it's a good option for a cutoff top. You don't have to hem it at all. I cut off my sleeves and the bottom so it hit me right above the belly button.

sewing saturday.. painting a crop top sewing saturday.. painting a crop top

All done! The shirt is now washable as long as you wait at least 72 hours from time of painting to washing.


sewing saturday.. painting a crop top
sewing saturday.. painting a crop top sewing saturday.. painting a crop top
sewing saturday.. painting a crop top

That's all for today. Hope you're having a great weekend!