#handmade · #wearableart · art · artwork · crafts

Wearable Art

I have a thing for creating art that’s wearable. Don’t get me wrong–I have nothing against art that’s hung on walls or that’s set on a shelf. I do those too. But art doesn’t have to just be there.

Just look at those designer clothes that have prints taken from an artist’s watercolor piece. The patterns on fabric that are used for quilts and clothes are made by artists too. Take a look at all the beautiful work on Spoonflower or Patternbank! Just recently, I discovered VIDA and uploaded some of my artwork on scarves and tops.

But this is a website about paper and for quite some time now, I’ve been thinking about putting the odd bits of paper I’ve stashed to good use. I don’t know about you but I have a habit of thinking twice before throwing cuttings from a project into the recycling bin, particularly if the pieces are big.

The best way to find good ideas about projects is to do a search. Nowadays, I find that if I go to Pinterest, it’ll be rare for me not to find something. So that’s what I did. And, I found lots of pins about paper beads!

I remember making paper beads years and years ago. In fact, it was one of the projects I had my preschoolers do. Ours were big and clunky beads, perfect for little hands. But the pin that caught my eye today was this video tutorial.

The beads used here are fair trade beads. You can certainly make your own and then use them to make this Memory Bracelet:

If you’d like to give your support to the Kenyan women who made the beads, you can order them from The Bead Place where they sell the kit. Individual beads are also available, I think, and there are several Easy shops that offer them as well.

If you need tutorials and more ideas, there’s a wealth of them on this page on Pinterest.

For now, I think I’d like to try my hand at making less clunky beads from my paper scraps. It’ll be a good project to do while watching a video or two on Netflix, I think. More on that, by the way, in a future post.

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#wearableart · cabinets · Deco Art Fabric paint · fabric · grandmothers · painting · patterns · sewing · Singer Sewing Machines · Tina Givens

Wearable Art

When I was a little girl, I used to go and explore my grandmother’s room. It wasn’t a big room but my grandmother, being a pack rat, managed to cram all sorts of wonderful things in it. She must have had at least two bookcases in there as well as a large, heavy wardrobe with a mirrored door. Then there was a smaller cabinet that she kept locked although she would unlock it when I’d be there. She knew I enjoyed looking at all her little treasures.

The first time I saw her sewing machine must have been the first time I ever saw a sewing machine. It was a Singer–the kind with a heavy metal stand and a treadle.  At the time, I was looking for ways to get more clothes for my dolls. This discovery told me that I had found the answer. All I had to do was to learn how to sew! I didn’t know anything about patterns. I didn’t even have fabric. But my grandmother did (of course). It wasn’t long before the weekends would find us in her bedroom, in front of the sewing machine sewing up whatever she thought would be easy enough for me to try.

The doll clothes came much later when I was able to deal with sleeves and darts and such. I also learned how to do a French seam because my grandmother liked everything tidy. When I was older, I took sewing lessons and even learned how to draft my own patterns. 

Nowadays there are endless patterns to choose from and while I don’t spend a lot of time sewing, I find myself buying patterns for those just-in-case moments. For the longest time, however, I’ve been mulling over a dress pattern that I felt would be ideal for someone like me who likes “shapeless” clothing. Since I do lots of planning and designing in my head (not ideal when you come to think of how my mind flits about but well, there you have it), I had been mentally drafting the pattern and reminding myself to commit it to paper.

Then I found Tina Givens! Her clothes aren’t for everyone and maybe most of them belong to a whole other era altogether, but I knew I found what I’d been looking for. Best of all, she shares four free patterns that are PDFs that you can download, print, and try out.

I downloaded the ones I wanted to try out and quickly realized that they’re easily adaptable. I also delighted in the fact that they made perfect “canvases” for whatever I felt like painting on them! So I sewed one of the patterns and after I washed the finished blouse, I grabbed my box of yet unused (and bought during a huge online sale) DecoArt Fabric Paint. It was the first time I used this brand of fabric paint. In my teens, I used a Japanese brand.


When I bought the paints, I also bought a resist medium and I was truly thankful that I did! It helped keep the paint from spreading out too far and it also made the leaf outlines possible. After 48 hours, I washed the blouse again to see how the paint would fare. It was perfect.

I sewed the blouse using the smallest size option because I had my niece in mind when I started the project. After sufficient drying and a quizzical once-over, I wrapped it up and sent it off to Hawaii. Today (just when I was starting this post), she popped me a message on Facebook to let me know she got it and even shared a photo of her wearing it. I hesitate to share it here because since she blocked her face with her phone, I figure she wouldn’t want me sharing her image with the rest of the world (not that the world reads my blog but it sounds nice, doesn’t it?).

I’m still going to draft that pattern in my head at some point, by the way. The painting in my head needs a “canvas” and that dress will be perfect for it.

Next up will be the painted wooden bangles although they might make their appearance on my Paper With Everything blog because I’ll be using mixed media which means more tea bags and paper!