From bandage to beautiful

Dear Niki,

I recently bought this material to try to sew myself a pair of shorts.

Leaf print inspiration for my plain scarf
Reminds you of Trinidad?

I really like the bright, but not-neon-bright, print and I find it gives a light, airy feel. I’m trying to include some more prints and colours into my wardrobe and this one makes me imagine a vacationer on a tropical island. Happy thoughts! 🙂 The fabric has a bit of stretch so I think it will be great for shorts. I’ll update you when (or if) I successfully make the shorts.

At some ungodly hour this morning when I couldn’t sleep, I popped over to Pinterest and of course, there were some tutorials for DIY kimonos. (I still haven’t given up on this and I intend to make one without messing up like I did here). Anyway, the tutorial on my Pinterest homepage was to “turn a scarf into a kimono” and I thought maybe I should give this simple version a try.

I have an off-white scarf that I bought a few years ago to add some modesty to a dress I intended to wear to a wedding. Unfortunately, the colour makes it look like I’m wrapped in bandages instead of very elegantly draped in a scarf. So it’s been in my closet, mostly unused for years and wouldn’t be missed if this “scarf into a kimono” experiment were to flop.

Before going to bed, I had looked lovingly and wistfully at my leaf-print fabric. I really can’t wait to be able to wear those shorts and proudly tell everyone I made them myself! So it hit me! I could do a leaf-print on this bandage-looking scarf and then turn it into a kimono!

I headed over to Instagram and searched #leafprint shortly followed by #fernprint. (I highly recommend doing this search. There are some beautiful prints, fabrics and art). Thinking about the different trees and leaves I could find in the yard, I realised ferns would probably be the prettiest when transferred on to cloth. After today, I intend to try out some guava, croton and maybe protugal leaves as well.

Materials used to turn a bandage-looking scarf into a beautiful leaf-printed piece of cloth

I’m not the best painter or artist in general, so painting or drawing leaves on the cloth was never in the plans. But how much skill do you really need to dab paint on to cloth? Not much! I did do a test run on an old t-shirt to be sure this could work though 😀

So I used a makeup wedge to transfer the paint, using the leaves as a stencil. Et voilà!

Leaf-printed scarf made using fabric paint, cheap makeup sponge and a fern leaf

It isn’t perfect, which I like, because it gives the cloth a unique, handmade effect. No fast fashion here!

I’ll admit it also isn’t perfect because I realised that dampening the sponge allowed me to use less paint and spread the paint a lot faster. The water bleeds the colour a bit, but I don’t think it ruins the silhouettes and I like the shortcut because I am always anxious to see the finished product. Is this not the age of instant gratification?

This took hardly any time to do and it was stress-free since uniformity wasn’t a main goal for me. If you wanted the intensity of the paint to be uniform, it would take a bit more time and patience, but it wouldn’t be impossible.

I am quite pleased with my new scarf; no longer “bandage scarf”. I’d like to turn it into something – a top, dress…something. It’s too narrow to make a nice flowy, kimono, but I’ll try to think of something while it dries flat for 24hours as per the fabric paint instructions.

My biggest fan is interested to see how this would look done in a mix of colours. I’m curious about that too and I’m wondering if I can do a kind of tie-dyed or ombre effect. Stay tuned!

Until next time, happy crafting!


15 thoughts on “From bandage to beautiful

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