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Artful Blogging Party & Giveaway!

Kari is hosting a fabulous blog party over at http://artsymama.blogspot.com/. The party is to celebrate the new Somerset Special Publication Artful Blogging, so the theme is crafty tutorials and posts. So I decided to show a little about my thought process in how I make the shirts that have become a hot seller here in the Pioneer Valley.

My husband and I order the shirts wholesale through American Apparel (sweatshop-free!) and then embellish them. I love this shirt and so do all the customers. It is flattering on just about everyone.

This shirt was first screened. We either screen or stencil depending on how complicated the design is. All of our images come from photographs taken by us and then made into either a screen or stencil. Making screens and stencils is a little complicated to describe so I won't go into it now but there are TONS of tutorials online for you to have fun with. In brief, we specifically use the Live Trace function in InDesign CS2 to make the photos into the silhouette form you see. Then we may change it around and clean it up on Photoshop.

This shows the screen used next to the image it produces. We use Speedball screenprinting ink for our screening and stenciling.

And up close of the emulsion on the screen.

On this shirt I decided to do a decorative top stitch on the sleeve. I love this sparkling metallic thread but it breaks a lot in the machine so a sleeve is a small safe distance to go without the thread snapping!

Machine setting...on stretch it makes a cool vine-like pattern. In the future I would love a machine that does a bunch of decorative stitches, but I like this one a lot.

The subtle glistening on the 3/4 length sleeve.

Another popular embellishment I like to add is sequins. I really go for a subtle but very intentional attention to detail.

My goal is to make it look like a fairy has sprinkled pixie dust on the wearer's shoulder. If the sequins are on the back of the shoulder I add one sequin just over the front of the shoulder so you get a glimpse of it from the front (and vice versa).

The final product.

It is all very subtle which makes it not flashy but special and fun. Between the details and the fit of the shirts, I am told they are much loved by customers. Soon they will be available on Etsy! (I have been tearing out ceilings and cabinets at the new house, so I will hopefully get to Etsy in the next week!)

These are the tags that adorn the shirts...just a little added bonus for the customer!

And the GIVEAWAY...leave a comment on this post by the end of Friday and I will pull one name to receive this SHIRT (or one like it in your size, of course!). Good luck and thanks for checking it out!

Thank you Kari for hosting this amazing party! You rock!

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