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I am doing more bird prints, this time flamingos and using a commercially cut stamp. Aldi had a couple of cards of transparent acrylic stamps for sale and I couldn’t resist. I am quite new to acrylic stamps, which have the advantage that they stick to a rigid perspex backing, but can be removed again and stored, while you use another stamp with the same backing block. I don’t think you can carve these yourself, but the scrapbooking community seems to like them and there are lots around for purchase. I don’t mind using whatever comes to hand for my creations. If you are not familiar with these acrylic stamps, have a look at this YouTube video. Sorry that this is a commercial video advertising products, the company has absolutely nothing to do with me, I only wanted to borrow their video to show anyone interested how to use the clear stamps. Scrapbooking stamps are usually quite small to suit cards etc, and of the stamps I bought only one is suitable for fabric printing, i.e. large enough, but never mind. I will be able to use the others for making cards and gift wrap with the grandchildren.

flamingo detail

The top is a repurposed Tina Givens Poppy slip.

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I loved it when I made it, but found that I never wore it. The reason was that the fabric was too sheer to wear the slip on its own, and the colour was too difficult to wear under other dresses. Besides, I feel too dressed up for everyday life in this sort of outfit. And while I loved the gathered hem,  I discovered that the ties are a little unpractical at ankle length because they do get caught up in things.

So I thought I would turn this white elephant into a tunic. Tunics and pants are my staples, hence no chance of not getting worn, and the sheerness of the fabric would not be a problem with pants and my usual cotton tank top underneath. I also fancied sleeves, and fortunately I had some fabric left, enough to cut short sleeves and a cowl. You can read my review of the sewing process here.

The fabric is a cotton voile of the most beautiful quality. I have been working quite a bit with silk/cotton lately, and could not believe that this one was cotton only. But when I did a burn test, sure enough, no smell of hair. I think that maybe there is some rayon mixed with the cotton, which would not be detectable because rayon smells much like cotton when you burn it. Rayon was originally invented to imitate silk, and while these days it is mostly woven to have its own distinctive look, it can still be made in such a way that it resembles silk closely.

The fineness of this fabric is ideal for block printing and the prints turned out beautifully. I have to say that cotton voile in general is a great fabric for block printing and I suspect that China silk is too. This is because the paint penetrates the thin fabric really well, improving the coverage of the prints, which can be a problem with thicker fabrics. Below is a tunic made from ponte, printed with an American native bird motif.

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You can see in the closeup that the prints are quite transparent, with the red of the ponte coming through. This is because the stamp cannot hold enough paint to cover and penetrate the thick ponte properly.

eagle detail

I still like the tunic and have worn it a lot, but I would be happier with the prints being a solid black.

Below you can see how much better the prints look on a thinner fabric. Fortunately it is summer in Australia and I see a lot of printed voile in my future, and also some China silk.

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This is linked back to the blogger party RUMS.

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