Inspiration is a funny thing, there is no telling what will spark an idea and often the result is quite a long way from the original trigger.

I saw this tea towel on Pinterest and loved the aqua linen with the darker print. It reminded me of a tunic in that same shade of blue I made years ago when my ‘pattern for everything’ was the Tessuti Fave Top. I had stopped wearing it because the style is dated now. I notice Tessuti have taken it off their pattern range.

But the linen was still beautiful and fortunately oversized styles lend themselves quite easily to a remake. So I took it apart and recut it, based as much as possible on my current pattern for everything, the Tessuti Athina. I had to shorten the sleeves due to fabric constraints and I also put some slits in the side seams, as I find this more flattering with tunic length tops.

Of course these days very little escapes my studio without a lick of paint, but unfortunately the original top had a CF and CB seam, which makes it difficult to print. Fortunately I had just made a fold and not cut the front and back in two pieces, so all I had to do to was undo the seam. It still shows a little bit despite my attempts to iron it out, but after a few washes I am sure the CF and CB lines will be well and truly gone.

So once I had a clean slate I thought this stylised coral motif was just the thing to go with the aqua fabric.

I cut a stencil on my Cricut machine out of freezer paper and instead of the khaki green of my inspo I stencilled with a medium grey, which I mixed using black and white screen printing ink.

Screen printing ink is much easier to handle than dye and while it has its limitations, it was perfect for this project. Dye is more luminous and leaves the hand of the fabric soft, but in this case the medium weight linen was quite substantial anyway and with dark ink on a light background you only need a light layer of ink, so it doesn’t end up feeling plasticky. And I challenge anyone to make grey look luminous, whatever dye or ink you use!

Linked to MMM.