Mavis Marks of Ikuntji Artists has created this brilliant design called Womens Business.

I know I have a lot of readers from the US and Europe who might not have had much exposure to our fabulous indigenous artists and the ikuntji group should be of particular interest to sewists. They don’t only sell paintings and artefacts such as boomerangs, but also fabric by the meter. All the members of the group are women artists, so ‘Womens Business’ is aptly named. Have a look at some of their eye candy fabric for a possible sewing project.

I recently saw an RTW dress using a variation of this design and it inspired the design for my own dress. I hope Mavis sees it as imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. (The dress is purely for my own personal use, I do not monetise either my sewing nor this blog.)

I drew up my design in Photoshop and tried to do a stencil for the whole dress in one go, but that proved to be impractical. So I divided it up into roughly A3-A4 size chunks to transfer to the Cricut software and cut the stencils by machine from freezer paper. You could cut this by hand with a craft knife too.

I usually paint or stencil once I have cut out my garments and before sewing, so I have a nice flat surface without seams getting in the way. I moved the stencils around on the cut out fabric pieces until I was happy with the look, then ironed them down and painted with screen printing ink.

I could have used thickened black dye which leaves the hand of the fabric unchanged, unlike screen printing ink which has a stiffer feel. But the ink is so much easier to work with and on a darkish fabric you only need one coat, which isn’t too bad. If several coats of ink are needed or you have large areas to do, it is worth going through the trouble of using the dye to keep the fabric nice and soft. Dye also mingles with other dye, so if you need a painterly effect with colours blending into each other, screen,printing ink is unsuitable.

The pattern was the Georgia dress from Elizabeth Suzann Studio and the sewing details are on PatternReview.

The fabric is a linen repurposed from the Ikea Dytag curtains I bought on sale a while ago. Beautiful to wear and still plenty left, but I think I will put that colour away now until autumn.

Linked to MMM.

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