I've been working on a project this week, I wasn't sure how it'd turn out. I expected it to become really cool or really clownish. It turned out pretty cool- at least imo-, so I decided to share the steps.
The whole project started with some canvas leftovers I got at the scrap bin for 1€ each; a thick navy one with stars and a thinner red one with polka dots, ca 40cm each. I liked them, so I got them but was wondering what to make out of them.
So with all the jeans shirt and silk scarf projects floating around the blogosphere (including my version), I thought about using the same technique. Buying a jeans shirt and replacing front and back with the canvas.
So I got one western style jeans shirt from a thrift store (90 €-Cents), gathered some supplies and off I went. This would be a great way to use some of the pretty quilting cottons that usually don't work with fashion sewing. Or just pretty fabric remnants in general.
First of all you need to disect the shirt. Go for the western style because of the yoke detailing in the front and back . Get your seam ripper out (or an exacto knife, I prefer a surgical knife) and remove the lower parts of the front and back.
Use the parts you removed as pattern pieces to cut the front and back out of the canvas. Play with pattern placement if you want to. I the shirt is too big, use pattern pieces from a well fitting shirt pattern. I also cut some elbow pads (two for each side).
Sew two peaces together, right sides facing. Leave a small gap for turning.
Turn right side out and give a good press.
Stitch them on.
Next, close the center back seam and the side seams. Do some top stiching if you like (as in flat-felled-seams). I didn't have top stitching thread on hand, so I used basting thread because it has a similar thickness. Was a bit tricky but worked.
The reattach the canvas bottom to the jeans top, meaning at the yokes and the button placket.
You might want to make the sleeves slimmer fitting at this step, too. The reattach them.
Hem and you are done. Now, you can stop here or go a step further and do some serious damage, meaning distressing, to the shirt. I felt that it needed the distressing to look less costumy... strangly, adding more did the trick.
So here's the second list of materials you'll need:
First comes the bleaching. Wet the shirt and put it in a bleach solution (3-4 parts hot water, 1 part bleach) If it isn't getting light enough, add more bleach, either to the shirt in the bucket, resulting in a blotchy effect (I did it this way), of removing the shirt again and adding it to the solution. I left mine in while being away to work, so the effect you're seing on my shirt took 10hours to complete. Just take a look now and then and take out when you're satisfied with the look.
As the canvas wasn't affected by the bleach at all (I think because it is an outdoor fabric, resistent to fading from sun light), I decided to do a strong tea dye, to take away some brightness.
This is the result after the bleaching, dyeing and a spin in the washing machine (wet!).
And finally, I did some distressing with the help of the surgical knife and sand paper:
Cut into the fabric, following the grain horizontally. Use a pin to loosen the white threads and remove/cut away the blue ones. As for the sand paper, concentrate on the seams and edges, giving it a true worn look.
So this is how I got the final look. Congrats if you made it till here. Do you have any tips for distressing? I did a bit of online-research and these seemed the most promising techniques.