Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"[Woman] walks down the street in a [shirt] like that, and you know..."

...she's got to be a Browncoat.



Joss Whedon's Firefly is one of my favorite TV shows ever, if not the favorite. I'm in that guilty group who didn't watch it when it first aired on FOX, and only discovered it too late to show support and keep it from being canceled. Still, I'm forever grateful for the half a season and movie we did get (and also grateful to the nerdy students who told me to watch it). When I started sewing, I thought one day I might make myself a brown duster, or maybe one of Inara Serra's fabulous outfits, but when it comes down to it, the actual likelihood of that is pretty low. So rather than wait for the day that I get my cosplaying act together, I thought I'd declare my love by wearing my heart...well, over my heart.

“Take my love, take my land, take me where I cannot stand. I don’t care, I’m still free, you can’t take the sky from me. Take me out to the black, tell them I ain’t comin’ back. Burn the land and boil the sea, you can’t take the sky from me...” Best theme song ever, or best theme song ever?


I've been loving the galaxy print trend (although possibly it's over already, I wouldn't know) ever since I saw Sew Country Chick's dress for her daughter, and I remembered it again recently thanks to this fantastic sheet dress by Me and My Polar Bear. I knew that there were tutorials online for DIY-ing the look (since I wasn't lucky enough to own those awesome Tesco sheets!), so after some googling, I pulled out my freezer paper, bleach, and paintbrushes and gave it a go.



I used this image as the basis for my Serenity silhouette; it was easy to trace onto freezer paper by loading it up on my iPad and using it as a fake light-box. I cut out the shape, ironed it onto a black t-shirt that I had made, and then went to town with my spray bottle of 1:1 water/bleach solution (I inserted a plastic bag into the shirt first so that the bleach wouldn't bleed through to the back). By twisting the nozzle, I was able to vary the spray pattern to get fine mist (good for layering to cover large areas) or more concentrated streams (to make the "shooting star"-esque lines). All of this took less than ten minutes -- I was working fast and haphazard so that the bleach wouldn't make holes in my fabric! -- and then I rinsed the whole thing in cold water to stop the hypochlorite action. I then went back with a paint brush and made larger splotches in random places. Rinse again, and lastly, I used some acrylic paint to add yellow at the Serenity's butt-end, and white centers and blue-purple edges to the "nebulae." This final step took the longest, as I wanted to make sure that it actually looked believably space-like.

Here's what it looked like after the initial bleach spray, after I peeled off the freezer paper, but before I started adding paint and touching it up. I was a little nervous at this point, because this doesn't really look that cool yet. I didn't take any process pictures after this, unfortunately, because my hands were covered with paint. I always get really messy when I craft, and end up covered with paint or hot glue or sawdust, which makes documenting difficult.
I pressed the whole thing afterwards with a very hot iron to set the paint. I'll let you know how it holds up after washing!


Summary:
Fabric: Less than half a yard of black cotton knit with a pretty high spandex content, which I originally made into a t-shirt when I first started sewing three years ago. At the time, I had no idea how to finish curved edges, so the neckline is totally raw. I left it that way since there's no way I'm finding a matching fabric to bind it with.
Notions: None, but lots of craft supplies!
Hours: It probably took me an hour to make the shirt originally, then about three hours to print, cut, bleach, rinse, paint, and iron the design.
Will you make it again? Not this exact design, since I don't need more Serenity shirts, and definitely not this tee "pattern" since it's not exactly well done...I think I just sketched a shirt shape and started sewing when I made this, and the shameful secret is that I cut this so that it stretches the wrong way! I didn't know about directional cutting and 2-way stretch when I made this, so I'm lucky that it even fits, albeit quite tightly.
Other shameful secret: I also cut the scoop neck way too large/low when I made this (measure twice, cut once was NOT my motto!), so I never wore it. When I was trying to figure out if I had a black tee that I could use for this project, I realized I could just turn it around!  

First worn: For running errands today, but nobody recognized it...boo! :( One cashier at Trader Joe's asked about it, though, so I got to enthuse about how awesome a space western is, and at the end of my little ramble he said he'd check it out if he remembered later. Ehh, good enough.
Total cost: Since I used an old shirt, and these are all supplies I already had, $0! Yay for giving new life to an old garment!
Final thoughts: I love it? Do I really need any more final thoughts than that? How about the fact that when I wore the shirt for Mr. Cation, who also loves Firefly, he was totally floored to find out that I had made it myself! He thought it was a shirt that I had bought, not painted. I'd say that's a rousing success!

Worn with my most Kaylee-like olive green cargo pants from GAP, thrifted for $8 with the tags still on.

Silly anecdote: After I had finished the shirt, I hung it up inside out on a hanger to air out. I went to sleep and when I checked on it the next morning, I totally panicked because I thought all the paint/bleach had faded somehow and made my Serenity silhouette all blurry and indistinct! Then I realized that I was looking at the wrong side of the image, and my heart started again.

Here's what it looks like inside-out. Totally not recognizable as a space ship -- you see why I freaked out. 
Right side out: much more distinct! Phew. 


Last year I made a t-shirt to declare my Star Wars love, so this makes two sci-fi stories that happen in space that I've got me-made shirts for. I still want to make one for Battlestar Galactica and one for Sailor Moon (okay, that last one isn't sci-fi, but her transformation sequence looks kind of like it happens in space, and besides, all the Sailor Scouts are named for planets, and then there's that alternate galaxy, the Negaverse, and alien twins Alan and Ann...okay, I'll shut up now), and that'll nicely round out my media-that-happens-in-space me-made shirt collection!

So...have I convinced anyone else to give Firefly a try? Or at least DIY-ing a galaxy print fabric?

72 comments:

  1. oooooo! love it! the painting of the stars are pretty amazing! my husband and i are huge fan of firefly too, we named our daughter after the mechanic. (interestingly we met quite a few kaylee after she was born. the firefly fan base probably are starting to reach child bearing years!)

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    1. Nice! Whenever I meet people named Kaylee, I always wonder if they know about Firefly...how awesome that your little girl is named for her!

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  2. I totally thought this shirt was store-bought, too. :) It turned out really awesome.

    I haven't watched Firefly yet, but I've heard lots of good things about it. It's been on my Netflix queue for a long time...I guess I'll get around to it eventually! :)

    ~Kristin

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    1. Yay, I don't look like I'm wearing a cheap craft project :)

      It's only 14 episodes, so it's a fairly quick watch! Which is good if you're trying to finish it, but once you fall in love it's like, noooo there are only ___ episodes left til it's over!

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  3. Love it love it love it! Absolutely gorgeous tee, and as a Serenity fan I say; you made one hell of a geeky shirt, and it's awesome!

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    1. Thanks!! I love meeting other Firefly/Serenity fans!

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  4. your a big damn (stencilling) hero :)

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  5. possibly your most brilliant project ever. :-)

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  6. Replies
    1. Haha, thanks to Tesco for the idea, though!

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  7. This is pretty awesome! Not sure I need another tee shirt in the closet but it does seem like a fun accent pillow for the guest bed in the "man cave" (that was once a nursery, but very manly, there's even a wooden sword on the bright-cheery-green wall)

    Fun fact: we listed (the stray/rescued version of registering) our dog as "Pretty Floral Bonnet"

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    1. I love that you have a dog named PFB! That's one of my favorite bits of dialogue.

      I'm sure this would work even better for a pillow, since it wouldn't be washed as often!

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  8. I thought it was RTW, too! Anyone who can show she's afraid of nothing with her clothing, is a pretty cool lady. If I didn't already heart Firefly I'd definitely check it out on your recommendation.

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  9. This is so awesome! I totally feel you on the waking up to think it's ruined, only to find it was inside out - lol. Love firefly! Want this shirt ;)

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    1. If anyone had been tracking my heartbeat, they would've wondered about the spike that morning...

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  10. You are so creative! I love the galaxy prints, too, but I've never found one in person and hadn't thought to make one myself. Bravo!

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    1. I only thought to make my own after seeing other tutorials, but yeah, I haven't seen many RTW ones I like.

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  11. Great shirt! My son and I also discovered Firefly after it was canceled. What a great show. I may have to go back and watch them all again.

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  12. The only thing you need to top it all off is a Jayne hat on your head!

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your shirt! I really need to try my hand at the bleach stars & outer space thing, but I'm not sure I can make anything that looks as good as yours!

    Sadly, I also missed Firefly while it was on the air, but I do seem to remember landing on it once while flipping channels and watching a few minutes. I think I've loaned my dvd set to at least 3 friends, who all went out to buy their OWN copies after borrowing it.

    ~ Brooke

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    1. I really need a Jayne hat, but first I need to learn to knit!

      I think the secret to a good galaxy print is to not think too hard about the painting...when I tried to hard my "stars" looked too regular.

      That's what happened to me -- a friend who loved it leant it to me, then I watched them all, returned hers, and bought my own!

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    2. You can probably find a Jayne hat on etsy.

      And btw, I just tweeted a link to Nathan Fillion & Adam Baldwin because your shirt is so awesome they need to see it. =)

      ~ Brooke

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    3. Maybe not as easy as you'd hope... io9.com/471820413

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  13. So awesome! I love Firefly and this shirt! In fact, I even used Firefly as the "text" for my Comp II class last semester. Yes, I force my nerdiness on my students :)

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  14. Здорово получилось!

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  15. Wow, that is the most space-like bleach job I've ever seen! Amazing job! And I have to confess that I've never seen Firefly, even though it's been recommended to me by just about everyone I love and respect... I've even seen the movie but not the show (I know, I know, crazy) Too much TV, too little time. Hopefully I'll finally get to it this summer!

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    1. Aleah. You. Must. Remedy. This. Situation. Seriously. :)

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  16. I love your tee! I'm also an unconditional fan of Firefly. Such a pity it was cancelled!

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  17. You don't have to convince ME how awesome Firefly is but I love your new shirt.

    Can't wait to see what you do for Battlestar! I will now admit to making an entire Starbuck costume for Halloween one year, but the short blond wig didn't suit me and I HATE wearing contact lenses...

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  18. That shirt is awesome! I love Firefly!

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  19. We, too, discovered Firefly WAY late, sigh, not until we accidentally wound up watching the movie! /sigh. Such a crime. Anyway---I totally thought you had bought a galaxy printed tee and added a black spaceship outline. This is WAY awesome. Way, way, way. I really need to get more into decorating fabric...

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    1. I just keep telling myself, at least I even discovered it, even if it was late...

      The only reason why I did this was because I couldn't bring myself to get back into serious sewing. I started a blazer and a coat before leaving for Rome, but can't seem to get back into them now!

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  20. My husband and I watched Firefly as soon as it aired in the UK, but it had already been ditched by that time... Joss Whedon is king! We have the box set and Serenity, and every couple of years it gets another outing.

    Of course, you say things like "Cowboys in space" and the rest of the family look at us like we are weird or something. :-)

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    1. Joss Whedon is seriously the best. My first experience with him was Dr. Horrible, and I've just been trying to work my way through everything else of his ever since.

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  21. A woman after my own heart... I don't need to tell you how much I love Firefly because obviously, you know. You bleach bombed Serenity over your ticker for petesake! (I once knew a relationship was doomed when the man in question didn't like the show after watching a few eps). This is one of the better galaxy diy jobs I've seen actually, and the negative space trick looks super rad.

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    1. Ooooh, that guy was NOT a keeper! Thankfully, Mr. C loved Firefly too, which is good because we were already married!

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  22. Shiny!
    What a cool way to decorate a tee. I'm roght now going through my stash in my head to see if I can make something similar...maybe with a TARDIS...

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  23. Yeah. Firefly. And Serenity. I bought Serenity and an episode of Sherlock with my Christmas money this year.

    Good job on it! I'm afraid I would not recognise it, but then, the only bird silhouette (I used to learn those in summer camps as a child) I remember is kestrel, so there go my silhouette recognising skills. :D

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    1. Those are two of my favorite TV shows ever! And I realize that Serenity is not a super-recognizable silhouette, but it's enough to make me happy :)

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  24. I just died from the awesome. I freaking love it!

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    1. Sweet! I've never killed anyone with my projects before!

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  25. I love it! I may have to make something like this for a few of my friends for Christmas this year!

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    1. Yes! It's an economical and relatively easy gift!

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  26. I discovered it really late. I just finished watching it on NetFlicks. Great shirt, I'm going to make a Jane hat lol.

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  27. OK, there are no words for this awesomeness! Also, I love that you saved the shirt by turning it around. :)

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    1. Sometimes it's the simplest solutions that are the best!

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  28. I was also a late-comer to Firefly and fell just as much in love. I doubt my own clothes-crafting abilities, though, so I will admire your shirt and not ruin Firefly for anyone by attempting my own.

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    1. Just give it a try! It's a pretty cheap project, so no big deal if it doesn't work out.

      I think anyone who doesn't fall in love with Firefly needs to get their head checked!

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  30. I FINALLY watched Firefly earlier this year, so I am way late to the party!

    I have been trying without success to find freezer paper here in Montreal to do T-shirt projects...eventually had to get some sent to me by my mother from the US. Why don't we have it here?! We use freezers too. Anyway, now I have more T-shirt inspiration. Thanks!

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  31. Woah!! So kewl! Like a black hole on your T-Shirt. I have never seen Firefly. (don't hate me!).

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  32. SHINY!

    This seriously is rocking my world. OMG. So much rad.

    I feel the need to go rewatch again...

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  33. Phenomenal job! and... "we're still flying!"

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  34. Captain Tightpants would approve :)

    And also...I can kill you with my brain.

    SOOOO MISS THIS SHOW! Amazaballs shirt... I may "borrow" this idea.

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  35. I love this! My boyfriend has been trying to convince me to watch firefly for ages and then I saw your post and not only has it convinced me to watch it, but I now know what I'll make him for his birthday! Thanks!

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  36. Wow, I am so totally in love with this. I'm a huge Firefly fan (latecomer as well), so I definitely think this is amazing! It was so awesome to see Nathan Fillion (Captain Mal) at Calgary Expo this year. I wish I had the money to get a picture with him, but it was $65 I didn't have at the time.

    I might borrow this idea if that's cool.

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    1. Please do borrow it! I'd love to see more people out there with Firefly shirts!

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  37. I agree with you. The best TV show ever, pity that got cancelled. Nice T-shirt, I should make one myself one day.

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  38. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE THIS. I love Firefly (I still periodically Google for signs that series is being picked up again) and this shirt is freaking AMAZING. Totally deserving of caps and that doesn't happen often.

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