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.
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.
|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!|
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.
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?