Wearable Art – DIY Daisy Blouse

One of my missions for this stage of my life is to give back; to offer inspiration and some encouragement to anyone looking for it. I’m hoping you can be proud & make your own wearable art, whatever it may be…

The Supplies:

This piece of fabric is a tight weave polyester that doesn’t wrinkle much. I planned that the piece was extra wide to be able to be enough for the entire bottom of front and back pieces (cut later) of a blouse

  • Polyester Fabric (or your choice)
  • Covered/protected surface (tape fabric to keep in place)
  • Dye-Na-Flow paints (I used the primary colours)
  • Variety of watercolour brushes
  • Erasable Pens to draw design
  • Reference photo collection

The erasable pens work well to draw out the design freehand, since it disappears when the heat of the iron touches it later on. Then you do not need to worry about how perfect or clean your drawn lines are, they will be gone! I chose daisies since they are quite easy to draw and simple in colour.

I wanted this wearable art to look like a watercolour painting, since I spent a few decades working as an illustrator in that media. The Dye-Na-Flow on the polyester performs much like watercolour paint on paper. I love how it bleeds, blotchy-like, I embrace that, and it looks very hand-painted. If you want perfection then buy fabric…

The background areas are darker, greens with some yellows and purple mixed to make some variations. Tip; don’t keep greens too similar, adding blue will transition nicely to the sky. I have found that the polyester does not bleed as much as the linen I’ve tested as well.

When working in watercolour style, the dark colours can be layered and built up, so do not paint too dark at first. Only when using opaque paint can you paint light again after dark but not with this transparent media. Areas of colour can be left to dry or working ‘wet-in-wet’ lets the colours bleed together. It is so satisfying to see the colours blend …

Areas of Value:

When you look at a photograph, think about how many tones you actually see? If you can break it into a few tones/shades then it can be simplified and painted; somewhat like what you see when you look at a ‘paint-by-number’. ‘But really, feel free to be unique!

The reason I like the white daisies for this wearable art is that they are white with shadows. The way light creates purple-ish shadows is a favourite painting trick of mine. Using black as a way to darken colours will make them very dull and ‘sad’. I much prefer to use blue and a bit of red to make colours appear less in light.

After looking at the negative spaces I add some more shadows where needed…

Take a break:

When painting, I like to relax, not worry about every detail; the green background can be obscure and blurry, not every blade of grass needs to be perfect. It’s a great idea to take a break, stand back and look from a distance. It gives a fresh look to see things that may be not noticeable when you spend too much time ‘looking’.

After I was happy that I was done, I ironed the fabric well all over. Work area by area and use a pressing cloth if you are worried about scorching.

The heat setting makes this dye/paint permanent but I like that it does not really adds any stiffness; it still has that nice drape that polyester has. The colours seem to adhere better to this fabric and has less ‘rub factor’. As you know; your jeans seem to get more ‘worn’ because the cotton fibres see to wear, especially at fold-lines and in a dryer.

Sewing time:

When I have a favourite garment, I take a pattern from it and use variations of it for simple blouses and tops. Cutting the fronts and back from the painted piece, and the top edge fades… There is no repeat to the pattern but the bottom edge is hemmed to not show the raw painting edge.

Simple & flowing. The sleeve is short and only white and therefore forgiving to cut.

The sides pretty well match even though there are seams and a hemmed side-slit.

What do yo think?! Ya, it’s me – can’t wait to wear this somewhere special! It’s light, loose and airy.

‘But for now, I’ll be happy to pair my wearable art with some jeans as I hobble around on my new knee… Come on knee; please stop aching as ‘we’ have so much to do!

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    1. Oh, don’t be discouraged… There’s so much reference material nowadays. Start with manageable images. It’s been many decades for me to get here.

  1. Just gorgeous and so fresh for spring. Congratulations on your “new knee” and give it lots of time to heal. Thanks for sharing, you inspire me! Mary