Monday, July 30, 2012

Guest Post by Gillian: Sharpies, Fabric, and Fun!

Hi folks! While I'm away on vacation, I've asked two excellent bloggers to step in for me this week. Up first, we've got the lovely Gillian who is a pretty creative lady! Not only does she sew up a storm and make the cutest clothes (that I want to steal and stock my own closet with), she also dabbles in other crafty pursuits. Take a look at one of her latest awesome projects!
-     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     

Hello! My name is Gillian, and I blog at Crafting a Rainbow

I really enjoy following Sue's blog, so I was thrilled when she asked to write a guest post while she is away! Thanks for thinking of me, Sue! 

Today's project includes two things I've always loved: a bright rainbow of colours, and very little planning! My favourite projects are spontaneous and fun, and not too fiddly. (Which is why, incidentally, my me-made wardrobe  consists almost entirely of the same simple patterns made over and over with busy prints to distract from my, uh, lazy sewing skills! Why only make a pattern once when you could make it many times in different prints!?) When I saw 36 rainbow coloured permanent markers on sale for about $20, I knew just what to do! 

Sure, it's not ACTUALLY sewing... but don't we all need a cute pair of shoes to complete the perfect me-made outfit? Here's what you'll need: 

Now, there are a lot of options for markers. There are special fabric markers, and the classic Sharpies... I chose these Bic permanent markers because of the lovely range of delicate colours. These shoes are $10 from Walmart, but you could choose any fabric surface to work on!

As my inspiration, I choose one of my favourite pieces of fabric: a vintage roll of Japanese yukata (cotton kimono) fabric that I bought a few years ago while living in Japan. We have panels of this fabric hanging in our bedroom, and it makes me happy to see it every day! I thought the bold colours and painterly quality of the print would be a good fit for marker-art. 

The upside of choosing an organic, loose inspiration design was that I didn't have to be *perfect* in my interpretation. Quick and easy! 

Before you start, take some time to sketch and get to know your markers. I found that different fabrics reacted quite differently to the inks: My shoes bled way more than the cotton I'd practiced on, so take that into account in your design! I stuff the shoes with sports socks to keep the fabric tight. The great thing about these markers is that they blend really easily... you can colour on top with a lighter colour to blend two shades together, and there is such a wide spectrum of colours that it is easy to fade from light to dark.

This really is such a simple project that I feel silly talking about it. What's the next step? Doodle until you have finished your shoes! That's it!

This is one of those great projects where you never have to think too hard, but in the end, you somehow get something wonderful! I really love these shoes: They match EVERYTHING I've ever sewn, and are comfy to boot. I wore them to a wedding shower a few weeks ago with a me-made dress , and it was so fun to be handmade head-to-toe!

In fact, I loved working with these markers so much that I pulled my Mom and sister into creating too - and we didn't stop with fabric!

My mother put some awesome colourful embellishment on a shirt, and decorated some clay Easter eggs too. I decorated the cotton pillow on my computer lap-desk , and my sister tried out this widely-pinned idea by drawing on dishes. 

This would be a perfect project for a crafty social night with friends or party idea for older kids... low pressure, great results, no skills required, and everyone can put their own spin on it! In fact, I found it so addictive that pretty soon I was pacing around the house looking for anything, ANYTHING else that I could draw on! 

Wanna know what I found? Head over to my blog today for Part Two of this tutorial: Sharpies + Fabric = Fun!

Thanks so much to Sue for inviting me to hang out here on her blogspace! I hope you are all have a great summer so far. Happy crafting!


  1. Those shoes are marvelous! So creative, love it!

  2. Cool shoes! The inspiration fabric is beautiful. Thanks for sharing your process :)

  3. Aww, thanks! I had so much fun making those shoes... now I"m just waiting for fall so I can wear them more often! :P


Thanks for leaving a comment!