Monday, February 10, 2014

Hand Painted Dress // Project Run & Play Season 3 Reunion

2 years ago, I was lucky to be asked to participate in a sewing competition, "Project Run and Play"-- kind of an online Project Runway for children's clothing design. The girls from my season decided to do a little virtual reunion, because we like each other, and to reflect back and see how we've grown.

One thing that unifies a lot of the things I made for PR&P is fabric manipulation. Rather than just buying and using fabric as is, I like doing something to it to make it my own. It's just another fun way to personalize the design.

I dyed, printed on, quilted, and appliqued to create new colors and patterns. I've been playing around with using dye to actually paint on fabric lately, and thought it would be fun to create a dress using fabric I've painted this way.

The thing I like about painting with dye, as opposed to printing with ink or paint, is that the dye actually permeates and bonds to the fabric and doesn't leave behind any stiffness. It seems more permanent than the other methods I've tried. I also love the watercolor effect it creates. 

I designed and drafted the pattern for the dress. It's pretty simple, but has a fun shoulder detail. And I made it very roomy so she can enjoy it for years to come.

Here's a look at some of the things we all made during the competition:

Thank you Jessica for putting this together!

Check out the amazing things the other girls made. I sincerely feel lucky to be included in a group with them. Each is incredibly talented and inspiring:


  1. I'm so curious how you painted the fabric - it looks so bright and unified. Very fun, can't wait to see the dress on!!

    1. Thanks Stef! I think I'll do a post about the how to, since a lot of people seem curious. It's fiber reactive dye and I add a thickener so it stays put and doesn't bleed.

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  2. LOVE this dress! It's so perfect for Avery's bright personality.

    (Btw, last night I rewatched the videos of her dancing to Ghostbusters and I cracked up so hard I cried...she is the cutest/most spunky girl ever.)

    Seriously though, you are a genius with fabric. Please make a whole line of clothing and home goods with this. I want to buy a pillow!!

  3. so fun! Were there any tricks to wash out the dye without contaminating the other colors or bleeding into each other on the border? LOVE the bias tape shoulder details.

    1. Yes! There is actually a whole process, that I'll have to post about. it's not just painting with Rit dye. I add a thickener and rinse with special detergent that picks up the washed out color. Thanks!

  4. Exquisite work as usual! Absolutely love the painted fabric.

  5. This is gorgeous!! It blends in perfectly with all the stuff you made for the competition!

  6. love the fabric painting with dye! I agree with you that paint on top of the surface always leaves it a bit stiff. This is such a great way to add color without the stiffness.
    I love the bias bound shoulder detail and was wondering how you did the shoulder seam - did you hand stitch the bias together on the back side? Love that little detail:) Would love any hints you have!
    Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful dress!

    1. I actually used double sided bias tape, and then after I sewed it to the wrong side, I sewed the bias tape together at the shoulder, stopping an inch from the edge of the shoulder, then I sewed the bias tape down to the right side all the way around. Hope that makes sense! It's a little tricky to explain but easy to do.

    2. Thanks for taking the time to try to explain it! I'll have to give it a try, as I love the look! Super cute:)

  7. Such a beautiful dress! I love your fabric manipulation! I have to add "painting fabric" to my list of things to try. Thanks for being so inspiring.

  8. That watercolor effect is gorgeous!

  9. beyond gorgeous! I love how you used to much creativity in every aspect. The dress is so sweet with that shoulder detail. You are amazing!

  10. How fun is this!!!! Love it! :) Michelle

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