Saturday, 14 April 2012

How to Hand-Paint a Breton Top


In my opinion one can never have too many Breton tops. But how to add that extra je ne sais quoi? Hand-paint the stripes, that's how! Vaguely horizontal but with a nonchalant messy edge to them. Neat stripes are soooo last week.

This is a great way to upcycle a boring old top or to turn a homemade garment into something that screams Agn├Ęs B. I must credit Creative Accomplishments for providing the original inspiration for this make, which I've adapted somewhat. Here's how to create your own...

You will need:
- Plain white t-shirt
- Fabric or screen printing paint
- Paintbrush
- Old newspaper
- Optional: buttons in a matching or contrasting colour to the paint


1. Wash and dry your t-shirt before you start to help the paint stay on the fabric. Put some old newspaper or another covering down on your table and in between the layers of the t-shirt.


2. Practise your stripes quickly on paper before you touch your t-shirt. Play around with colours, brush thickness and distance between the stripes until you're happy with your selection.


3. Position a ruler or strips of masking tape on the horizontal axis of your t-shirt to help keep your eye and your paint brush moving at the right angle - paint near this line, but not on it. Start painting! Don't worry too much about making your stripes perfect. Irregularity is a design feature! Accidentally spill a blob of paint in the wrong place? Another artistic flourish!


4. When you've finished one side, let it dry for an hour or so before turning it over and painting the other side. When both sides are dry, follow the instructions on the fabric paint to set it - this will probably involve either putting it in the tumble dryer or placing paper over the top and ironing it for a few minutes.


5. Sew buttons to the shoulder seams if you so choose.


6. Put on your best capris or drindl skirt and ballet flats, then glide down the street pretending you're Audrey Hepburn. And you're done!


Here are two I made earlier. If you make one for yourself, do share a link to your photos in the comments so we can all see!

[Soundtrack: 'I'd Rather Go Blind' by Etta James]

35 comments:

  1. I particularly love the thick grey stripe, Tilly. You MUST go to the Tate Modern wearing this.

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  2. OOhh Tilly! They´re so cute! I love the sailor buttons. The name of this kind of top called Breton, is because they are from French Brittany, isn´t it? I love this part of Europe is so beautiful!!!

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  3. I love this! It's going on my must-do list. Did you use a particular brand of paint?

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    1. I used screen printing paint from an art shop. You can use fabric paint instead, it's just that I got the screen printing stuff on offer.

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  4. Lovely tip, perfect for a rainy sunday!

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  5. totally gorgeous, love it love it love it....

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  6. A white cotton jumper on the to throw pile jumps to mind, perfect solution. Thanks, xx

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  7. These are great...oh dear, something else to add to my to do list! Lx

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  8. These are fab! I know my teen daughter would like somehting similar in a vertical stripe. What kind of paint did you use?

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    1. I used screen printing paint, but you could also use regular fabric paint. You can get it in art shops, department stores and some haberdasheries.

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  9. If you wanted your stripes to be uniform, you could use masking tape to mark off the stripes. I did that for a shirt my daughter made her dad. Taped off all the stripes and then let her paint all over in every colour. It looked super cool.

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    1. I was originally going to use masking tape but then I decided I wanted a messier look for this project. The shirt your daughter made sounds cool!

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  10. ack tilly these are terrific! i love the organic feel of the stripes. i wonder if this would work with my zig fabric markers...

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  11. These look fabulous Tilly! And even though they are the same idea, they look totally different. I must look out for some fabric paints!

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  12. Lovely! I've bookmarked this as I HAVE to try it out asap! Thanks for sharing ;o)

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  13. I've thought of doing this with freezer paper. I've used freezer paper ironed on to tshirt to make graphic t's for my son. The freezer paper keeps color from leaking under it. It ad hears really well but comes off really easy too. You've got to try it.

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    1. What is freezer paper exactly? It's not something I've come across in the UK. Perhaps it goes by another name - any Brits know?

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    2. I always see it in craft instructions and don't know what it is either, and I live in the states!

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    3. My mother-in-law uses it for her quilting, and she lives in NZ. I recently asked her what it is. It's a product like greaseproof paper that has a waxy coating on one side. You can use it to wrap food, but in NZ she buys it from her quilting shop. You cut out patterns, place the shiny, plastic side down on the material and lightly iron it (no steam). It then sticks to the material. You can use it to mark and cut patterns, or use it as a stencil for painting. When you're done, just peel it off. It leaves no residue.

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  14. You're a troublemaker Tilly. Almost all my t-shirts are striped and now I have a way to make them ALL striped.

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  15. I love anything with stripes and think this tutorial looks easy enough for me to do! Can't wait to give it a go!

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  16. shared this on Sewing And Style Facebook- love this top, must get paints brushed and the daughter together LOL

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  17. This is such a great idea! And it seems so easy. I can paint strips or some other motif on the t-shirt too. Thanks lady!

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  18. Cuuuuuute! I like the chunky grey stripes best!
    Px

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  19. Wow - great idea Tilly! I've been looking for a Breton inspired top for a while but either haven't seen one in a colour I like or I didn't like the style of the top itself. It would never have occured to me to handpaint a top myself, but I'm definitely going to give it a go!

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  20. I love this idea. I just bought some fabric in Tokyo that looks like drawn stripes so I guess its a new trend! I have always wanted to do a Breton top but wasn't sure how to go about having the white bit at the top.

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  21. These are very lovely. You truly are an artiste :)

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  22. This is SDC...SO DARN CUTE! Allison

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  23. Woooah! I love these! I am off to the shop to get me some fabric paint! Wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing!!!

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  24. freezer paper is like a waxed paper you can get in the states - you get it in a supermarket where the foil and clingfilm is kept. When you iron it onto fabric it sticks temporarily to it. I have used it as a stencil when putting designs onto tote bags. You can only use it once and it just pulls off the fabric leaving no residue. I'm pretty sure you can't get in the UK.

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  25. Hi Tilly, thanks for sharing you tutorial. Here's my take on it : http://www.burdastyle.com/projects/stache-stripes
    Cheers !

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  26. Hi Tilly! Thank you so much for this tutorial! I used it a little while ago for some inspiration make my own sunny yellow hand-painted Breton-esque tee and I love it! :-)

    Here's a link to the blog post, if you'd like to check it out: http://blog.sweetlittlechickadee.com/2014/01/sewing-chicken-and-a-breton-esque-briar-bright-green-kelly/

    Thanks again for the great tutorial!

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  27. Hi Tilly, Where did you get your plain white Breton?

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