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]