Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Rust Experiments: Using a Stapler

Continuing my lax journaling of rust dying today. I hope you're enjoying the posts so far. For this I used a stapler and (new) staples. I wasn't sure what effect it would create on the white cotton fabric but I did lay out the staples in a half-hazzardly-yet-plotted state. Because I was using metal that had not yet been rusted, I needed to let this set a few days longer.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Best In Show

Photography holds a special place in my heart, in the grand scheme of things it's what lead me to find my passion for sewing. After Sam was born- I felt a little lost & a lot stale. I loved becoming a mom- it's the best job in the whole wide world, but while growing into that role I had felt as if I needed to sacrifice those passions and goals that defined who I was before becoming a mom. I'm wiser now, I know that not to be true- but there has been a winding road of discovery along the way of which I am incredibly grateful for.

Lake Gold // Photo by Jenelle Montilone 
I recently shared some adventures I've been having shooting abandoned locations. As I find myself reaching again for the camera to create art, not just capture it. I thought it would be a fun idea to enter into our county fairs Amature Photography Show. Participants were allowed to submit 3 photographs with strict parameters and they needed to fit into certain categories.

I displayed a photograph I took on our family trip to the lake, a creative angle of Columbine growing in Ida's garden next door, and finally a broken gauge from the insides of Ingersol-Rand.

Soon Forgotten // Photograph Jenelle Montilone 
Well, count me as surprised when I learned that the Soon Forgotten photograph took Best In Show, First place in it's class, and was recognized with a local honor. My Lake Gold photo also took a ribbon for it's class.

Ida's Garden // Photograph Jenelle Montilon

Fair week here in New Jersey, I hope, is the same in your small towns across the country. I've enjoyed many long hot summer days on those grounds as a fair goer and as a volunteer with the FFA. It's such a joy to experience the same event and discover more ways for our family to connect with the local community. Next year the boys hope to enter into some of the fair competitions too! What do you remember most about your county fair? Do you still look forward to them?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My Interview with C&T Publishing

In 2015, C&T Publishing or rather, Stash Books excitedly published my book The Upcycled T-shirt. I had a chance to sit down with Katie who asked some fantastic questions about my creative process and the journey of a t-shirt.

KVA: In the introduction to your book, you write that TrashN2Tees has saved the equivalent of 404,407 T-shirts from landfills! Did you ever think you would have such an impact on clothing recycling? 
JM: In 2012, I undertook a project that nearly put me under... 

To read the entire interview head over to the C&T blog now. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dying with Rust Experiments: Day Two Imprints

Day two of my rust dying exploration: Late last night I mixed up a bath of warm water and salt. I soaked the wrench prints overnight and now I'm soaking a wrapped design (seen above.)

I found that the best imprints were made with the fabric draped over top of the metals. My lay out was set up with a four sided pan. I prewashed/dryed white Kona cotton fabric. Before laying out a cut piece along the bottom of the pan I soaked it in 3:1 vinegar/water mix- ringing it out so that the fabric was not dripping wet but still quite damp. Placed fabric in bottom of the pan. Arranged rusted materials on top to my pleasing. Then I placed another cut of fabric on top of the arrangement. (The second fabric was prepared the same way) I filled a spray bottle with the same mixture and used it liberally to keep fabrics moist throughout the day.

The top fabric as I mentioned took the best imprint I can imagine for several reasons: 1. the moisture allowed the fabric to drape around/onto the shape of the wrench more clearly defining the shape 2. the exposure of oxygen 3. additional moisture

This piece above has been washed and soaked now, I have it setting in the full sun. Hoping to set the rust and maybe whiten the fabric. I'll share my findings later this week. I also have some samples of other techniques I'll show you including one of my favorites that was made using a stapler. Thanks so much for checking in. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Dying Fabrics With Rust

The past few weeks I've been content in not sewing an ounce. I was investing so much energy into preparing for events and lectures that my thoughts were beginning to stale. The boys and I have taken on art prompts each morning - much of it mixed media, paper crafting, drawing, painting. Leaving my comfort zone to play and explore in other mediums always helps to recenter my motivation.

Today I started experimenting with rust dying. Luckily- Nicks profession, he's a metal fabricator and all around industrial tool/machinery hoarder... I have access to a lot of different shapes and rusted materials. Now it's just a matter of figuring out what works best, how to fold and manipulate the materials to create patterns.

Here's the coloration after just few hours... I reset the wrenches before taking the picture so you can see the before/after

I'm using vinegar, rusty objects, and will use salt water solution & heat to set the coloring. Check back tomorrow for some progress.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Fringed T-shirt Bucket Bag Tutorial // Szoke Bag

Back to school sewing has started here, and while you'll find me sewing all things boys! I can't help but notice clever and creative patterns out there in the blogsphere. Today I wanted to share with you the Szoke Bag from Petite a Patite & Family  I love the scale of this little bag- which would be perfect for kids or adults to carry. I also love that the entire bag can be made from salvaged materials (upcycle a faux leather tote & tees!) You can find more tshirt repurposing tutorials on The Ultimate Upcycled T-shirt Tutorial list with this and 500+ others.

Get the Szoke Bag Tutorial and Pattern 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Tale of the Serger I Wanted to Smash

A few weeks ago I shared this image and many commented & chorused my misery. We were sisters and brothers, bound together by a single life altering experience. We all wanted to smash our serger machines to smitherines. (Wondering what is a serger? Click here)

As it started, my first purchase of a home serger was nearly 8 years ago. I purchased the Singer 14CG754 Profinish Overlock Serger on sale one day at Joanns for around $200. Up til then, my boys' tees had been constructed on my sewing machine with a simple zig zag finish- but I felt that in order to have an official business; making/selling custom clothing I needed to produce professionally finished seams for garments with a serger. Basically that's all I knew when I went to the store that day. Oh and from what I read on the internet I would dread threading the machine or altering the tension in any direction for fear of never getting a balanced stitch again. When we got home I set the machine up for a 3 thread overlock and that's the only stitch I ever ran.

I believe there's a worse fate for a sewing machine or tool of any type, beyond smitherines. That's sitting in a corner collecting dust. Eventually that little Profinish filled me with frustration (which I recognize now to be several factors: I was afraid of the machine, which is silly. I never took time to understand the mechanics of how a serger worked. I bought crumby quality thread that broke.) and I packed it back up in the original box where it sat in the corner for a few years. At this point- I, personally, was confident enough in my knit sewing skills that I could construct any garment "well enough" and despite the fact it took me twice as long to complete one. I felt it was justified for the comparison in time I fiddled and fumbled around the serger. Slowly the Profinish got covered in by a scrap pile and was never heard from again.

Until more recently I've lived a blissful serger free life. That's what I thought until one day I found myself behind the seams of an industrial overlocker/serger. My heart skips a beat when I think about that moment- I was sewing up tees and gosh how smooth and easy (and all that table space!!) That experience compared to my Profinish got me thinking about the serger in a whole new way. I no longer want to smash my serger to smitherines and I urge you not to do it either! (I also no longer have a Profinish!)

If you're experiencing a love/hate relationship with your overlock/serger, are considering buying one, own one and don't know how to use it or have any questions I'd love to hear from you in the comments- What are you biggest frustrations or fears when it comes to serger sewing?


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