LBB Signature Fabric

I’ve been wanting to do an exclusive signature fabric for my Lil Blue Boo dresses for a while now. I finally got around to it!

The design is all hand drawn using a sharpie and then burned onto a silk screen frame (see my screenprinting 101 tutorial here). I wanted to work in some things I love so it includes the number Pi (as many decimal places I could fit), roman numerals, Chinese number characters and a few other surprises throughout. I was a math major and studied the Chinese language in China so I’ve got some random “loves”.

Note: I wanted to add in some trigonometry, prime numbers etc…..but then I thought the dresses might be banned as “cheat sheets” from school.

Speaking of Pi: I love this link which is a catchy recitation of it. I think I could memorize at least the first 100 decimal places of Pi if I listened to it enough 😉 I am a little obsessed with all things geeky. Geek is the new chic right?

I love busy, intricate prints and have a hard time finding the perfect prints for the dresses I make… why not make my own? Stay tuned as I begin to incorporate the new prints into Lil Blue Boo clothing!

Silk Screening Dimensional Monograms – Tutorial

I made this little bubble racer back for Boo today and added her initials to the front. We tested out the water in the pool…..still a little cold, but getting warmer!

The initials have a dimensional 2-layer look to them.

First I printed out the initials I wanted to use:

Then I used double sided tape on the back of a sheet of contact paper…..

….to keep my initials in place on the back of the contact paper to make them easier to cut out. I used a razor blade to carefully cut them out.

You can read my full tutorial on screen printing with contact paper, but in a nutshell I placed the contact paper stencil on the back of my screen and applied a glob of white screen printing ink at the top. Note: I’ve used many different kinds of white screen printing ink…..all with different results. I love the Versatex white ink because it doesn’t crack and is very soft when washed.

To get the three dimensional look, I pulled the ink DOWN the image and then repeated several times using enough pressure to bleed some of the ink under the contact paper. Then I repeated the same process pulling the ink from RIGHT to LEFT over the image to get the ink to bleed under the other way.

Note: You might want to practice this on a scrap piece of fabric to get the pressure right…..but since the ink is going under the contact paper you will need to wash and dry your screen for each print.

The finished print has a slight “shadow” to the left and bottom.

The finished dress!

Now onto my next project…..adding initials to our bedding!

Correcting/Repairing Images for Screen Printing

I tend to reuse my screens multiple times over for my prints and sometimes the images start to deteriorate as some of the photo emulsion starts to erode and wash off. There is a really simple solution to touch up these images: screen filler

I use a small detailed paint brush to apply screen filler into the areas where the emulsion has started to disappear to clean up my image:

Another problem I run into: the glass I use to create my prints is slightly smaller than some of my larger screens so a small amount of light is diffused leaving a faint line in the final image:

When this happens I just use screen filler to touch up the image:

You can also use screen filler to free hand a design onto a screen. You would apply it anywhere you don’t want ink to pass through. Happy printing!

Tie Dyeing using Procion Dye

Want vibrant color? Use Procion Dye. It’s what the pros use (and those of us that are pro “wannabes”). Look how yummy:

First, you’ll want to prepare a mixture of soda ash and water to soak your fabric in. I like to do this before I tie my fabric so the dye bleeds just a little….but you can also soak it after your fabric is tied. Here is what the soda ash looks like:

Basically you add 1 cup of soda ash per gallon of warm water. Make sure to wear gloves though…..this stuff can dry out and redden your hands (I know from experience).

Soak your fabric until wet and then wring out:

I like to use string to tie my fabric. I like the effect I end up with as the dye bleeds into the string:

Below is what the Procion Dyes look like. Measuring them is SUPER simple because they are coded with asterisks (*). You just mix 8 oz of warm water to the following amount of dye:
Colors with no * need 2 teaspoons of dye.
Colors with one * need 4 teaspoons of dye.
Colors with two * need 8 teaspoons of dye.

In this example, I was using Hot Pink (which had no * on the title) so I just added 2 teaspoons of dye……

…..into an 8oz squirt bottle using a little funnel I made from some plastic sheeting.

Then I added the 8oz of warm water and shook it to mix:

Apply the dye!

Wrap up the dyed fabric in plastic sheeting or a plastic bag to keep the dye and fabric wet. I let mine sit overnight for 24 hours.

The next day I remove the fabric from the bag and while still tied rinse off the excess dye using cold running water. Then I untie, rinse out again and put it through the wash on cold. I try to keep the dyes similar in the first wash to preserve color too (i.e. one load of pinks, one load of blues). They won’t fade after that!

Note: Dharma recommends the final wash with HOT water and Synthrapol or something similar so that the garment will never bleed on anything.

Note: There are many other variations and dye formulas you can use to perfect your technique. I recommend the Dharma Trading catalog which is more like a manual for dyeing!

Two recent custom dress orders I did using Procion:

A birthday dress with a screen printed “3” and a dyed skirt. The customer sent me the bling to applique on the skirt.

A veggie dress made with upcycled knits and tie dye.

Painted Wood Plaques – A Tutorial


How to stencil using stickers via


My sister-in-law’s baby sprinkle was this weekend and I made her two painted plaques for her nursery, a LBB dress, and put everything in this great little bucket as my gift:

One wood plaque I made to hang on a wall or door:

…..and the other to hold hair clippies:

These are great little gifts to make on a budget! For each plaque I started out with an pre-cut wood piece from the craft store:

I sprayed the wood piece pink (the color that I wanted the lettering to be) and let it dry:

Next I used letter stickers (from the scrapbook section of the craft store) to spell my niece’s name “Cari”:

For perfect polka dots I used a hole punch to punch tiny vinyl circles from contact paper (adhesive shelf paper)…….

……..and placed the around the edge of the wood plaque. You could use any scrapbook punch shape as well…I wanted to keep it simple:

The stickers and vinyl dots become “reverse stencils”….

…..and I applied my top coat of white spray paint over them:

Once the top coat of spray paint was dry, I carefully peeled off the stickers and dots:

For the “clippie” plaque I took leftover fabric from the nursery rocker reupholstering (so it would match my niece’s nursery perfectly) and folded it in half tucking the ends under:

Then I top stitched around the edges of the fabric:

I attached some hanging hardware……

…..and used two tiny screws to attach the fabric piece to the back (I ran out of staples or I would have used my staple gun):

A finished personalized clippie holder….much better than the generic ribbon hanger I got free with all of my clippies!

For the second plaque I just drilled two holes at the top…….

…..and added wire ribbon to hang:

I signed the back of the plaques with “Aunt” Ashley:

Finally, I made an itty bitty Lil Blue Boo dress….

…..and added everything to a pink metal bucket:

Lil Princess Boo

Sienna’s 3rd birthday party was today. It was a little stressful for me….I’m not much of a party planner….so I put 99% of it together yesterday. A few of you emailed me a bunch of ideas and they were so amazing….I just didn’t have time to really put any of them together!

The theme was “princess” and Sienna wanted to be Cinderella. I looked everywhere for a cute Cinderella dress that wasn’t too itchy, but I don’t think they exist! I made this “Cinderella-inspired” dress instead out of soft cotton interlock….she loved it. I silk screened the three on the front and puffed the sleeves a little. It is a flamenco/ballgown/princess dress all in one!


Decorating is not my thing either (hello, I am the one that put up the Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving in order to maximize the “days used” ratio). So thankful my dear friend Lisa lent me her birthday banner:

Extravagant outdoor decor:

I had the grocery store make cupcakes (I don’t bake).

I loved this recycling idea from Real Simple ….so I used leftover paint sample cards from a fairy mural project to make tags for the food.

I made party favors while watching Criminal Minds last night:

Mr. Lil Blue Boo and Boo went bright and early this morning to our friend Tara to have Boo’s hair brushed and curled (she won’t let us touch it).


Activities? I hired “Cinderella”:



My mother and my mother-in-law showing Sienna her face-paint:


Blowing out the candles:



This unbridled happiness makes it all worth it:



Here is one of my favorite photos from the day, taken by Lisa. It is my friend Jen’s baby girl Reese…she toddled around the whole time tangled in the balloons, but happy as a clam.


Another photo by Lisa.


And another….


Boo and Grandma saying farewell to all the guests:


I still can’t believe my little girl is THREE!!! Happy Birthday Lil Princess Boo!


I can’t wait to share some of the amazing handmade gifts Sienna received….but they deserve their own post!

The Candy Dress – A Tutorial

I am addicted to sweets. I am constantly buying candy and I am always trying to find ways to use the colorful packaging in my projects. Here is Sienna’s new favorite dress I made using a colorful Nerds box and some tie dye:

She wore it for three days straight. I finally got her out of it tonight by promising she could wear her tinted goggles to dinner (see bottom of the post for that photo).

She pretty much looks like she got tangled up in the Willy Wonka conveyor belt.

Look how great all these packages are! The Nerds were my favorite for Sienna and I thought the Hot Tamales would be perfect for a boy. I scanned them into my computer…..

….and printed them out on transfer paper. This was the first time I’ve used Dharma Trading’s Super Soft Transfer Paper and I am now officially hooked…..this stuff just feels like part of the fabric after one washing (the other stuff I was using felt a little plastic-like….and is going in the trash).

For this particular dress I made a patch to sew on, but you could iron the transfer directly onto the dress as well. Make sure to follow the directions for the transfer paper you are using.

Peeling the backing off is the best part.

I adhered my patch to the dress using fusible web and then stitched it into place.

Once the transfer was finished, I soaked the dress pieces in water (with table salt) to prepare them for dying.

After soaking for a few minutes, I took the pieces out of the water, squeezed the excess water from them, twirled into little spirals and secured with rubber bands.

Next, I covered them with pink and purple dye, wrapped them up tight in plastic and left them overnight.

The next morning I rinsed out the dye and ran the pieces through the wash. Here are the finished pieces before I sewed the rest of the dress together. I love how the dye becomes part of the transfer.

Sienna’s replacement outfit for dinner tonight…..only because she got to wear the goggles.

This tutorial is part of a series for the Lil Blue Boo / Dharma Trading Challenge running until the middle of February. If you haven’t checked it out yet please do! All levels of design/sewing/printing encouraged to enter! Entries are due by February 15, 2010.

Screen Printed Drapes & Pillows – A Tutorial

My husband has been bugging me for years to add window treatments around the house….but they are always either too expensive or I haven’t found ones I like. So I made my own….and it was so much easier than I thought it would be!

So happy with the result.

I wanted drapes that were simple and elegant but also that fit our informal living style. I love how they “pool” on the floor…..adds a little drama to our everyday living space.

I especially love how the morning sunlight comes through the sheer fabric.

With my leftover fabric I made some simple covers for our existing couch pillows to coordinate the room.

I made the small rectangular pillows from scratch with linen-like fabric.


Note: Before starting your screen printing you will need to create a screen. See my Screen Printing 101 tutorial on how to create a screen using photo emulsion. If you want to use a simpler design than shown below you can also try the contact paper screen printing method.

Here is the design I created using “damask” dingbats. You are welcome to use it (just click on the image and then save to your desktop). I couldn’t find my original file so this is a scan.

I started with 108″ plain white muslin (using my 40% off coupon it was about $3 a yard). For tops on measuring your window for the amount of fabric needed see my curtain tutorial (with download).

You will need a large area to spread your muslin out onto. I used my back patio, but you could use a driveway as well. Just spread a tarp or large drop cloths out to protect the muslin.

You can use the “fold” lines on the muslin as vertical guides and use a long piece of wood to mark your horizontal guide lines. I used a disappearing ink pen to mark out where my designs would be.

I used Versatex screen printing inks in the colors: Umber and Brown. I added Versatex Fixer which eliminates the “heat setting” step (i.e. no ironing to set the ink).

Mix your inks together (four 4oz tubs was plenty for pillows and drapes). I added a little black to get a darker brown.

Start your printing! Allow yourself to have errors (for character!)… will look like you meant to have imperfections. Place your screen flat onto the fabric. You will probably want to have a piece of cardboard underneath each section you are printing (I used flat boxes). Apply a small glob of ink at the top of side of the image……..and pull the ink down the screen with the squeegee. You might have missed some areas so I like to go over it a few times carefully. Do a test run first on a scrap!

The first one is the hardest! Then it gets easy!

You can do several rows at at time. Just keep your tape measure and disappearing ink pen nearby so you can mark guides as you go.

After the first layer has dried, turn your design around and screen the mirror image.

A finished complete image.

A finished drape! I screened in the hot sun and it only took minutes to dry.

Once all my drapes were dry I brought them inside for sewing. For the top of the drapes, I folded the edges over 1.5″ and then over again 1.5″ and sewed all the way across. I didn’t even hem the sides or bottom, I just serged them with white thread. If you want a more finished, formal look see my tutorial on curtains here.

A curtain rod for a 16 foot slider was not really in my budget so I modified a store-bought rod to fit across the 17 foot span. You can buy 6 foot finished wood rod pieces at your hardware store, just make sure to buy the connecting screws too. I bought three rods and cut about 6″ off the ends. I had to re-drill holes for the finials at the end. I purchased 4 brackets for the rods to sit on.

I cut 2 squares from my leftover fabric for each coordinating pillow.

I screen printed the design diagonally onto the pillow squares.

Once the pillow fronts had dried I pinned them together and sewed the outside edges leaving a small opening for stuffing.

I had my best helper stuff the pillows.

And I sewed the pillows shut with a blind stitch.

This technique is so versatile that you could use it in any room of the house. How about printing a similar duvet and large square euro pillows for a master bedroom!

My little one is the most excited about our new drapes because she gets another hiding place!

Faux Camoflauge – A Tutorial

I love different color camouflage…but could someone please tell me what someone in pink and purple camouflage is trying to blend into? A Dora Episode?

Anyways, I was trying to come up with a simple way to make something that kinda looked like camouflage. Below is what I came up with and it worked pretty well for the look that I was going for (click here to see how I did the hearts):

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial via
Step 1: I took some white cotton interlock fabric and soaked it in 2 gallons of water with about 1/4 cup of table salt in it. Then I took the fabric out, squeezed the excess water out and set it aside.

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 1 via
Step 2: I cut a 3′ x 3′ piece of plastic sheeting (the kind that you use for a drop cloth when painting).

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 2 via
Step 3: I took a packet of iDye and a small 8oz squirt bottle……

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 3 via
…..and stuffed the small iDye packet into my squirt bottle. (This is the BEST invention ever by the way…..iDye is in a small water soluble plastic bag that dissolves in water. I LOVE this because I don’t dye my hands!) The dye color I used it a light Kelly green….it looks very dark in the bottle because I had it so concentrated.

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 3a via
Step 4: I filled the squirt bottle with hot water and shook it until the dye was completely dissolved….it will be VERY concentrated.

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 4 via
Step 5: I gathered up the wet cotton fabric by sliding it along the plastic sheeting….

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 5 via
…and using string I tied it tightly together.

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 5a via
Step 6: I tied the fabric together in several places so it eventually looked like this:

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 6 via
Step 7: I took the dye and covered the fabric starting at the strings. Once I coated one side, I then turned the fabric over and douse the other sides….covering the entire piece with a generous amount of dye.

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 7 via
Step 8: After covering all the strings, I used the rest of the dye to completely cover the sides of the fabric (this photo shows the fabric before being completely doused)……

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 8 via
…….and then I rolled it up in the plastic sheeting and left it overnight.

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 8a via

After 24 hours, I unrolled the fabric, rinsed in in the sink and then put it in the washing machine for a complete washing. Basically the strength of the dye slowly bleeds through the fabric overnight….the final untouched areas will be dyed as you wash out the fabric and as it goes through the washing machine! Voila….faux camo!

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 8b via

This tutorial is part of a series for the Lil Blue Boo / Dharma Trading Challenge running this month. If you haven’t checked it out yet please do! All levels of design/sewing/printing encouraged to enter!

Random Ideas and inspiration

Seriously, sometimes the most random things will spur ideas. This little heart print was inspired by a Burlington Coat Factory commercial (ever seen their logo?). This is why I need to keep a notebook by my bed….so in between Jersey Shore, The Bachelor and Lifetime Movies I can jot things down!

Random Ideas and inspiration via
I’ve been printing the hearts on soft cotton interlock for some Valentines skirts and dresses:

Random Ideas and inspiration 2 via
Just having fun with it and mixing the hearts into different prints.

Random Ideas and inspiration 3 via
Someone emailed me and requested a twirl skirt so here it is:

Random Ideas and inspiration 4 via
Can you guess what my other new pattern is?

Random Ideas and inspiration 5 via
I’ve had a few St. Patty’s requests too… I dyed and screened a few variations of this too (tutorial for dyeing to come soon):

Random Ideas and inspiration 6 via

Random Ideas and inspiration 7 via

Random Ideas and inspiration 8 via

Speaking of random. A friend brought his daughters over last night to play with Sienna while he and my hubby painted something. Checking on the girls I found that they had somehow convinced Sienna to dress up as a Kangaroo….doesn’t she look thrilled?

Random Ideas and inspiration 9 via

What is the most random thing that inspired an idea for you?