Thursday, June 14, 2012

Nerds: Born or Created?

Either way, Will is doomed, I'm afraid. He already has quite an obsession with the Star Wars trilogy. He knows what color light saber everyone uses, and the light saber that appears on the cover of each DVD is how he identifies which movie he wants to watch ("I want the one with the green light saber, Mama"--that's Return of the Jedi).

Will's Darth Vader Shirt

Anyway, he wanted a Star Wars shirt, so I Googled and Pinterested and found a few different tutorials for doing a freezer paper stencil Darth Vader shirt. Here's a link to one of the pins/tutorials I found ( one is by Homemade by Jill). I also found a Silhouette heat transfer-version that had the "we have cookies" quote, but for the life of me, I can't seem to track it back down--my apologies to whoever you are!

I went and grabbed a stencil version of Darth Vader (I discovered that  "stencil" is the search term to use to get the right kind of picture). Instead of cutting it out on freezer paper, though, my plan was to try out my new Silhouette heat transfer material.

First, I had to import my Vader .jpg into the Silhouette Studio software and trace him to create the cut lines. I used the auto trace feature for the first time. It did pretty well, but I still had to go and touch up some of the lines a bit, which was very tedious on my netbook that just has a touchpad and not a mouse. I do not recommend that!

After I had my stencil completed, I cut him out of regular paper to test him. It seemed to work, so then I created the lettering using a Star Wars font I found for free here. At first, I tried rearranging my letters so that I could fit as many of them in as small a space as possible--I thought I was being all smart and conserving the really expensive heat transfer material. But I shortly discovered this was a really dumb thing to do. I cut that out of my transfer material and then started picking out my letters and Darth Vader design and was wondering how in the world I was going to get all those tiny little pieces to stick down where I wanted them to on the shirt, especially since they kept shifting around on the shirt. So, at this point, I consulted the instructions, and guess what? I was doing it backwards! You weed out the parts you don't want, leaving the parts on the plastic sheet that you want to adhere to the shirt. Then you turn the whole thing over and iron on top of the plastic sheet (well,with a cloth on top of that). So then, in my cheapness frugality, I started trying to fit the pieces I'd already picked off back onto the sheet. Then I realized that if I needed to flip my material so that the plastic side faced up, that meant the image was going to be backwards. No big deal, except that my letters would all be backward. Then I vaguely recollected having read that in all the stenciling tutorials--you MUST remember to flip your design before cutting. Argh. At that point, I abandoned trying to stick anything back down.

Since I had destroyed my only piece of black vinyl, I had to order more (I looked locally and did not find it at either Walmart or Hobby Lobby). So, when the new stuff arrived, I recut, this time with everything arranged just as I wanted it on the shirt--you know, the way the directions SAY to do it. After a false start where my mat slipped and miscut (I am not sure why that happens?? I'm sure it's user error), I finally got a good cut, weeded out my negative space, and ironed it on. worked! (So far, I haven't washed it yet.)

The shirt itself is another Sewing For Boys Raglan T, upcycled from a thrifted 25 cent knit dress. I HAD TO BE red, Will's favorite color. 

Will's Darth Vader Shirt

I know he doesn't look too thrilled in these pictures, but he really loves the shirt. He was diagnosed with strep the day before I finally finished this project and was not at his usual level of perkiness, poor guy.

Editing to add that after I made him this shirt, Will started requesting that I make some "Darth Vader cookies." I made some oatmeal cookies, and he's been calling them his Darth Vader Cookies all week. Funny boy!

This is my entry for the Pinspired and Rewired  contest (Fabric edition) at Family Ever After. 

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