Jenny La Fleur
the infamous Fire stenciling - Jenny La Fleur
adventures in costuming
the infamous Fire stenciling

No progress on the costuming front (time hasn't allowed) so I thought I would update you on the infamous Fire stenciling project. You know the one that took over my Memorial Day weekend.

This started out as an idea, inspired by Michaela's Padme Watergown, to jazz up some plain fabric from the stash for the underskirt and inner sleeves. I loved the effect and thought it would be fun for the fire theme.

When I decided to line the orange faille in red twill - twill for the weight and drape and red because it would be seen through the slits - stenciling the plain cotton twill to blend with my other "shiny" fabrics seemed an even better idea.

My first obstacle: while I have many talents drawing with pen and paper is not one of them. I had an idea in my head of what I wanted for the design but how to transfer that onto my fabric? Then I thought about the pretty design papers used for scrapbooking and starting looking through that aisle at Michaels. Lo and behold I found the perfect stylized flame design right away. I pulled out the paper and laughed; it was Harley-Davison paper. Of course, why hadn’t I thought of motorcycle gangs to insprie my costume right away? *grin* A good lesson in "think outside the box".

At Michaels I also picked up some spray fabric paint. The colors were limited so I got the only two reds - poppy red & cranberry - hoping the mix would be pretty on the flaming red twill. I also picked up a spray gold glitter fabric paint to finish it off. Becasue life is better with sparkles.

I scanned the Harley paper into the computer and sized it up to the scale I was looking for. That was printed out, taped to a blank quilting template with and cut out with an exacto knife. I then sprayed one side with spray craft glue and set it aside to get tacky. (I repeated this step every 3-4 times I moved the stencil to make sure that it stuck nicely - one of several helpful tips on the spray paint website

When I started testing it became apparent that the poppy red didn't really show up on the red fabric so I set that aside. I started work on the back gores in cranberry but it never came out as nicely as the first few testers and then it started to run out. The paint was not really designed for stenciling and while it worked (I think the stencil needed to be sprayed with glue after each use) it wasn’t ideal. The little cans were also a bit pricy to be running out after 2 half gores. So I gave up on the colored paint.

One of the early tests had been to over-saturate a flame with the gold glitter spray. It had looked blah when wet but by this time it had dried completely and in the evening light looked pretty cool. Much more subtle than the original concept but "fiery" all the same. So I decided to carry on with the Harley design in gold glitter alone.

Every piece of lining was stenciled in Harley flames from the hem to about the hip level. The back gores (pictured above) are the only ones with cranberry fabric paint. I ended up using 3 bottles of the glitter stuff and it was just barely was enough. I would have liked more on the front gores but I decided I'd spent enough money already. Not to mention more than enough time painting out in the summer heat! :P

So the lesson learned is that it's probably cheaper to just by nicer fabric than to create your own finishes out of cheaper fabric and paints. Especially factoring in the time of testing, working & clean up (about 6 hours in my case).

Having said that, my Harley lining does look cool. It's the kind of detail that needs the right lighting and that I won't see much (it will peak through as I walk and as my train gets flipped over) but that adds depth to the costume. My homage to my favorite costuming flick, LOTR, and all the details that were never seen onscreen I guess. So far it's the only thing that specifically says "Fire" too.

You'all will have to tell me if it's been worth the effort on Gala night. :>


8 comments | comment?
jehanni From: jehanni Date: May 31st, 2007 09:24 pm (UTC) (link)

fire stenciling

I love the Harley--think outside the box epiphany; too funny. And the effect looks interesting and subtle. I'd like to see the glitter effect compared to the Pirate Coat I stenciled for my friend Mike: the fellow who joined us for Marie Antoinette.

Some other costume, you might want to try the Jacquard metallics. Of course, I was only stenciling facings, not yardage, but I was fairly pleased at the speed and coverage with regular pouncing those paints.
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: June 1st, 2007 01:39 am (UTC) (link)

Re: fire stenciling

*grin* I'm glad you got a kick out of it. :> It's definitely subtle. I don't think I've seen Mike's coat. Or did I? The Jacquard metallics sound interesting... *files away in idea folder* Thanks! :>

I can't wait to see your Gala costume! :>
suededsilk From: suededsilk Date: June 2nd, 2007 05:56 am (UTC) (link)
Yes, it would've been cheaper, but where would you have found sparkling Harley flame fabric? :D It looks great and will probably be perfectly effective.
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: June 4th, 2007 02:13 pm (UTC) (link)
Very true & I hope so! :>
lordofhaladin From: lordofhaladin Date: June 6th, 2007 02:23 pm (UTC) (link)
hello! I wandered in form mutual friends, I also am a costumer and I woudl like to see what you are up to, I'm doing too much so I dont' blame you if you dont' wan tto, but do you mind if I friend you?
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: June 9th, 2007 11:50 am (UTC) (link)
Please feel free to friend me if you'd like - I never mind being friended! :>
lordofhaladin From: lordofhaladin Date: June 9th, 2007 02:02 pm (UTC) (link)
okay friended!
romanatl From: romanatl Date: June 9th, 2007 11:14 am (UTC) (link)

fashion history

My names Jane.
I'm a big fan of fashion history and looking for others that shear that love.
I made a club and looking for members so we can have really good discussions!!
It's a myspace group.
If you have a myspace thing I was wondering if you'd like to join!!
Check it out
The address:
8 comments | comment?