Latte art is a method of preparing coffee created by pouring steamed milk into a shot of espresso and resulting in a pattern or design on the surface of the resulting latte. It can also be created or embellished by simply “drawing” in the top layer of foam. Latte art is particularly difficult to create consistently, due to the demanding conditions required of both the espresso shot and milk.
Rosettas, hearts, apples and Macchiatos are just few motifs these rare, extremely talented artists whip up. We take it for granted so often and forget the first time we ever saw one gently sitting on top of our frothy mugs of coffee, hot chocolate or chai lattes. Have you tried your hand at it? I have and it’s not easy! I’m sure it’s got something to do with balancing your chi and becoming one with your caffeine… stuff like that, so I’ll get on to something more plausible. Design. I love the part-coffee-part-cream cloud ombre. Latte art is beautiful! So won’t it be cool to wear something that has a hint of it? I’ve been mulling it over ever since…
So, now here I am using the art of skilled artists (and excellent coffee makers) as an inspiration for a clothing concept. But first you have to see these beauties!
An example of a “Rosetta”
They call this the super etch! Credit goes to Chris Thompson of CoffeeGeek
For more eye-feast see: this
And now here comes the DIY! I made this hand painted top from scratch and I will show you how to make your own.
Well, I think it is from scratch. Considering the fact everyone has a tee that fits them perfectly because that’s basically what you will need. I do draft my own patterns often. But to display the process would be quite embarrassing. :p
SO LET’S GET STARTED!
I decided to make a hand painted jersey top with a clean and relaxed silhouette. If you have a surging machine it’s better but if you don’t (like me) you can use a single needle machine or ask a friend/parent to sew it for you. You may use your hand needle too since it’s super easy!
I had a top in my closet that I really like. It fits me well and I’m going to be using it as my guide to tracing the pattern. Nothing technical.
Find one that fits you well preferably a loose tank without any sleeves. This is mine:
You’ll need about a meter and a half/1 yard and a half of tubular knited fabric; that’s jersey in my case. A minimum 140 cm width is good.
My fabric is linen jersey with slubby yarn bits. I think it adds a great texture and looks delicious
These are the things you’ll need to make your own:
1. Fabric : lightweight Jersey 140cm x 100cm
2. Sharp scissors
3. Needle and thread (if you decide to hand sew the seams)
4. Paper & pencil/pen
5. Marking chalk/washable fabric marker
6. Inch tape
7. Rotary cutter (optional)
9. Pins to hold the fabric seams together
10. Sewing machine
11. Thread of the same color as the fabric. In the bobbin too.
Turn tee inside out to reveal the seams.
Observe the grain of the fabric and place your tee ‘on fold’ in the direction of the knitted rows i.e. length wise like so:
Placing it on fold will give you a symmetrical, single front panel.
To trace the pattern flatten out all creases and chalk out the edges:
Trace the neck:
Once you have all the edges traced add a seam allowance with your trusty ruler; 1/4th of an inch is standard. You may add 1 cm if you want any adjustments made later or if you’re new to the sewing machine. Just dot the added measurement and then join the dots. Simple.
Level the bottom into a clean straight line. if your top has a curved hem follow that line.
If you want an added hem length or want to go short for an… exposé midriff… ehe ehe ahem… add or subtract your inches/cms now!
Now chop! chop!
Cut the pattern out. Both layers together while keeping the fabric firmly on a solid surface. Don’t lift or move the traced fabric because we’re trying to get a clean mirrored pattern on both sides.
Pin the edges and place this piece as the new guide for the back panels. I wanted my back panel to have a seam in the center. I think it will be a nice little detail.
Place it on the folded fabric the opposite way. This way saves fabric too…
Manipulate the armhole dip of the back panels to make a racer back. Use your chalk over the existing trace.
Remember to add seam allowance to the center back… there’s a seam here.
Trace and cut the new panels.
Now sew the center back with ‘right sides’ facing each other inside.
Open the sewn edges and press with you nails to open.
Add a top stitch on both sides of the seam. Keep the lines fairly parallel to each other.
NOW COMES THE PAINT!
I’m sure everybody prefers a little art on their coffee. It sure can make me smile. I’ve spent hours trying to deconstruct the motifs.
Best way to create an interesting print would be to keep sketching and try out different shapes, textures and lines.
First layer with burn sienna mixed with little white.
Second layer with burnt sienna mixed with a little black.
Third layer with pure white.
Look at your doodles from all angles and work in layers.
I’ve used Acrylic fabric paint in burnt sienna, black and white to make three shades. I added a little an acrylic medium to thin out the paint.
It’s good if you don’t water because the color won’t last long. It won’t bleed or rub onto other clothes but will definitely fade out in a couple of washes. But you’re the boss of your latte tee so you can use water if you can’t find the medium. There are no rules.
Use a synthetic brush because I’ve noticed it slicks the paint easily on fabric and sheds less bristles in acrylic medium.
Make easy simple strokes and always relax your mind when you paint. You won’t be able to undo any strokes but if you hurry and paint you might not like the process and eventually the result. SO. Take your time and enjoy the process. That’s how I roll!
And this is me in action…
Let it dry completely between the colors to get this effect but if you want to experiment with runny marbled colors you should totally try painting on a wet cloth surface. See how mine turned out:
Okay so now all you have to do is let it dry out completely for 24 hours.
To make the print ‘fast’ iron on the reversed side of the print with a medium to hot iron.
To assemble the tee attach shoulders and then the sides of the front and back panel keeping the right sides inside facing each other.
Turn it inside out and DONE!
Here’s how mine finally looks… I didn’t finish armhole, neckline seams and bottom hem because well, jersey doesn’t fray!
If you thought this was easy I am already proud of you. Can you think of all the things you can make using these techniques? Tracing, sewing and printing… there are many kinds of fabrics, colors, motifs and prints. Think of all the combinations. If you observe the way clothes are sewn together heck you could make your own wardrobe! Try one at a time though so that you know how you are doing.
Let each piece you create be motivation for the next!
If you decide to make something send me a link. I’d love to see what you did.
Hope I did the tutorial justice.
Please leave me a comment!