I love chambray. I wear it, I dress my kid and my husband in it, and I never seem to get tired of it.
Did you know that chambray, like denim, was originally used only for workwear and wasn’t generally accepted for other apparel until Claire McCardell started using it in her designs? Now it’s a quintessentially American fabric. And this season I’m seeing it everywhere. Have you noticed it, too? I just collected a bunch of cute Oliver + S clothing that you’ve sewn in chambray onto a Pinterest board, and it all looks so good! You can see more if you search “chambray” on the Flickr group, too.
It can be a little difficult to find nice qualities of chambray. All too often, it’s loosely woven and limp or the color is too light. When I can’t find a quality I really like, I usually buy lightweight dark denim and use the wrong side of the fabric. Which is what S and I did the other day when we decided we wanted to make polka-dotted chambray.
goodness, her hands look so grown up!
It’s not hard to do, and we had a such good time with the project that I thought I would share what we did so you can do it too.
I’ve seen other people use pencil erasers to print the polka dots on their fabric, but pencil erasers weren’t holding our textile paint very well, so instead we used a regular paper punch and a piece of cardboard from a cereal box to make a simple circular stencil. I used a ruler and a Clover Chaco Liner (we should get these for the shop; I love them!) to draw a 2″ grid on the back of our denim.
Then S and I got busy, stenciling dots on alternate intersections with fabric paint. It was fun and went quickly, and one of the things I love best about these projects is that it gives us a chance to chat while we’re working. It’s always amazing to me how much talking we do when she’s distracted by another activity. We used to have our best conversations while we were riding down the sidewalk together on my large scooter. But now S has her own scooter and it’s a little harder to chat because she’s concentrating on her driving. For some reason, she’s a lot more willing to talk about school or things that interest her when her hands and eyes are busy doing something else. (I guess I’m like that, too, really.)
Anyway, we made our polka-dotted fabric into a Lazy Days Skirt. Easy-peasy. Today it was worn to school with lots of stripes and with mis-matched socks. As I explained on Instagram yesterday, S claims that wearing her socks this way “prevents the feeling of ennui.”
Second graders. When did they get so sophisticated and philosophical?