This is a project that I had been wanting to do for sooooooo long! For those of you who aren't up on your sci-fi British television, and more specifically the show Doctor Who, the T.A.R.D.I.S. is the time traveling spaceship belonging to a human looking alien with two hearts who has a particular soft spot for Earth. It looks like an emergency police call box, is partially sentient (and has named herself Sexy), and is a magnitude larger on the inside than on the outside. The Doctor, a companion and potentially a variety of friends (Oh Jack, why do you never show up anymore!) go on various scary/heartwarming/mysterious adventures though space and time.
Anyhow, this all started when on a whim I searched Doctor Who on Spoonflower, not expecting to find much of anything. Instead I found pages and pages of results. Now, I would love some mildly tacky TV theme fabric, but at $17.50/yard (yard! not even a proper meter!) plus shipping it was all a bit too rich for my tastes. I have to say though, the 10th Doctor apron fabric and the tesselated TARDIS are pretty hard to resist.
|The two lino stamps on the left for the TARDIS and light rays, and a foam stamp for the vortex on the right.|
The next stop was the fabric store to look for some appropriately blue all natural fiber fabric. I was wandering everywhere from the upholstery to the quilting sections muttering to myself and making the sewing store ladies scratch their head. I had never really looked at the content of broadcloth before and had just assumed that it was just cotton so that was where I headed first. It was only 60% cotton and the rest was polyester. I was lucky enough to find exactly what I was looking for in the end. It's not heavy enough to be quilting weight, but it is heavier than broadcloth. Is there a name for that?
As previously mentioned, it was the end of the bolt, and it ended up being in three pieces. I printed the two larger pieces in the pattern in the first photo, and then printed the ends of the short piece in two different types of border prints as seen the right photo above, and the photo below. When I had started out, the plan was for a fluffy maybe layered, maybe not, gathered skirt, however I'm not happy enough with the print to wear it out in public. I really want to, but I think these are slated to be epic pjs worn around others only when I know they are aware of, or share my obsession so when I inevitably start scampering around singing the theme song, or make the dematerialization noise they won't be too, too startled.
So in the end, was it any cheaper? Extremely. Admittedly, the printing process from fabric purchase, to washing, drying, ironing, stamp carving, stamping, to ironing again took several days and was more labour intensive than expected, and the print is nowhere near perfect. However, it is definitely unique, an actual random pattern, and quite pretty if I do say so myself. I tried to cheap out and made homemade felt stamp pads, and while they worked, I had to either stand on, or kneel on the stamps to get enough pressure to have decent transfer. Also, because I was standing, and would occasionally lose balance while on the stamp, it would tip and leave a mark from the wood block as well. I have since purchased a brayer and will hopefully be printing a "good" version of this fabric for a dress or skirt in the future.
For about 4m of fully printed fabric:
$15.00 -lino handle and blades
$7.00 -30x15cm sheet of lino
free -blocks of scrap wood and gorilla glue
$4.00 -on sale100% cotton fabric (reg. ~ $8)
$2.75 x 2 -on sale Speedball water based screenprinting ink in 75cc tubes in gold and silver (reg. ~ $6)
And to conclude, I leave you with a song I unexpectedly found while searching the work server, The Timelords with their song "Doctorin' The Tardis".