A Year O’ Screenprinted T-Shirts

I’m a bit late in posting these pictures, since I had to go to Pittsburgh for Quilt Market (check out photos of the cool stuff I saw over on Project 95‘s Facebook page and detailed write-ups about new releases that I’m posting on FabTalk; True Up is also continuing their great coverage of Market–thanks to East Coast Stringer Mary Beth, so make sure to check out that awesomeness as well), I had a bit of a delay in downloading these photos of a special project Josh and I worked on together.

Susan‘s sweet little girl, Pearl, turned one about two weeks ago, and since she’s just about the coolest kiddo ever, we had to make her something special. She’s growing like a little wild weed, so we thought that a year of unique hand screenprinted T-shirts would be just the ticket. Josh and I each designed two. Check them out below.

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This T-shirt is Pearl's size right now, and my original design. Since it fits currently, I anticipate that it'll have maybe a month of use before she's bursting out of it. It's the Steel Bridge, which is my favorite bridge in Portland. I designed the artwork and screened it in a metallic pewter color. I'm planning on turning this design into a letterpress piece as well.

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This is one of the shirts Josh made. It's a monkey/gorilla stencil from the Stencil 101 book, and Josh made it glow-in-the-dark. To work with glowin-in-the-dark screenprinting inks, you have to first put on a base of opaque white--we learned that the hard way. Once the white is dry, you overprint the white with the glow-in-the-dark ink. Everything's better when it glows, right?

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This is my other contribution. If I timed it correctly, it should fit Pearl right around fall--the start of the next Portland Trail Blazers season. It's the phenomenal Brandon Roy, guard for the Portland Trail Blazers, All-Star, All-NBA 2nd Team Member and all-around fabulous player and person. Pearl has a Brandon Roy jersey that she wears on game days--which coordinates with her Trail Blazers socks. I'm thinking that at the rate she's growing, her jersey may not fit her all season, but the T-shirt can hopefully fill in the wardrobe gaps next season. I neglected to take a picture, but the back of the shirt has an appliqued Blazers logo on it. I owe Pearl a pair of Trail Blazers pants to go with it, but I want to wait until fall to make them, so I can get a better idea of the sizing. This is my original design, and actually part of my letterpress project. It's neat seeing the image in two different mediums.

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Josh's second contribution was the biggest hit of all of the T-shirts--"I brake for hummus." Pearl's favorite food is hummus, so Josh made the largest T-shirt a snazzy gold printed shirt proclaiming her loyalty to garbanzos, tahini and garlic. 'Nuff said.

Happy first birthday, Pearl! Can’t wait to make you four more next year!


Cheer Up, Blazers Fans!

The loss tonight in Game Four had me in tears. I bet it did a lot of you, too. But, this should cheer you up a little bit.

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Yes, Josh really made this flag.

Yes, it’s completely reversible.

Yes, he cut and appliqued the felt pinwheel.

Yes, he sewed the whole thing together.

And, yes, he hand screenprinted the “Don’t Tread On Me.”

Oh, and yes, that’s Josh holding it up and he’s about 6’2″, so it’s really, really big.

And then he informed me it was a gift for me.

Because my husband is just that awesome.


Josh per a tres!

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Red, black & white banners flying on the stage outside the Rose Garden Arena before the Trail Blazers' first playoff game in several years. These semi-transparent banners are really beautiful rustling in the breeze with the cityscape in the background.

I’m hoping that “Josh per a tres!” actually does mean “Josh for three!” in Catalan, because that’s what the online translator said, and those things are never wrong–right?

I thought I’d share Josh’s latest screen printing project–an impromptu one, at that. (Although, let’s all agree that normal people don’t plan and execute a three-color screen print on an “impromptu” basis–Josh is weird.)

It’s been well documented that Josh has officially jumped on the Portland Trail Blazers bandwagon in a big way. (Although, really, he’s been on the bandwagon for about three years, but he’s reached the terminal stage of BlazerMania–emotional investment.) He has also sucked it up and finally become, like the rest of us here in Portland, a big Rudy Fernandez fan. Portland hearts Rudy, an flashy player from Spain–and people are wearing the T-shirts around to prove it. (Seriously, the now-defunct G.I. Joe’s sold them. First they were just women’s shirts, but then they started stocking men’s and you’d see a lot of very old male Blazers fans wearing them too.) I think the final straw was last Wednesday, at the Trail Blazers’ last regular season game, and Josh’s return to going to games after nearly a month of dealing with a nightmarish situation with regard to the horrendous customer service by the Trail Blazers season ticket staff and dealing with the thugish occupants of section 322 in the Rose Garden over the course of 41 games (and really, I’m pretty sure that I’m not quite ready to drop my complaint after the service folks’ pathetic reaction to our concerns). What was so special about Rudy’s performance that night? Well, he made six freaking three-point shots! Six! Which meant that he also broke the rookie record for most threes in a season. (You can check out some highlights of Rudy hitting threes this season here and if you’re feeling really wild and crazy, check out this phenomenal bit of play from Rodolfo.)

So, a bit more about Josh’s inspiration. Rudy makes a really unique and energizing hand gesture when he makes a three, and fans have started imitating him when he scores. It’s joyous, and it gets everyone fired up.

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Rudy’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch, and Josh decided that Rudy deserved his own tribute T-shirt, since I’ve made a couple in support of one of my favorites. But Josh, of course, couldn’t settle for making (or–the horror–actually buying) a normal Rudy T-shirt. Nope. He had to create something totally unique and abstract in honor of both Rudy and the Trail Blazers’ first appearance in the NBA playoffs in some time. 
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Portland, Oregon - Where the NBA Playoffs are finally happening again!

Josh got the idea to create a screenprint based upon the logo from the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain–you know, as a shout-out to that awesome city and country. (We went to Spain in 1998 and spent quite a bit of time in Barcelona, it’s one of the most wonderful places we’ve been–and we’d love to go back sometime.) Do you remember that logo

This is Josh’s re-interpretation:

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A last-minute three-color screenprint? What a maniac!

Josh elongated the “face” to better resemble Rudy, and added Rudy’s signature “3″ hand gesture. The results are pretty nifty, if I do say so myself. 

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The Trail Blazers put up this awesome banners of all the players all over the Rose Garden Arena outdoor concourse. They're really swell-looking. Here, Josh demonstrates Rudy's "3" sign under one of the Rudy banners.

Now, Josh would be the first to admit (actually, he did admit it to me yesterday), that he got all nervous about the playoff game on Saturday night (with good reason, apparently) and had to do something, hence the complexity of the three-color screenprint. He also printed me one. 

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Josh tried to get me to take my picture under a certain players banner, but I thought that would be 1) a mixed basketball metaphor and 2) too Fan Girl.

Sadly, the Blazers lost their first playoff game, and I was–frankly–devastated. I never imagined that they’d lose, let alone get blown out. But, I’ve got to believe they’ll come back with a vengeance. So, I’m asking y’all a favor: If you currently have no NBA loyalties, or if your team’s not in the playoffs (I’m speaking to you, Phoenix Suns fans–I rooted for y’all’s team for a long while during the Jail Blazers Era and have even read :07 or Less.), please consider sending some positive playoff energy our way. It would mean a hell of a lot. For inspiration, here’s a video we shot at the Playoff Rally at Pioneer Courthouse Square on Thursday. 

Trail Blazers Pioneer Square Playoff Rally – April 16, 2009

15,000 of us showed up to cheer on the team just for making the playoffs! Look how excited everyone is! We need this here in Portland! So, please, send some positive vibes here to the Pacific Northwest.


P.S. You can check out my Flickr set for our pics from Saturday’s game.

About that T-shirt…

So, thanks to a very brief mention by Channing Frye on his weekly show on a local Portland radio station (listen here–it’s in the first 40 seconds or so), we’ve been getting a fair amount of hits from people googling “Channing for Mayor T-shirt.” Which is super-cool. Welcome to Sewer-Sewist, a rather strange place, you’ve probably noticed.

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Front of the quasi-famous "Channing for Mayor" shirt.

Anyway, Sarah made the shirts as a silly project for herself and a few friends, and doesn’t have any more. But, we still have the screen, so there is the possibility of printing some more. However, there’s a fair amount of time and labor involved, so if you’ve landed here looking for where you can find your very own Channing for Mayor shirt, please leave a comment here (if you’ve never commented before, your comment will be held for moderation) or drop Sarah a line at sewersewist [at] gmail [dot] com, with a subject line that will be kind of obvious. If there are enough folks who want one, then we’ll do a small run–probably in the red and blue shown in this photo and this photo–and put them up on Big Cartel. We’re not looking to profit from the shirts or anything (in fact, we’re not a big fan of folks looking to make money off of other people’s image–if that makes sense), but but shirts + ink + labor do add up.

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Back of shirt - "Keepin' Portland Weird."

Thanks, all, for your interest in keepin’ Portland weird.

~Sarah & Josh

Humor me, please…

Please tell you that y’all aren’t sick of my crazy Trail Blazers-inspired crafty projects. Please? Even if you’re lying, just humor me for a moment.

Last week Susan and I went to the Trail Blazers vs. Memphis Grizzlies game and, prior to the game, went to their first-ever “TweetUp,” which basically involved us getting in to watch the team’s shoot-around (you can’t normally get into the Rose Garden that early), and some chitchat with some Blazers staff and a group photo. The highlight was, obviously, the shoot-around. It’s been well-documented here that there’s a horrifying lack of Channing Frye gear in the officially-sanctioned “Fan Shop,” and that–as a result–I’ve had to resort to making my own. (It’s also been well-documented that Channing’s my favorite player not named Brandon Roy–although I pretty much like the entire team at this point.) What I haven’t mentioned before is that Josh, Susan and I all have a joke that when this whole pro basketball thing is over, that Channing would be a great mayor, because of his obvious love for the City of Roses. (Yes, we know that you probably need more skills than just “enthusiasm” to be mayor, but it’s a joke, okay? Although Kevin Johnson recently became mayor of Sacramento, so it’s not a completely crazy suggestion.)

So I did some research on vintage campaign signs (yes, I always take these things way too seriously) and came up with a design and screen printed us up some shirts. (An aside: Learning to create my own screen prints has opened up a whole new world for me. If I come up with something crazy I want on a shirt, I don’t have to order it from Cafe Press or whatever. I can just fire up the computer, create a design a screen print it in our kitchen. It’s incredible.)

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Here's the design of the front. This typeface is, brilliantly, called something like "Politician." It's super-cheesy and kind of awesome (not dissimilar from Channing himself?).

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And the "campaign slogan" on the back. This is really funny. Trust me.

(In case you were wondering–you can achieve that perfect, basketball colored rust tone by mixing equal parts pure red ink and gold opaque ink. It’s actually quickly become my favorite mixed ink, since it looks so nice on black.)

The “campaign slogan” was inspired by Channing’s blog, in which last spring and summer he spent an amazing amount of space chronicling the various nuances of Portland’s weirdness. (And, really, there are a lot of things that make this city truly weird–and I’m a native. I can’t imagine how strange Portland must seem to newcomers, even newcomers who know how awesome Portland is.)

We were pretty thrilled with the results, and I got a high five from some random dude on the Rose Garden concourse who informed me in a very earnest manner that, “People just don’t understand how awesome Channing is and how much he means to Portland!” He may have been hyperventilating just a bit, too.

Check out the shirts “in action.”

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We were a little surprised that the other TweetUppers didn't even give us crazy looks over our shirts. I mean, I would probably look at us like we're slightly whacked out, but I guess Blazers tweeters are an understanding lot. Either that or they thought that we'd inadvertently wandered into their gathering and were doing their best to ignore us. (The actual game was another story, though. At one point, I thought Susan & I were going to have to throw down with some serious Channing haters in the row in front of us. Seriously, who the hell goes to a basketball game so angry? That's plain crazy.)

You see, we’re just doing our part in keepin’ Portland weird.


Note: If you’re so inclined, you can check out my photos from the shoot-around here.

Buffet of Goodness (AKA The Mysterious Case of the Cursed Hoodie)

I have a terrible, sinking feeling that my latest screen printing project may be cursed. Which is truly unfortunate.

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This cool hoodie can't be cursed... Can it?

Before you continue reading this post, I do want to make an important point: I’m not a Fan Girl. And I’m certainly not a Channing Frye Fan Girl. If I were going to be a Fan Girl of any of the Trail Blazers players, it would have to be Martell Webster. Yes, I know Rudy Fernandez is the flavor of the month, but, for me–if I were to become a Fan Girl in a parallel universe–it would have to be Martell. (Now you may click through to the rest of the post, and settle in for a lengthy post.)

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Bingo, Bango, Bongo!

That post title doesn’t really mean anything, but it’s a quote from the great Bill Schonely, the best play-by-play announcer of all time. When someone would do something really awesome, The Schonz would randomly shout, “Bingo, Bango, Bongo!” There were other things, too. Like, “Rip City!” or “Ocean to Ocean…” or “Lickety Brindle up the Middle.” I listened to him call Portland Trail Blazers games on the radio my whole life, and no on will ever be as awesome as The Schonz. Seriously, Josh and I saw him walking down the street last year and I literally started hyperventilating. He’s that rad of dude.

Anyway, this post is about a T-shirt I screen printed and embroidered, but you’re going to have to humor me a bit while I digress…

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I'm not a crazed fan! Really. I'm not. I swear.

It’s been well established that I’m a crazy fan of Portland Trail Blazers basketball. And keep in mind, Trail Blazers fans are a special breed of crazy in general, so that’s saying something. This season, we are actually season ticket holders. We have seats waaaaaay up in section 322 to each and every game this year. This is going to sound cheesy, but this is actually a life-long dream of mine. When I was a kid it was nearly impossible to get tickets. When Josh and I moved back to Portland, no one was going to the games, because of the whole Jail Blazers thing, and we were able to score all kinds of free or deeply discounted tickets (great seats, too). So we went a lot. (An aside: for the longest time, I thought that if I was at the game, the Trail Blazers couldn’t lose–it wasn’t until Portland played the stupid Clippers that season that I attended a Blazers’ loss.) That year, 2006-07, was Brandon Roy‘s Rookie season–he eventually become Rookie of the Year, Ime Udoka made the team (he’s a Portlander) and Nate McMillan was coaching. The vibe was changing, and fans kind of knew that it was Zach Randolph‘s last season before he was traded. Portlanders knew the team was changing–and something good was going to happen. Then Portland won the #1 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

It was amazing.

Blazermania was back.

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Dayton Triangles Redux Hoodie

What do you get when you combine screen printing, applique, sewing, refashioning, vintage sports uniforms and a little bit of crazy?


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With autumn bringing cool weather, I needed a new hoodie to wear (by the way, sometime we’ll have to ask Sarah to write about her hoodie addiction). For inspiration, I wanted it to look like the old Dayton Triangles jerseys from the 1920s, because I am from Dayton and I like stripes and appliqués. And I really like any excuse to screen print just about anything.

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Why the Dayton Triangles? Well, my dad remembers them playing at the park near his house when he was growing up in Dayton, Ohio in the 1950s.

I started out with a plain gray hoodie and used tape to create the stripes I wanted. I then used a blank screen to spread the ink.  (Which made one hell of a mess.) After drying, I was left with even stripes on both sleeves.

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I really can’t believe this actually worked.

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To make the bottom half of the hoodie navy–after briefly considering screen printing the whole bottom–I wisely bought a navy crew neck sweatshirt and cut it underneath the armholes, I then cut the gray sweatshirt two inches under the armholes to give it more length, (one and a half inches with the seam allowance).

On the chest, I made a simple triangle out of wool felt and stitched it onto the a larger white piece of felt and then sewed it onto the front of the “jersey.”

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This was really a quick and easy project, except for the long drying time of the sleeves.  With the cold weather coming, it looks like I am going to get back on the sewing machine and out of the garage (where we screen print).

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Train-Inspired Screen Print

Josh seems to have finally mastered the art of the two-color screen print (it’s much harder than you’d every imagine)…

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Recognize the logo?

That would be Union Pacific.

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We’ve already talked about why we’re supporting Obama-Biden this year, so we won’t get into that any further (although, if you’re inclined, check out what’s going on over at The Obama Craft Project), but we’re also big fans of trains, and Josh’s dad is a HUGE train aficionado. Huge. He subscribes to train magazines. So, Josh decided that his dad really needed a custom screen-printed Obama-Biden hoodie that was train-inspired, and this was the result.

The challenge was printing the two-color image. Despite that we have a number of screen printing reference books, it’s still very much a trial and error type of situation—one of those old-fashioned “learn by doing” situations. After a lot of trial and error, Josh figured out that he could lay transparencies over each part of the logo, so that red ink wouldn’t encroach on the blue and vice-versa. It worked quite well (although some ink did dry in the screen, which is frustrating), and the colors turned out rich and opaque, thanks again to the Jacquard screen printing ink we like so much.

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Josh also made T-shirts for each of us, but they’re not nearly as awesome at the sweatshirt that’s en route to Ohio. The thick fleece took this large, bold graphic much better than the thin jersey of a T-shirt.

Good thing we mailed it off to Josh’s dad right away, because Josh seemed to be getting a bit attached to it during our “photo shoot.”

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~S & J

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