My adventures in pregnancy, motherhood and beyond

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Maternity Calendar Shirt

I have had so many people ask me where I got the shirt I use in my weekly photos, and I've decided to write up a post about the DIY I followed and the tips and tricks I learned (by making mistakes). If you love the shirt, but aren't a DIY person, do not fear! The original creator has the shirt available for purchase here.

First of all, credit for the idea goes to Miranda of One Little Minute, and was posted at DIY Maternity. I basically used her tutorial, but I changed a few things and there are some other things I would change if/when I make another one.

I'm not going to go through her tutorial; it's fantastic and thorough and that's why I linked to it. But I will share the things I learned:

1) Buy a NICE shirt that will last you the pregnancy. The ruched side Target shirt I got looked great until I hit the third trimester. Now it is unflattering, and requires a cami underneath it (because it shows my belly and because it's so thin). I wish I had invested in a Pea in the Pod ruched side shirt--the two I have I'm absolutely in love with.

2) I am not a fan of puffy (dimensional) paint, so I chose to use Tulip's matte fabric paint. Black for the numbers and crimson to cross off the weeks.

3) Since you'll be tracing onto the freezer paper, conserve trees and print the numbers double-sided with one space between them.

4) Turn on a movie or a few tv shows and curl up with your freezer paper, a fine tip sharpie and your exacto knife (I bought a hobby knife specifically for this). It'll take a few hours to trace and cut out everything. Remember to keep the little pieces from the 4, 6, 8, 9 and 0's--you'll have to iron these into place too!

5) Carefully place your stencil before ironing. I wish I had measured and centered it perfectly. A little OCD? Yes, but the fact that it's off centre drives me NUTS.

6) Place something between the two layers of your shirt, unless you want to paint the layers together, like I did the first time. (This also applies for each week you cross off! Even a plastic bag works!)

7) I used a sponge brush and sponged on a coat of the black over the stencil. I had an issue with brush strokes pulling up the stencil on my first shirt and learned that daubing the paint onto the fabric worked best for me. DO TWO COATS!! I ran out and am impatient, so mine's a bit light and faded now.

8) DO NOT IRON THE PAINT. I know the original tutorial says to, but this is how I ruined the first shirt (and almost ruined the iron). Read the instructions on your paint to see if it needs any special setting technique and follow those instructions. I ended up with melted paint smeared all over the shirt.

9) I am a bit of a perfectionist, and not skilled enough with a sponge brush to pull off decent-looking cross-marks. I have a brush whose bristles are glued together (it's my glue brush!) that makes a nice, fine line that I use to cross out the numbers.

10) Wash the shirt inside out to prevent as much fading as possible. Mine's faded pretty noticeably by now, at least up close and in person, but since the cut is no longer flattering on me, I don't wear the shirt except for the photos.

11) Cover your work area! Somehow, fabric paint (both red and black) ended up on one of our brand new dining chairs and on the rear of a pair of James' shorts, both of which are khaki. I don't know how since I don't think he was even home when I was working on it, and it's not a huge deal since I figure the impending child will cause many more messes, but still--take precautions, no matter how careful you think you are.

One last note: Please remember that this is for personal use only--you cannot make and sell this shirt. That would be WRONG and STEALING from her. So don't do it. Check out the disclaimer at the bottom of the tutorial for the legal wording. (In fact, I asked permission to even link before I posted this). Now, happy crafting!

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