Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Light at the end of the tunnel

Melissa at Melly Sews and Stacy at Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy are hosting a series called Sew In Tune.  The premise is that they take turns with a lot of other bloggers designing clothes (mostly kid clothes) inspired by songs.

It is a fun little series and they come up with some fun and wild outfits.  I (Major Moma) thought I would play along and I made a shirt for my youngest. 

First the song:  Tunnel, by Third Day.

Third Day has been one of my favorite bands since I was in high school so many of their songs remind me of periods in my life.  This particular song is very meaningful for me as it helped lift my spirits during a trying time.

I was listening to this album when I was studying for the bar exam.  I don't know how familiar you are with this test, but to become a lawyer, after you graduate law school, you have to take the world's worst test.  In Washington State it is two and 1/2 days of essays.  (By the end of it, I could not move my hand because it cramped from so much writing.)  I studied for for eight weeks.  The first 5 weeks I studied literally 12 hours a day.  Then, to keep from burning out, I went to eight hours a day.  And this was hard core studying.  I was memorizing law, taking practice tests, and trying to solidify everything I had been taught over the past three years.

I also was living away from home during all of this.  My husband and toddler were living in Virginia while I had to study in Washington.  This was a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because I was better able to focus on my studies without other responsibilities.  A curse because I did not have them.  I missed them both terribly and I really could have used a hug or two during these long days.

The chorus really held a lot of meaning to me then, and still is encouraging today as I meet new challenges.

There's a light at the end of this tunnel
There's a light at the end of this tunnel for you, for you
And there's a light at the end of this tunnel
Shining bright at the end of this tunnel for you, for you
So keep holding on

Now for the Shirt:

The fabric is a medium weight sweater knit with some, but not a lot of stretch. (it is on sale right now and really is a great deal)  What I also thought was fun is that the back side is different, but just as cool looking as the front.  I took advantage of this and reversed it for the sleeves and the collar.
We are starting potty training and hand stamps are the reward for sitting. So that is why she has ink everywhere.

I modified a couple basic patterns and created this double collar long sleeve henley.  Yes, it has two collars.  (I am trying to be creative ... I don't think I will do it again.)  One is a rectangle and the second is a large peter pan collar.

The trains are driving in and out of the tunnel!
appliqueIt is the applique that ties it in with the song.  I wanted to make a train tunnel.  I used a coloring book image of a train tunnel and used it as a template to cut some denim into the right shape.  I reversed the denim on parts of the arch to create more depth to the image.

I then used embroidery thread and sewed the bricks, grass, and other detailing lines.
Finally, I wanted to add a light in the tunnel.  For this, I tried a technique I had heard about a few years back that several quilters who "thread paint" use.  I took scrap embroidery thread and balled it up on the fabric.  (I put a scrap of interfacing on the back of the fabric where I was placing the thread.  I placed a little bit a glue stick glue there to help it bunch up and stick a bit.  Then, I threaded my machine with the same color embroidery thread.  I changed the foot to a free motion embroidery foot and let down the feed dogs.
This allowed me to move the fabric in tight little circles, carefully keeping my ball of threads all balled up while I tacked them down with my circles. In the end, my threads created a 3-D effect of a light.
Unlike the double collar, I really like how the thread painting turned out.  I will do that again.
Isa loves trains, so when I explained that it was a train tunnel on her shirt, she was very excited.  And since she is a girl and trains (for some odd reason) are often a 'boy thing', I added the lace to girly it up a bit.  She wears her brother's hand-me-downs all the time, but since this was made for her, I thought it would be nice if it was distinctly a girl's shirt.
So there it is.  I like this shirt because it reminds me that even during difficult times, there is hope.  And she likes this shirt because  it is associated with trains. applique

And hopefully, if you are feeling discouraged or overwhelmed, you also can gain hope.

You got your disappointments and sorrows
I'm gonna try and give a little hope to you

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