Inspiration: where does it come from? That’s one of the most asked questions of designers and artists.
The answer is complicated and breathtakingly simple: inspiration is right in front of us. It comes to us over the airwaves, through the endless streams of data we consume, and is found on deserted street corners.
The exploding zero graphic above (on the left-hand side) landed on my desktop sometime last year and made us think about exploding our own preconceptions and also about the number zero—the number of infinite possibilities.
This manipulation of type that inspired our entire team was created by Jack Crossing. Design on paper translated to fabric, thread, beads, and sequins.
DIY Exploding Zero T-shirt is shown here with our sarong (simply a 36” x 72” rectangle of lightweight cotton jersey fabric cut lengthwise with the grain) and Natalie’s vintage Helmut Lang shoes (in pink) circa Spring/Summer 2000.
Make your own exploding zero project following the instructions below, or purchase our t-shirt DIY Kit from The School of Making.
DIY Exploding Zero T-shirt Kit
Or, if you prefer to cut your own t-shirt without a prepared kit, you will need 1 yard of cotton jersey fabric for a single-layer shirt or 2 yards for a double-layer shirt, plus the Zero Placement stencil.
Choose your style of embroidery or embellishment. The Zero stencil lends itself easily to any version of appliqué, reverse appliqué, or beading. Once you have selected your treatment, transfer the design to your fabric using your stencil transfer method of choice and complete the embroidery according to your design choices.
Here, we opted to embroider using the reverse appliqué technique. We created the “exploding” effect using beading and sequins that gently fade from full beading to half-beading. See Armor Beading on page 77 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design to create a similar effect.
Once your embellishment is complete, follow the instructions for our T-Shirt Top, found on page 48 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.
OUR DESIGN CHOICES
Fabric weight – 100% organic medium-weight organic cotton jersey
Fabric color for outer layer – Black
Fabric color for inner layer – White
Button Craft thread – Black #2 and White #1
Textile paint color – White Gold (a mixture of white and gold)
Bead type – Chop beads and bugle beads
Bead color – Silver
Sequins – Silver
Stencil – 5” Zero Placement
Knots – Inside
Seams – Inside Felled
Binding stitch – Cretan
P.S.: Thank you to Jack Crossing for design talent, general badassery, and for agreeing to share this image with us. We owe you a shirt Jack.