Friday, December 27, 2013

Ee-i-ee-i-o: Embroidered Sonagrams

The ee-i-ee-i-o dress

For the back story on embroidering sonograms see the post: Embroidered Sound Waves (and Upcycled Shirt Number 13). This current, more ambitious effort involves an upcycled black linen dress found at a local thrift store. The white embroidery on the dress is stitched sonagrams, representing all of the animals on Old MacDonald's Farm (including a llama and a frog). The end result is a versatile, over-size, huiple-style garment suitable for layering in climes that range from chilly to tropical, guaranteed to wow children around the world. In virtually every culture there is a version of an animal sound song.

Layered winter version, left; tropical sun dress version, right.
The How-To:
A. Record your voice singing the animal-sound lines from the song, "Old MacDonald's Farm" in Garage Band or similar music software program. Capture the graphic sonagrams of the soundwaves of the individual animal-related lines by taking screen shots (Command, shift, 4 on the Mac).

Some of the animal sounds (click to enlarge)

B. Adjust size of the sonagrams in a graphic program, print out.
C. Use carbon paper (available in range of colors at any fabric store) to transfer image of sonagram to fabric.

Transferring sonagram to fabric

D. Stitch the traced sonagram pattern.

Traced sonagram: "with an oink oink here, an oink oink there"

Stitch edges first, then fill in.

As I stitched, I drew a little cheat sheet on an index card and now keep that in the dress pocket so that I can remember what the various sonagrams are. My vision involves sitting with a child in Colorado or Chiapas or the Mexico City airport and "singing the dress" with them, going through all of the different animal sounds.

In my studio, wearing the ee-i-ee-i-o dress.

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