by Daughter Fish

As the wife of an artist, I may not fly to the Riviera on our hedge-fund jet or zip around in a Lamborghini (although my man loves him a Countach!), I am constantly delighted by the pictures that come out of Mr. Fish’s (aka Shamus Clisset’s) head and the creativity he’s helped sow and tend in our life together.

Shamus makes super-realistic 3D environments, basically sculpting entire scenes within the computer, then does very large renderings of them and prints them as C-prints. It’s complicated stuff, but the prints are beautiful and I love watching people try to decipher whether they’re paintings, photographs, or Photoshop images (none of the above!).

A couple months back, I was looking at one of Shamus’s pictures and spotted a section I thought would make the coolest fabric. He’d covered a figure and subwoofers in camo made of bear skulls and palm trees.

The print was chaotic and funny, but somehow refined. I’d wanted to make some custom fabric for a while, and had recently been reminded by Ms. Oonaballoona about Spoonflower, a lovely company that custom makes whatever design you want and prints everything at their office in Durham, North Carolina.

Spoonflower’s yardage is a little pricier than I generally spend, but way cheaper than the custom fabric printers I’ve spoken with in NYC. And this was going to be worth the extra clams. Shamus and I immediately got to work tiling a section of the print to upload onto Spoonflower’s website.

Of course, we uploaded the wrong file! But Spoonflower’s customer service helped us correct the mistake, and our two yards came in less than a week. We both thought the interpretation pretty accurate.

Before ordering the fabric, I’d chosen a vintage 60’s shift I thought would be simple enough not to overpower the bear camo. But at the last hour, I decided to try out Colette Patterns’ ubiquitous Sorbetto tank. This pattern has been rocking the home sewing world, and I’ve literally seen over a hundred interpretations on the interwebs. But there’s a reason.

Not only is it a free pattern (sweet!), but it’s super flattering with a slim sillohette and box-pleat at the center. Like others that have tried this pattern, I’m now sold on Collette. Not only are they based on my home turf (Portland, Oregon!), but the pattern instructions were very clear and I finally learned how to properly apply a bias-tape finish. I’m preordering the Collette Sewing Handbook, for technique alone.

[A couple notes on the Sorbetto: My 4”x4” test square printed out at 3.5”X3.5, so I went up a size, and followed Karen’s advice over at Did You Make That? and added a few inches to the bottom of the pattern. I think I could have added a few more inches, as I ended up having to do a pretty narrow hem to keep the shirt long enough to my liking. Otherwise, I love the fit!]

I follow patterns like I follow recipes, with my own loose interpretation (I struggle as a baker!). This shirt may look like a Sorbetto in the front, but….. what’s that there on the back? A gold cape?

No, just a ray of gold acetate (which smells surprisingly of rotten fish tacos when ironed! Lesson learned). I was picking up the gold in another of Shamus’s pictures, which uses the bear scull camo as a background. I wasn’t sure if I should share the picture here, since PG audiences might be offended by the hot gold ta-tas.

We just made the Bear Camo print available on Spoonflower, if any of y’all are interested. I can’t wait to use the rest of this fabric. A skirt? A bag? Perhaps an apron? There might even be a few Christmas gifts in its future!