Science for the Masses: Looking Glass Leggings

Hippocampal Pyramidal Neuron w:o key

Large pyramidal neuron from rat hippocampus (the memory center of the brain!)

I want everyone to see how cool science can be. I want them to see how beautiful a cell can be if you let it.

When I tell people that I work with brains, half the time they get excited and ask me more. The other half of the time, however, they get a look of discomfort on their face and think that what I do is “icky.” So I went on a search for ways to show people that what I do and what I look at is actually quite beautiful.

I took a course in college on scanning electron microscopy (SEM), something I highly suggest looking up, because if there is anything that can make tiny things look beautiful, it’s SEM. I decided to take photos of the brain cells and spinal cord of a rat (that’s right, a rat).

These photos are what came from that class:

Through colorizing them and patterning them in different ways, I turned them into this fabric:

IMG_6600

 

And then turned them into these leggings:

My goal with these leggings is to both inspire people to add a little science into their life and wardrobe as well as ignite curiosity surrounding the items in the photos. I want people to look up what the heck a neurite is, what the hippocampus is for, and what is so special about cerebellar granule neurons.

If you need a little bit of science in your life, you can find Plaidypus Looking Glass Leggings in the “Leggings” section of our Etsy store, or at Wadoo Gifts in Fort Collins, CO. And remember, science is cool. Even rat brains.

New Leggings Line!

scanning electron microscopy lily pollen leggings plaidypus fashion

I’m really excited to introduce our new line of leggings! They’re still being tweaked for sizing, but will be up on my Etsy shop and in Wadoo by May.

‘So what’s so exciting about these leggings?’ you may ask. I’m glad you asked. You see, there is a panel of interesting fabric scanning electron microscope lily pollen leggings teal blue plaidypus fashionrunning down the side of the tights. And this fabric was designed by yours truly based on scanning electron microscope images*. The images I have printed on fabric so far are of lily pollen and a rat’s spinal cord, but expect to be getting in more designs soon of rat cerebellar neurons (used in movement) and rat hippocampal neurons (the hippocampus is a part of the brain’s memory system).

Here’s the first prototype that I made for a good friend of mine as a birthday present (she’s the adorable one with the matching blue hair):

IMG_3388 scanning electron microscope lily pollen plaidypus design leggings

The panel down the side of this prototype is a lily pollen image that has been mirrored to create the diamond pattern and then falsely colored.

Here are the other colors I’ve printed so far (the same lily pollen image in magenta, the teal lily pollen, and a rat spinal cord in browns/oranges):

scanning electron microscopy magenta lily pollen leggings plaidypus design scanning electron microscope lily pollen and rat spinal cord plaidypus

And here are the designs I’m expecting to get in during the month of April (the first one is cerebellar neurons and the second one is hippocamal pyramidal neurons):

yellow cerebellar granule cells neurons scanning electron microscopy plaidypus designblack and white hippocampal pyramidal neuron scanning electron microscopy plaidypus

Keep your eyes peeled for more information on these guys. I’m going to try to finish prototypes this week and get a draft of packaging done so I can start making them for sale.

*Scanning electron microscopy is really cool, and if you want to see some other images using this technology, I highly suggest doing a Google Image search of “scanning electron microscopy”. There are some especially pretty photos of snowflakes and bacteria.

Using those old T-shirts: 7 Websites with Fabulous Tutorials and Inspiration to Help You Use That T-Shirt Stash

Pile of t-shirts

T-shirts are my favorite source of fabric. They’re colorful. They have patterns on them sometimes. They’re inexpensive. They’re plentiful and easy to find. They’re stretchy. And they don’t fray. That’s right, they’re practically magic. They’re great for clothing and quilts and accessories galore. If you’re more of a book kind of person, then check out the t-shirt books referenced in my previous blog post, 6 Books for Recycled/Upcycled Clothing and Accessory Patterns.

Sometimes I’m more of a website, girl, though. My poor bookshelf already bows down in the middle of every shelf. So the whole every-pattern-you-could-ever-want-is-on-the-web fact is one I love. All you have to do is type into Google whatever you want to look for and a million (most likely more) results will pop up for you to sift through.

I sifted through a few pages looking specifically at patterns and ideas that use old t-shirts, and found these for you. They’re all pages with bulk t-shirt ideas. Maybe I’ll come through and make another post with more specific projects.

1. Personal Creations

Toggle Bolero White T-shirt Upcycle PatternThis is a great website because it not only tells you what the item is and where to find the pattern, but also gives you a photo of the item! You can go through and find something you want to make and know what it will actually look like instead of hoping it’s nice when you get to the second linked page.

My inspiration from this website is the Bolero Pattern they show. Definitely going to have to make this one. The website they have this pattern on, by the way, also has some other fun ways to fashion a boring t-shirt.

2. Saved by Love Creations

Apron made from recycled/upcycled t-shirt by Ruffles and StuffAnother big bunch of t-shirt projects rolled into one page. There are so many to choose from! This site also puts photos next to all the titles and links.

My favorite one from this is the T-shirt Apron. It looks easy. And I’ve been needing an apron for a while now. maybe it’s time to actually make myself one!

3. Infarrantly Creative

recycled/upcycled ruffled front t-shirt topFirst of all, I had to look up the word “infarrantly.” Fun fact: it’s not a real word. Here’s what the site says:

“What is an Infarrantly?   Haha!   One of the #1 hits I get from my site from Google searches is “definition of infarrantly”.   Since I made the word up I suppose only I can give you the definition.   My last name is Farrant and I was playing on the word “inherently” which means something intrinsic, innate, basically born in me.   So I am inherently creative…infarrantly creative.   Get it? Smile

Now you know.

There are some great ideas for kid’s clothing and accessories on here as well as for adults. My fave from this site is the Ruffle Front Top.

4. Buzzfeed (that’s right, they have more than just quizzes and funny pictures)

Recycled/Upcycled t-shirt tunic/dress with cinched waist from large t-shirtI was surprised to see Buzzfeed had this cool of a post. But it did. I haven’t tried all the links, but it looks like at least some of them are tutorials. Some might just be a pretty picture. Which, by the way, is also helpful for inspirational purposes.

If you’ve clicked through all of these that I’ve posted you’ll start to see some repeats at this point. Pay no mind to those. They’ll happen if you hang out on the internet for more than an hour (if you’re like me and you’re searching for the perfect pattern, you’ve already been on the internet for at least that long.)

The thing I’m definitely going  to have to make here (and then see if it actually looks good on me) is the T-Shirt Dress with Cinched Waist.

5. Trash to Couture

Okay, not all of these are from old t-shirts. So sue me. They’re all recycled/upcycled basket woven t-shirt pattern/tutorialREALLY cool patterns, though. There are links and how-tos and everything. Some of them look pretty simple. Some look hard, but cool (maybe they aren’t hard. Maybe I’m just convinced that if there’s an intricate-looking pattern on something it’s difficult. You’ll have to try it and let me know).

I was really digging the Basket Woven Shirt idea they had going on. I put it on my long list of things to make.

6. Of Dreams and Seams

Of Dreams and Seams refashioned/recycled/upcycled t-shirt dressThis woman is amazing. Again, not everything she writes about is made out of t-shirts. But dang, this woman knows how to upcycle old clothing and make fabulous new clothing.

She does use a lot of t-shirts, though! Like this dress made from 3 old t-shirts. But there are also other cool things. Just click through her blog. I promise it’s worth it.

 

 

 

7. Julie Ann Art

Here are some cute accessory ideas for your old t-shirts. Some of them only need scraps. Which is good because you will end up with so many scraps from all the other patterns you’ve alrrecycled/upcycled t-shirt bow eady done from this post, right?

I’ve already decided I’m going to make this cute T-shirt Bow and put it on a headband. Or maybe as an appliqué for another t-shirt. I’ll figure out why I’m making it after I’ve made it.

6 Books for Recycled/Upcycled Clothing and Accessory Patterns

Making your own clothing and accessories is fun. Well, I think it’s fun, at least. If you are like me, then you probably hunt the internet and bookstores for projects you can create using your old t-shirts or jeans.

They’re great not only for the patterns but for the inspiration you can find. Some of the things Plaidypus sells were based off things found in books like these or on websites (someone remind me to do a post on websites…) So here are some of my favorites. You can find them pretty easily on Amazon.com, but I linked them for your convenience.

1. Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt

This is one of the first sewing books I bought. It looked like fun and I had a lot of old t-shirts and all the patterns looked really interesting. Still one of my favorites. You can freshen up old t-shirts or turn them into something completely different with the patterns in here, and they’re all pretty easy, too.

2. Generation T: Beyond Fashion: 120 New Ways to Transform a T-Shirt

I liked the first one so much, that when I saw they had just come out with a second book, I bought it immediately without even having to look inside. Was not disappointed. It’s more fun clothing and accessories.

3. Jean Therapy: Denim Deconstruction for the Conscientious Crafter

This one has some patterns as well as photos of more intricate ideas that they don’t give you instructions for but that might help inspire you to go further with the old denim. It’s nice because they tell you how many pairs of jeans probably go into the different patterns. I’ve used the patterns in this book directly, as well as tweaked the patterns for my own purposes.

4. 99 Ways to Cut, Sew & Deck Out Your Denim

There are options for everyone in a book like this. With 99 patterns, you’re hard-pressed to not find something to your taste. I haven’t gotten to explore this one as much (hey, there are a lot of patterns to look at!) but from skimming through it looks pretty awesome.

5. The Sweater Chop Shop

I like to use wool. You see, you can felt wool and it doesn’t fray. And I like fabrics that don’t fray, so I use felted wool a lot. Wool sweaters are a great source of material, because you can find them in your local thrift store pretty easily (check the tags to make sure they’re at least 80% wool if you’re going to felt it).

6. Sweater Surgery

This one has more accessories whereas the Sweater Chop Shop has a lot of clothing that you can make. So if you want smaller things, this one might be your best bet. It’s got some cute clothing patterns and ideas in it, too, though.