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We really love the sweaters above, with the most adorable French sayings like "mon chéri" and "bonjour" -and because they're ever so popular, and always selling out. It feels nearly impossible to get our hands on one, especially to get one and give it as a gift! Most times, the prices on these sweaters are also way out of our budget. So today we're going to share with you how to make your own French saying sweatshirt! It's super easy, affordable, and you can make a few of these in just a few hours if you want to give them as gifts! Make sure that you stock up on a few of the fabric paint markers if you're going to be making more than one sweater! They can go pretty quick, because for the best effect you'll want at least two coats. We used the Uchida DecoFabric Marker, which you can find at craft stores like Michael's or JoAnn's. Be sure to check out their sites and weekly ads for coupons. Most times you can get anywhere from 30% to 50% off on these babies! :)
We chose to use "bonjour" which means "hello" in French. If you choose to use a dark sweatshirt like we did, make sure that you get the fabric paint pen that is suitable for light AND dark fabrics. We bought the black Hanes fleece crew sweatshirt at Walmart in the boys section for about $5.50! The sizes go from XS to 2XL, and we got a 2XL and it fit comfortably with room to spare for layering. Make sure that you consider shrinkage, since it's best to pre-wash and dry the sweatshirts before doing any kind of painting on it, and you'll want to throw it back in the dryer for a bit to heat set it. There are always great sales on fleece sweatshirts this time of year, so keep your eye out for them!
Place your cardboard piece inside the sweatshirt, underneath the fabric, to help prevent the fabric paint marker from bleeding through. We just used a large cereal box.
Now here is where you'll use the white chalk to write out your saying. Note that we didn't use a stencil to get the "perfect" font. We felt a natural script or cursive would make the saying on the sweater look more personal, so Jess just free-handed it when she wrote out "bonjour" - really, it doesn't have to be perfect! We also found that writing in script or cursive is the easiest. Take your time, practicing until you like the positioning, how large or how small you want it to look, and if you mess up, relax. It's just chalk! Use a slightly damp (not wet) paper towel to wipe it off and start all over until you get it to look the way you want it to. It took us a few tries to figure out how we wanted to position it and how large we wanted the letters.
Now get your fabric paint marker ready to go! Give it a good shake, and use a paper plate or some paper towels to test the paint flow from the tip of the marker before you take it to the sweatshirt! In this case, paint blots are not pretty!
Allow the paint to dry after one coat. Go back and trace a second coat, and allow it to dry flat for about 4 hours. After drying, turn the sweatshirt inside out and toss it in the dryer for about 15-20 minutes to heat-set it! You can also wait about 24 hours, toss it in the wash (cold wash, cold rinse), and dry it again if you'd like! The chalk washes right off and you won't even see it.
And there you have it folks! A "bonjour" sweatshirt! You really can't beat this unique sweater, and it's handmade! It makes such a fabulous gift! Perfect for pairing with a collared shirt and a statement necklace, or with boyfriend jeans and ballet flats. We hope you enjoy making this for yourself and for gifts as much as we did! We're pretty excited to make mini versions of this sweatshirt for our littles. :)