Thursday, April 2, 2015

Style Arc Done in Hand Dyed Fabric

Remember this ice dyed fabric from this past winter? Not bad for a wearable muslin!

This is the Lani Woven Tunic from Style Arc.  I was drawn to the nifty lines in is and how that offered many variations with fabric.

  It has a princess seam on one side going down to a hidden pocket.  The other side has a dart.  I don't know that I've ever had a shirt with only one princess seam and then a dart on the other side, but it works on this tunic.

The pocket took some fiddling since the directions were somewhat lacking.  That is the case with all Style Arc patterns, so I am careful to only order what I think I could put together without directions.

On the back you can see the diagonal lines and center back seam.  

This particular tunic was laborious to cut - first because ever piece except the sleeves is cut of a single layer.  That's a lot of cutting.  And then this fabric had me fitting the pattern pieces around the pattern in the fabric to get something that looked polished without regrets.

 It does accomplish that.  Here is another view of the front. I made 2 small changes.  First, I skipped the front and back neck facings and used a bias strip made from the fabric for finishing.  I prefer to wear clothing without those facings flapping about at my neckline. Secondly, added 1 1/2" to the length of the sleeves.

The fabric is a bit lightweight, but still works because of the pattern.  Next time I make this I would like a fabric with a little more drape and weight.
Overall a good fit and a great tunic.  

Happy Creating everyone!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

How to Dye Easter Eggs Masterfully

Aren't these grand?!?  

You can do these also.

They are simple, really.

They need 100% silk.  Ties are often 100% silk.  
So off to the stash of mens ties.  Here they are opened up and ironed.  Any all silk fabric will do.  Have any old scarves no longer in use?

Cut the silk into about 7" x 7" squares.  
Also assemble 7" x 7" cotton squares as well.

Of course you need eggs!  And twist ties.  And a non-reactive pot.

Wrap each egg in one silk square, then layer one cotton square on top and twist tie.

This is a dutch oven that has an enameled interior.  
Add water and 3 Tablespoons of white vinegar.
When the water was added, the eggs actually floated until the fabric got saturated.
Boil 15 minutes.
Let cool with the wrappings on.  After they were mostly cool, I placed them in the fridge just to be sure.  
Later, when they were good and cold, I unwrapped them and this is the result!

The silk transfers to the eggs!

The silk tie eggs have so much more character than these solid ones...found at a local grocer last week.

How do you dye eggs?

Happy Creating Everyone!


Monday, March 2, 2015

Fat Quarter Dress

Can I just say up front that I greatly dislike doing muslins?  For most of the unfitted and easy sewing I like to do, a muslin isn't terribly necessary most of the time.  And since I also match patterns to my personal slopers, that helps minimize the making of muslins also.  

But a wearable muslin - that is a different story!  This wearable muslin is made from some fat quarters I batik dyed!

This is Tessuti's Eva Dress.
Here's a link to purchase and download their pattern. (I don't make anything from this link.)  It is a basic not-too-tight fitting dress with lots of attitude.
What caught my eye was the great shape - it's like a lantern.  And since there are so many different pieces for the skirt, and they fit onto fat quarters, this seemed like a neat way to test the pattern. 
Back view.
There are 4 pieces for each of the front and back.  While cutting this out, I had to lay the pieces in the correct order on the floor so I didn't accidentally cut too many of one thing and not enough of the other.  I cut a size medium as indicated on the pattern for my measurements and sadly it is a bit snug across the chest. 

So I printed out the PDF, again, and put it together, again.  This time I cut one size bigger - the large.  I also lengthened the bodice 1" from the shoulder to armhole, and 1" from armhole to waist.  I also added 1" horizontally to both the upper and lower skirt pieces.  I am 5'10" tall and needed the length!

I plan to salvage the muslin by adding a strip under the arms.  I may need to add a strip at the bottom just for more length.   It's just so stinkin' cute!

So on to the real fabric - a brown linen with black stripes.  

 back view

view with pocket

This dress will be my summer funeral dress.  Yes, you read that right.  I rarely wear dark colors but need something to wear for those somber times.  This will be comfortable and will cover me well.  My legs have a lot of sun damage so I try to minimize showing them as much as possible ever since panty hose went out of style!

Have you tried Tessuti Patterns?  

I'd like to hear which ones and know your thoughts.  They have cute stuff!

Happy Creating everyone!


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Simple Dyeing

I just gotta have color!

After taking an inventory of the fiber reactive (Procion) dyes I already owned, I ordered some new ones from Dharma Trading.  The order was mainly in the blues and purple range, which I was sorely lacking.  

I also tossed all the dyes that were so old they had different packaging from the newer Dharma dyes.  I read somewhere that dyes lose their strength over time.  Probably akin to make-up, but that's a whole different subject...

After the new order, I thought it would be beneficial to sample all the current dyes in my stash.  It's nice to know what you have - really

Here's how I dye.

I tore Pimatex* cotton into 9" x 22" pieces.  This size in quilting circles is known as a fat eighth.  In essence, it is a fat quarter cut in half.  I wanted to use a ratio I could at least attempt to duplicate in the future, so using a common part of a yard was necessary.

*Pimatex is prepared for dyeing and can be purchased through quilting supplies as well as Dharma and other vendors online.   

I use small pint sized plastic containers with lids - one per color.  As you can see here, I have selected the colors for dyeing and placed them in the containers.  That's just for sorting purposes.  In the left corner of the photo you can also see the fat eighth.  On it is written the color name and number in black sharpie.  Sharpie does not wash out and this is one case where that is a good thing!

I place the fabric in it's corresponding container and line them up with the dyes directly in front of each container.  

Then I pour enough soda ash solution over each piece of fabric to soak it.  The soda ash is mixed at 1/3 c per gallon of water.   This soaks for 20 minutes or so.

Next I put a funnel to the soda ash bottle and start the faucet running with warm water.

In a glass ball jar, I pour in 1 cup water.  To that jar, I add 1/2 teaspoon of the dye corresponding to the color name on the fabric.  

These particular colors are all dyed with 1/2 t dye to 1 cup warm water.

Those little particles can get into your lungs and it's not good.  Gloves are necessary as well. 

Also, you can see the towel above as it catches excess dye.  What you can't see is that it is damp.  The dampness draws the dye to it like a magnet. 

Pour the soda ash back into the jug and squeeze the fabric slightly so that it is still quite drippy.  Do NOT rinse.  Put the fabric back into it's container and pour the newly mixed dye into it.  

If you want nice even dyes, fuss with the fabric quite a bit.  I just make sure it's all been colored but like that some of the fabric sits above the dye.  That way I get a wider range of color - light to dark - without having to mix and dye multiple samples.

Put the lid on the container and set aside.  Repeat this with all the colors you want to dye.  

Here they are!  You can see that by putting the lids on it captures the heat from the warm fabric and has created a little fog on the containers.  Warm water is good, hot will make the dye process too fast.  

Leave this for about an hour.
Yes, it only takes about an hour.

After the hour, dump the container and the dye down the drain and squeeze the fabric to keep it from dripping.  Set in washer.  

Notice I did not mention rinsing?!?  It's really overrated.
I don't bother.
This is why I dye similar colors together - just in case.  Although, I've not had an issue yet.

Here all the little fabric wads are ready for their wash in regular detergent.  I do a vinegar rinse, but I do that with every load that goes through my washer anyway.  No synthrapol, no urea, no other chemicals used.  

 Throw in the dryer and viola!  

This is the basic method I use to dye all the time.  Soak in soda ash solution, remove from solution, add dye, sit for an hour, remove from dye, put in washer, then put in dryer.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Ice Ice Baby

I somehow heard about idea of snow dyeing.  Sounded interesting, except we haven't seen significant, reliable snow in years here in Middle Tennessee.  So when I recently figured out you can ice dye...well, that can happen as often as my ice-maker lets me
I had this lemon yellow fabric I'd dyed previously.  It was a bit too lemon for me to use as clothing.  So I figured this was a good project for the attempt with ice.  I had 3 yards of fabric, which I tore in half, giving me 2 - 1&1/2 yard pieces to work with.  

The first fabric I just scrunched up on a grate (borrowed from my papermaking supplies) propped up on plastic dixie cups in an old kitty litter pan (also from papermaking).  

After scrunching the fabric, ice is put on top, then powdered dye.   I chose turquoise, navy, chartreuse, and cerulean.  Keeping it in the blue/yellows I figured I'd get some nice greens for the final piece.  If I'd added reds or purples, I would have mud for sure.

 Here is a photo about 12 hours in.  Only 12 more to go!  You can see that it is less than lovely at this point.  

After 24 hours, remove the plastic, throw in the washer, and wash in a regular cycle.

It turned out quite nicely! The photograph flattened the colors somewhat and I tried to adjust...just know in real life there are many variations from yellow to green to blue.
 Because of the physical properties of the ice, the dye takes on those characteristics as the ice slowly melts depositing the color onto the fabric in crystalline shapes. 
 Here you can see where the dye separated into it's component colors.  Probably the navy.

On to the other half of too lemon yellow fabric!

I had begun tying up the fabric with yogurt containers after seeing this blog post by Carol Eaton.  I had to wait about a week for my mother to eat enough yogurt to tie up the whole 1&1/2 yards. 

Again, I chose to stay in the blue range and used turquoise, chartreuse, navy, and cerulean.

 Giant flowers!  

The pattern is pretty nifty.  I think my "flowers" are more defined since I used ice instead of snow.  I also dyed this piece with the yogurt containers down.  
Here you can see one flower center with the pattern where it was resting directly on the grate.  

I think this has some tremendous potential for spring blouse fabric.  And I'm already thinking about colors in the red & pink family for the next one.

Stay tuned!

Happy Creating everyone!