Slow Processes

solar dyeing

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of solar dyeing.  If you want to see the results, take a look at this post over on my other blog.

It’s a slow process but I’m enjoying it.

Another slow process is this:

applique

It’s a slow story but in short, I used an old,worn out but gorgeous skirt as a pattern and made a very boring denim skirt. After a few wears I added the appliques above to all eight panels.

Since then I’ve used variegated silk thread to highlight and stiffen the hem.  I’m not sure I’ve finished yet.  A few more wears and I might know.

The appliques made me think of Japanese Boro quilts and I’ve now cut up a pile of worn out jeans to make my own version.

Do you keep on “improving” your projects?  I’d love to know.

Thanks for dropping by.

 

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A lot of nature and a bit of sewing

flowersGorgeous aren’t they?

We went to Down House, home of Charles Darwin this weekend.  If you are at all interested in science or nature I really recommend it. I think children would love it too: there’s lots of interactive stuff to explain the theories and the cakes in the tearoom are yummy….

The flowers were just outside his greenhouse / lab.

Darwin's greenhouseThis picture has the “bit of sewing” mentioned in the title. The top was once this dress

After alteringI altered it to this length but I still didn’t wear it; so now it’s a top and I’ve worn it a lot. I also raised the neckline a bit.  I’ve lost a tiny amount of weight and that made the dress gape a bit at the neck.

What is this?Another plant caught my eye but I don’t know what it is. It looks like it’s been painted pink and white.

It was a bit cold yesterday and I had intended to wear this:

1930s dress overdyedThis is my 1930s dress which I’ve now overdyed with Dylon’s French Lavender.  I think it will get a lot more wear now.  Somehow, the white background put me off and it’s such a shame not to wear something you’ve spent hours slaving over. The pink shoes are from Hobbs’ sale a few years ago.

I haven’t been sewing much for myself recently because my little sewing business has started to get busier nad I just haven’t had time. Plenty of plans in my head though.

More Dyeing

Cotton jumper with crochet inserts, hand dyed using Dylon’s Bahama Blue.  I love this colour!

This was the jumper before dyeing.  Nothing really wrong with it, but it didn’t get much wear.

Now it will get lots of wear!

My linen trousers were also hand dyed.

I am still concerned about the ecological damage done by dyeing, but so far I have been unable to find any better method.  Suggestions welome!

To Dye or not to Dye?

Like lots of my other clothes, this skirt was dyed by me. I think dyeing is fun.

The original linen skirt

I did a few other things to get the end result, but I thought it might be interesting to talk about a few of the problems associated with dyeing garments.

The garment may be a natural fibre but often the thread or the lace or binding isn’t.

This top stitching was very visible after dyeing because it doesn’t use natural fibre thread.

I unpicked it and sewed it in a matching thread. As the top stitching had sewed the pocket shut, this was something I needed to do anyway.  Another solution might be to dye something a slightly darker shade than it is already – the stitching doesn’t show up so much.  I liked the contrasting stitching on the waistband so I didn’t change that.

Failure! Machine dyeing a garment is a problem for me.  My lovely turquoise skirt shed colour on the sofa and I couldn’t do anything about it.  I think that’s because my washing machine is computerised and decides on water levels and length of cycle based on the weight of the fabric.  Maybe there wasn’t enough water or time in the washing machine to dye the skirt properly.  I’m pretty sure I followed the instructions….

Felting! Wool garments boiled up on the stove in the dye pot often felt.  Sometimes I want felt, but mostly I try to change the garment some other way.

Shrinkage! Yes, that happenned to me although it is unusual.  It didn’t matter really but I was glad I tried that skirt on again before I cut off six inches.

Zips never dye in my experience; they are always made of pure manmade fibres. If it will be visible and I can’t face replacing it then I don’t waste time on dyeing.

Buttons don’t usually dye either.

Paler result than expected – I’ve often tried to dye more fabric than the instructions recommended.  It often gives an attractive result.  Occasionally the fabric has an unexpected manmade element eg. polyester cotton when I thought it was pure cotton and it too comes out quite pale.  Sometimes thread and trims on a natural fibre garment are a natural and manmade mix.  This can produce lovely results.

The skirt is an odd colour – a red skirt dyed blue will be a shade of purple. I have had a few fun results with my colour combinations.

My hands got dyed! I didn’t put the rubber gloves on from the very start.  I’ve learned my lesson!

Is dyeing eco friendly?  To be honest, I suspect it is not and I worry about that.  It might be better not to dye at all or maybe just use natural dyes.  I am going to look into this so watch this space.

Linen skirt again! 

This was a beige cotton cardigan

Grey linen trousers dyed navy – they become sailor trousers and I wear them a lot

William Morris and Me

Quilt made from William Morris prints.

I love William Morris. Not just the famous prints, but his writings too.  Remember that famous quote?

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” (Hopes and Fears for Art).

I would love to live up to that in my everyday life.

Every so often, I start looking around the house with that saying in mind and getting rid of things.  I don’t get very far. I class as useful things that make me smile, or give me a warm feeling, or at least brighten up an otherwise dull room.  One day I shall do it and my house will be transformed. One day…

Anyway, the Me Made May challenge has really got me thinking about my wardrobe rather than my house. Some pieces I would class as beautiful, but they are usually evening wear and I don’t get to wear them very often.  I need more useful clothes.

Dress form modelling evening clothes.

It’s pretty scarey to see yourself in a photograph everyday. Those trousers are too baggy, that colour is too dull or those pieces don’t go together. Some of my clothes are neither useful nor beautiful so something had to be done – I need more useful clothes.

So, last week it was wide leg trousers to narrow leg:

Me Made May Day 14

This week I’m having a dyeing frenzy.  A grey linen shirt, however beautifully made, just doesn’t look good on me.  So now it’s blue and looking much better.

A “natural” cardigan just doesn’t suit me.  I didn’t make it, but in the right colour it could make some of my me mades look more pulled together. So now it’s terracotta.  When spring really arrives it will be another way of wearing this refashioned skirt.

These pale grey trousers are way too smart for my life; I’ve worn them twice, perhaps three times in a year.

 It’s a pity to put in all that effort and still have nothing to wear, so now they are navy and I’m wearing  them.  Hooray!

Me Made May Day 16

So, I’ve thought about my wardrobe, put in a bit of effort and I’ve got a few more clothes to wear for Me Made May and, I hope, for future months.