(My box of dyeable fabric)
Oh my, I am now realizing that I have not updated this blog in over a month… And it’s not because I haven’t been experimenting or just sitting around on my tush. Quite the opposite actually. I’ve been dyeing, sewing, gardening, mordanting, being picky about fabric, and crafting new ideas for new projects. Oi vey you can see I’ve been busy. Now where to start explaining what happened within those activities… I guess I will just break down each one briefly.
For the dyeing I had many failures during the month of June, near the end I started to have successes… To kick off I should say my failures started at the end of may. Examples being:
(Lilies of the valley and Lilac’s both needed pre mordanting, which did not happen when I tried them)
(These blue flowers were not a failure just because of the lack of a mordant but also because they gave me this turquoise colour and then within 30 minutes went yellow.)
For many of my flower experiments I had collected the petals off of the drooping blossoms and froze them.
(My frozen flowers)
This keeps them relatively fresh for a certain amount of time and preserves the colour. But the trick its know when to boil and when not to boil the dye… I have to admit that I began hoarding the petals in the freezer because I was partially terrified of messing up my dye bath… I am making a list of the do’s and don’ts for next summer. For example, if you freeze flowers you can boil them if they have been frozen within 3 weeks roughly but if they have been in the freezer for over three weeks it is best to soak them in water and let the colour be drawn out that way. Which means NO HEAT AND IF YOU DO HEAT THEM YOUR COLOUR WILL SPOIL!!!! I learned this the hard way… and from multiple petal varieties.
(Fern Peonies and collating Sample, it’s more of a pinky-purple colour in person.)
I did two Fern Peony dye baths, one within two weeks of when I had a reasonable number of blossoms and the other after having them in the freezer for over a month. The first one worked the other went yellow when I boiled it after when they thawed in the water (room temperature) and they had released the colour on their own… This and other experiments help prove my point of address the week appropriately.
A tip for irises is to NOT boil them, just simmer them.
(I boiled these irises so they went cloudy and pale.Whoops.)
At the Beginning of June I finally ordered a mordanting pot and mordant. Only the Mordant arrived in the beginning half of June and the pot arrived in the last week of June….
(the pot and mordant in question. Along with the Alkenet dye that I also ordered)
So this resulted in not very many samples working out because I was not prepared with pre mordanted fabric… Again a not for next year HAVE TONS OF PRE MORDANTED FABRIC!!!
(The mordanting process)
I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m yelling… I’m just capitalizing to highlight the important parts so that I don’t goof up next year or the rest of this year…
On to sewing… Okay where to begin. I guess I will say that I think that ladies fashion today is atrocious and I don’t have a body shape that looks good in those potato sacks they make and try sell and market as shirts. I lost it when I was in a store that I had shopped at for years, Anthropologie, and the difference between an XS and L was only two inches of the bottom hem. Really? Talk about vanity sizing… I couldn’t take it anymore this drove me crazy because I like my clothes to fit. I won’t even mention the poor fabrication quality. Anyways this drove me to decide to start making my own clothes. Or shirts at least… For now. Before this manufacturing flaw set me off I became enthralled by Haute Couture fashion when my Mom sent me a link to the making of the Chanel Spring – Summer Haute Couture 2015 collection (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cDhTzoMj_s&index=11&list=LL4GycLvsvaO7A3lvYsBiD4g).
(Making of Channel Spring – Summer Haute Couture 2015 Collection shot)
This captivated me because of the meticulous handicraft that is put into the production. After seeing this I started looking into other designers like Galliano when he used to design for Dior (despite the reasoning for his downfall his designs were killer, especially the Dior 2010 Ready-to-wear collection… That was amazing!). I think my fascination is more to do with the quality and production of the pieces and collections, as I appreciate fine needle craft, especially tambour embroidery. On a side note I just ordered a tambour hoop and needle and am excited to start learning how make beautiful beaded, sequined, feathered embroidery!
Fabrics are not what they used to be before the industrial revolution or even 30 years ago and that drives me crazy. Also it is in my personal opinion that many people who sew have awful taste in fabric. An example, there is a “Couture” fashion school in the city that I live in… and out of curiosity I looked it up and looked at a few pictures of the end products the students had made… I was in complete shock. The items that had been made and modelled by the students were hideous. You could see that the fabrics they had used were cheap polyester prints that had maybe cost four dollars a meter. If I am going to be making myself clothing I would be spending some money on the fabric because the pros of nice fabric outweigh the negatives. The pros: you will want to wear what you made, it will last longer, and you will get compliments on it. The cons: you might be out of a few dollars. But remember time is money! So cheap fabric and say 20+ hours of labour for a year or nice fabric 20+ hours of labour and 5+ years of wear… The choice is yours. Anyways this is my long round about way to say that I also ordered several yards of some white cotton-silk sateen from B&J’s fabric in New York.
(The fabric in question)
I love this fabric, I bought some around five years ago for a dress, it looks like silk but sews like cotton which is awesome in my opinion! Also I can dye it! Double win! This is the main fabric for the shirt that I am working on now, which is the first fabric I have mordanted on my own and dyed with the intentions of a shirt as a final product (I will do a post all about this because it was not what I expected).
As for my newest project I won’t go into too many details now. I will just say it involves the Edwardian era which I have been once again completely fascinated by and will take place over the whole month of August. I may open up more about this in September, depending on how it goes.
(My cat sleeping next to a steam bundle sample that I tried and was one of my more successful samples.)