Sewing

In my last post I mentioned that I am making another shirt. You’d think I’d have enough shirts already but no I do not. Also shirts are something that you will always need to wear before leaving the house. Although looking at some current “fashion” it seems to be almost optional… But I am not that person I like to leave the house clothed. And next after this shirt next on my list is a new winter coat like I already mentioned.

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(I have no witty caption for this picture… I just liked how distorted the Marshall kitty looked in this picture)

So this shirt was again a variation of the last two shirts that I made. And I have to say I am impressing myself with the ease in which I can make this pattern now. I believe I assembled this shirt (post dyeing and cutting) in three days. The first day I did the bodice (belt included), second day attached the skirt, zipper, and finished the inside seams, and on the third day it was hemming the shirt.

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I think I need to move onto a different pattern after this shirt. I’m thinking something that plays with layers…

Moving on so as you may know I have been working on a winter coat (it may not be done in time for this season we shall see about that). So the last time I mentioned it I had only gotten the fabric and since then I have acquired the pattern,bought the buttons and have dyed the wool and assembled the main body of the coat (I still need to get the lining but finding real kasha lining is proving to be a challenge.Especially since I’m looking for the cotton-acetate blend opposed to the shady polyester-cotton blend. Just a warning the kind you want is the cotton-acetate. And lining the coat is the next step so I’m stuck).

Initially I did two test swatches with two different colours. Lac dye (with alum) and black bean. I went back and fourth between the two quite a lot as a pale blue coat is a really nice colour but not all that practical especially since black bean dye does fade into a more silvery colour. Whereas a lac dyed coat would be more of a practical and wintery colour but I was not entirely convinced that a warmed toned coat was right for me.. So I opted for the black bean dyed coat and decided to have a burgundy lining.

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(the swatches)

For the pattern I did buy one. That’s a first. I did make a few alterations though (of course) which involved re-shaping the collar and adjusting the size. The initial collar for the pattern I was using had notched which I didn’t want. And the other collar included in the pattern was too wide so I thinned it out and made it into a sailor collar. I’m hoping that will reduce the severe hair knots that are the result of wearing a hooded coat. I also changed the pattern from a double-breasted coast to a single-breasted coat.

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These are the shell buttons I chose. I really like the sheen they have. I debated getting a more blue toned shell button but then I thought these would stand out more (especially since the coat is rather plain). Also when looking at other things that I have dyed with black beans have faded to a more silvery colour and I thought these buttons would match that colour if the wool would fade to that colour.

I’m going to talk about the dyeing process for a moment. So I dyed roughly over two metres of fabric. And considering that it is wool coating it does have a significant weight to it so I knew that I would have to prepare a bigger dye bath than normal (not to mention that I knew that I would have to avoid using heat otherwise the wool would shrink too much)… So I used a storage container for the dyeing process.

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(And I put it in the bathtub to reduce the amount of mess)

So I started with three big bags of dried black beans, put them in some containers covered them with water and let them soak overnight. The next day I started off with soaking my wool for a couple of hours in cold water  so that the fibres would absorb the colour more evenly. After I soaked the fabric I drain off most of that water and put in my strained black bean dye. So it looked something like this:

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(I had to hold the fabric down with a couple of filled gallon jugs.)

The next morning I came back and observed the colour and evenness. Decided that I liked what I saw so I took my fabric out.

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Because wool felts I couldn’t just wring out my fabric like usual. I took it out of the dye bath let most of the heavy liquid drip off then I blotted the fabric with some old towels to get the rest of the excess moisture out then hung it up to dry.

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I didn’t use a mordant for two reasons. One I didn’t want to use the amount of mordant needed for this weight of fabric (especially since my wallet is hurting after buying this fabric. All I can say is that this coat better last ten years). And two because I’m not sure I want this colour to be permanent…

After that I assembled the coat to this point:

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And will have to wait to finish it as I still do not have the lining and I can’t work on it until I receive it. I just hope it gets here before winters over…

And on a last note I leave you with my natural dye journal that I assembled over my break:

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I didn’t have one before despite knowing that I should have one. For me it is mainly a visual satisfaction and an easier way to keep track of the different samples. For me it isn’t so much about the processes that I used as they are also all virtually the same and/or I remember what I did (so far… We will see if I remember in five years). Also it is a good visual to share with other people.
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That is all for now, until next time!

P.s Happy Belated New Year!

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