Hello everyone, recently I finally got to take proper pictures of a few of the tops that I have sewn, which is exciting to me for two reasons. Firstly because most of the pictures you have seen on the blog so far are taken quite quickly in the back room of the house with poor lighting so they aren’t photos I am particularly proud of or two think that they represent the best of natural dyes. So I took the time to take proper pictures of a few of my favorite shirts and I think they represent natural dyes beautifully and I want to share them with you.
Before I start I just want to share a bit of my sewing and natural dyeing history. Back around seven years ago when my Mom tried to teach me how to sew. Emphasis on the word tried. Back then I understood what to do when sewing but my personal desire to sew was non-existent. Fast forward now to two years ago, I had been introduced to Natural dyeing in February of 2015 and I knew I wanted to dye all the time, 24/7 7 days a week, 365 days a year. But I wanted a way for me to display the dye colours to more than just myself and other craftsman in a show and tell manor. I wanted to take it public. So I thought to myself “hey why don’t I make my own clothing… It can’t be that hard…” (That was the last time I told myself that… now I tell myself… “It CAN be that hard”). So now after that bit of background I will walk you through, as briefly as I can each of the tops I want to share today!
The first shirt is the fall bundle dye shirt. I live this shirt practically. And it fits how I want things to fit! And this is the first garment where I did a hand rolled hem on the chiffon layer and I have to say that I’m pretty proud.
This was the first shirt that I made that I didn’t have a pre-chosen colour palette for. I knew that I was going to do a bundle dye for the skirt since I had a stash of frozen flowers in the freezer. But the rest of the colours were unplanned from the beginning. I also experimented with different mordants and their effects and layering them. The bodice and the top of the chiffon layer have that beautiful purple-grey colour that is a result of layering iron mordant with tannic acid. I love this colour and hope to experiment more with it. Overall I enjoyed making this shirt and all that I learned with the experiments and I enjoy wearing it even more! If you are interested in a more in-depth explanation of how I made and crafted this shirt you can read that here.
For the second shirt I was mainly playing around with different dye applications. I used a sifter to spread logwood powder to look like fireworks going off, I dripped logwood dye for that watery effect for the bodice, I did a soy solution and blackberry bundle dye for the subtle jewel tones on the skirt, and I sparingly rubbed saffron thread into the bodice and the skirt to add bright jewels of yellow to bring the whole thing together.
So far I haven’t made another shirt using these dye techniques the inspiration just hasn’t struck me but nonetheless they are in my memory bank for the future.
The third shirt that I am sharing is the one I made directly after finishing my winter semester in the spring. I have to say that the colours and how well they worked out surprise me. I had the under skirt and the belt planned out but the rest of the shirt was spontaneous and done with problem solving which I wound up using crabapple blossoms to fix entirely. I think it is a great piece for displaying some of my favorite short-lived flowers of the spring.
Something that I find sort of funny because I’ve done things like this before by accident is that the colours wound up matching my duvet cover (which I love a lot) perfectly. This is now the second shirt that I have made that subconsciously matches something that I was interested in specifically when I made it. Case in point, I made this shirt when I had just finished my semester so I was very enthusiastic about catching up on my sleep.
Then the last shirt that I had photographed is another spring flower top. The underskirt and the bodice are both dyed using lilac flowers. However if you look closely at the two different clothes they are similar but the bodice is slightly darker and bluer. That is because I used dark purple lilacs for the bodice and the light purple lilacs for the skirt. And the purple belt and chiffon layer is achieved by alkanet.
That takes us to the end of the proper photos, I hope you enjoyed, and until next time!