Crab Apple Dyeing: Part 3.

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I was tired of the remaining dye bath sitting about. I nearly threw it out without further use, but then I thought of something to do with it. I still had the white merino rib jersey left over from the Paua Inspired Cardi . I didn’t want to use it white, so I skimmed and reheated the dye bath, washed and vinegar rinsed the jersey, combined the two for an hour or two and got this nice yellowish creamy colour. The ungenerous might call it beige. Anyway, I like it. I’m hoping there is enough to cut a long sleeved Henley top. I could even use the crab apple dyed silk from Crab Apple Dyeing: Part 2 for trim perhaps. This exhausted the dyebath (almost no colour left in the water) so I could pour it away and clean everything up without feeling I’d lost an opportunity.

Crab Apple Dyeing: Part 2

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I had made a dyebath, but what to dye? I decided to do a test first. So I put a couple of tablespoons of the dyebath in a strong glass, added small scraps of a variety of fabrics and boiled it several times in the microwave. This pic is before heating:

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Here are the results after rinsing and drying. Original fabric and dyed scraps. From left to right there is cotton, linen, silk, wool fabric, wool yarn.

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I was not surprised to see that the protein fibres took the colour best. I still didn’t know what I wanted to dye in quantity. Sleeping on the decision meant I lay awake turning possibilities over in my head. Argh.

The dull gold colour didn’t seem that exciting, but not horrid either. I came up with two plans. One, that I would dye a portion of the 100g white skein Bendigo Woolen Mills sock yarn I bought on a whim several years ago. I’ve split that skein into four, with the idea that I might have a go at some other natural dyeing and make socks from whatever colours result. The other plan was to take some of the silk I bought cheaply from a warehouse closing sale and do a variety of shibori folded resist patterns. On the left is silk crepe, enough for a dress. Two different folds that should deliver a stripe and a spot/check. Plus a plain piece for trim. Then the sock yarn. To the right is a selection of folds in a plain weave silk habutai, enough for a shirt, or something.

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In the dyepot. I brought it to the boil, then added the fabric bundles. I let that all sit with a certain amount of poking and reheating for a couple of hours. Silk doesn’t really like being boiled, so I backed off from the “boil for an hour” instruction.

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Then I pulled all the cloth and thread out, rinsed it in warm water and hung it out. This is the fine plain weave silk. The patterns are there, but pale.

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Here is the silk crepe. This took the dye a bit better. All this fabric is still sopping wet, except the thin white piece above which I took out early because of cardboard failure.

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Darkest of all was the sock wool yarn.

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So some success. I’ll be interested in the look of the dry cloth and how fast the colour turns out to be. There is still colour in the dyepot, so I might put something else through tomorrow.

I will say that cardboard compression pieces are less than ideal for the shibori. They go soggy, fall apart and don’t do their job. I will look out for better stuff for use in future dyeing experiments.

Shiny sheer/satin striped silk shirt

I felt the need of a few more evening friendly garments. This shirt is a remake of an old favourite I made for a friend’s wedding many years ago, but in a rather different fabric. It’s a silk/cotton sheer ground fabric with silk satin stripes. Rather challenging to work with! It’s floppy, slithery and doesn’t take a crease well.

It’s my basic shirt again, with the wide plain rectangular collar. I thought the frill was a mistake when I’d only just assembled the front bands, but it is behaving better than I feared now I have the whole shirt together.

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Here are a variety of ways one can wear the collar. I won’t be wearing the first version with this shirt. I decided to tackle the too big neck hole issue and overshot. I can do this collar up while wearing it but it’s way too tight for comfort. Never mind, the other two versions are still appealing and in reality, I rarely fasten the top button of a collar except during laundry!

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In the end, my disappointments with this shirt are both about the collar. Aside from it being a bit small, I got confused and used the under collar as the upper collar. This mattered for two reasons: The under collar is pieced down the middle because the was barely enough fabric, and I had carefully cut the upper collar to have a satin stripe on the edge. Oh well, it’s not very noticeable.

The cuffs are gathered to work with the gathered frill. Also, this fabric takes a gather better than a pleat. I used shell buttons as usual.

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Here it is on. When I cut this shirt, I had in mind the new “corporate” pinafore from this blog post so here is a pic showing it on with that. I must say, the fabric feels really nice against the skin. I rather think I shall enjoy wearing this.

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William Morris Shirt

Or “Mama shirt stage three, the real thing”.

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This post is just me showing I did make up that lovely William Morris fabric for Mama, mentioned in my earlier posts Mama shirt: stage two, trial shirt  Mama shirt: stage one, the pattern

Also skiting* about my best ever pattern matching effort across the front.

Thankfully, she likes it, and has even collected a random compliment already.

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*hmm, it turns out this is local slang. Means boasting, showing off.

 

Out of Season

This is a summer garment even though where I am it’s now very much winter. Sometimes a length of cloth states so firmly what it wants to be, that one may as well just make it up. The last three times I opened the stash cupboard, this linen said “Ahem, I will be a summer shift dress please. See, I’m a lovely cool open weave in calm, cool colours. Really. You can even use that bodice pattern you are so keen on right now” *. So, I did as it said. I pressed the cloth and cut it out. Laid it aside while I had a lovely house guest. Then made it up over the last couple of days.

Yes, that’s the same bodice as the last few dresses, only this time with no darts and with the side seam angled out to dress cloth width (~112cm). Shirt tail hem. The front has a shaped facing and front slit for visual interest. The back has a deep, lined yoke with a centre seam. This way, the whole thing could be sewn by machine, using the turn-through-the-shoulder method. The neckline and shoulder seam have straight grain tape stabilising them. I’ve used no interfacing otherwise. That back pleat was not intended. I stuffed up when cutting the back yoke and forgot to angle out those short sides so I lost a little width. Oh well, the pleat looks good anyway.

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I did put some care into placement of the huge checks. There wasn’t quite enough fabric to allow full matching of the checks front to back. However it did work if I inverted the back skirt piece and matched the white stripe. Neater than no matching at all anyway.

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I won’t normally make pretend things on garments. Closures that don’t open, buttons that don’t fasten, pocket type trim without actual pockets. I broke my rule. These buttons are simply sewn on to close the slit and look pretty. It just seemed the thing that would lift what would have otherwise been a more boring garment.

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So now this fabric is happy and has stopped yelling at me, I can move on to the next thing.

*no, fabric doesn’t really talk to me. Not out loud anyway. It does seem to be opinionated at times though :-).

Collar Issues

Sometimes it is brought home to me that I’m not as good at this game as I’d like to be.

This poor shirt has been lying part made, crunkled into a ball, since early January. The fabric is vintage Liberty Tana, bought from a shirt making firm closing down their Melbourne city workshop. I had wanted to make a fully classic shirt, including two part collar. I didn’t have such a collar to match my current shirt pattern, so I used one from my previous shirt pattern. I thought I’d checked the seam lengths, but it still ended up a couple of centimetres short. Boo. Once I’d convinced myself I couldn’t make it work, I threw a minor hissy fit, unpinned the failed collar and put the shirt bits aside. For months as it turned out.

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Today, I decided that I would at least drape the constructed body/yoke on me to try to see what was going on. Aha. The neckhole is way too big. Why did I not see that before? It doesn’t look too bad in this pic, but that is the cut edge, not where the seam will end up lying.

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Given the neck edge was already clipped, I decided to revert to a narrow straight cut collar. Sad. Not what I wanted, but I’ve learned something.

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See, too big. Pretty colours though:

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I did at least make my first set of proper cuffs for ages, narrowed to better go with the narrow band collar. Also, my theory about making one of the wrist pleats a continuation of the sleeve crease seems to work. Hurrah. I thought that would make neat ironing easier.

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Here is the whole thing:

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and a sexier, more insouciant pose

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FFF 2017 #2

Folk (music) Festival Fashion, second garment for this year.

I’m a fan of Indian block printed cotton, but it’s pretty hard to come by. Especially as yardage. Even in finished garments I don’t see it often locally these days. I’m also fond of circle skirts, as you might have noticed. So when I found some Indian printed cotton bedspreads with circular patterns on sale cheaply, I jumped in and bought one.

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It’s lighter weight fabric than I was hoping for, but the colours are lovely. I decided to make a loose dress that would also function as a pinafore/over dress. I started by cutting as large a circle as possible from the cloth. Then cut a bodice from the corners. Because of the limited fabric, it had to have seams front and back. Then I proceeded to make a series of changes and errors, all involving those centre seams! Silly me. I ended up with a bodice that fit, but which had only a tiny seam allowance centre front, which needed something applied to support it. I was struggling for a solution, until I remembered that I had yet to cut out the centre from the skirt circle. Aha! I could use that circle to both decorate and strengthen the bodice front. I had wanted a lower neckline, but given I’d had to cut the bodice short due to limited fabric, and couldn’t make the functionally decorative circle any smaller, the neckline depth was set.

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The bodice is the pattern from the tricksy striped teal dress, only with the vertical darts left out so no fastenings are needed. That way I didn’t have to cut into the circle of the skirt. It’s lined with dark blue linen.

Here it is with the skirt on, all finished.

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It’s not the world’s most flattering dress, but it’s comfy and fun and I like it. See the fullness of the skirt.

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I’ve put a drawstring in at the base of the bodice, but I may not use it much. I think it looks better loose. Makes me want to twirl and dance.

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FFF 2017 #1

That is, Folk (music) Festival Fashion. The first folk music festival I went to, I just wore regular jeans and tshirt type things. When I saw some of the interesting things other people turned up in, I felt like I had missed an opportunity big time. Guess who likes dressing up? So when there is a festival in the offing, I like to make an appropriate new thing or two. This one ticks both the wholemeal and vaguely-other-ethnicity boxes.

As usual, I’m having a “my goodness this fabric is great” moment. Really, I’d buy more of this in lots of colours if I could get it. However, I bought this as a bolt end, also as usual. Sigh. It’s mid weight cotton with a hand loomed sort of look and a relaxed crinkle. Launders and wears beautifully. I haven’t been wearing much brown of late, but this will take me back there a bit at least.

This is a half circle wrap skirt made up of 16 gores. Most are cut as balanced triangles, the end gores are cut with one vertical edge on the straight grain so the end facing/hems will be stable. It even has a pocket.

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I’ve broken my usual rule of not doing contrast top stitching in order to add restrained interest, and to lighten the overall dark impression. The implement that makes this achievable neatly? Using my blind hemming foot to guide the top stitching. It works wonderfully well, as long as one can restrain it from running off the guide seam.

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Garments with strings are a pain in the laundry. My solution is to make the tie strings detachable as so:

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Here is the skirt on, with bonus towel on head:

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And here, styled to head into town to an exhibition:

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Ticks all the boxes

Long time no post. I hurt my back and I’ve only just managed to set up my computer for standing use.

I decided I wanted a shirt for sun protection while travelling and that none of my existing shirts quite fit the bill. I wanted plain weave, light weight cotton with minimal construction and no trim, so it would dry quickly. A print for preference, to help in not showing dirt and creases. A fabric that dries relatively crease free without ironing would be a bonus. So I made one, in only a few hours. Hurrah. Cut it this morning. Finished without rushing before dinner and with several hours off for a visitor in between.

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It’s my current standard shirt pattern in it’s simplest version. Sleeves are just hemmed rather than cuffed. Sleeve hems and button bands are self faced and interfaced, or could be described as simple double fold hems. The collar is interfaced with the same openweave linen I used for the ramie shirt. I’ve cut it a bit shorter than usual so it doesn’t get so sat on and ends up less crushed as a consequence. I’ve also cut the armholes a little deeper (and sleeves wider to match) to minimise sweat transfer (I’ll mostly wear it over a tshirt). With luck I might get a couple days wear out of it between washes? Perhaps. The fabric came from a Clegs boxing day remnant sale. I grabbed it thinking it was Liberty Tana. It’s not, but it’s still very good shirting. Selvage details below. It is beautiful stuff to work with and the tiny scale print is delicate and whimsical. “London Calling” seems to be the name of the print? Makes me smile.

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Here’s another close up of the fabric, plus the pretty engraved shell buttons that I felt worked with it.

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Horizontal and Vertical

I’ve been wanting a new sleeveless, fitted bodice pattern for ages. Loose garments are easy to make and wear but tend to make us well endowed ladies look even bigger than we are. Patterning fitted things on oneself is annoying, but possible. This is entirely draped from rectangles of cloth. I didn’t want this really closely fitted and certainly not figure altering like some historical styles. So I tried a new technique of patterning only one side, the other held only at the shoulder and under the arm. This allowed me to slip the pattern on and off quickly to make alterations to the pinning. Mark the centres when done and voila. It definitely helps that I’m pretty much symmetrical.

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Then I needed to test the pattern. So I cut a white lining to test the fit of the pattern with both sides present. It needed a bit of tweaking, but thankfully only in ways that enabled the lining to be used. Then transfer the changes to the pattern and proceed to choose a fabric for the test garment.

This fabric has been out of the stash cupboard for weeks, begging to be made up, so despite it being one of the pricier pieces in my stash, I decided to be brave and use it. It’s pure cotton in a lovely teal with a white woven lace like stripe and texture in the background. From “The Fabric Store”, who have such lovely things that I’m sometimes tempted into paying more than usual for my fabric, even at sale time. I shell out for the occasional carefully selected piece.

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In my enthusiasm to get a test garment made, I forgot all about clever ways to construct a bodice to avoid hand sewing. I had already sewn shoulder and side seams before I remembered that isn’t the most efficient order of operation. So I ended up doing the neckline by machine, turning that out and facing the armholes with self bias tape. Oh well, it got done. The zipper is a recycled vintage one I had in stash. Cotton tape and metal teeth with a lovely clean action.

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I decided to cut the skirt as a half circle, which inspired me to change the direction of the stripe on the bodice so the front is horizontal and the back vertical to match the skirt stripes. Amuses me at least. I’m very happy with the fit, a good shape on my current shape without being tight. There will be a few more versions of this made up soon methinks. I haven’t yet tried to see if it still works with different underwear. Fingers crossed.

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