Design your own fabric week is here! Easy for me, right? After all, I routinely design machine knit fabrics for my designs. So all I needed was to knit something, right?
The description for the challenge is this : print, dye, color, paint, stencil or whatever else you can think of to design a fabric that is all you and then use that material to create an outfit. Sure, knitting would fit into the “whatever else” but I thought this might be a good time to experiment with something a little different.
I bought 5 yards of unbleached muslin from Organic Cotton Plus along with 4 colors of reactive dye and soda ash. And I ordered a bunch of books from Amazon (still waiting for one of them) as well as supplies for making batik. I had these grand plans… I split the muslin into 1 yard lengths. Two of them were to be used with blue dye. The three others were for trying out a variety of techniques with three colors (yellow, pink, red). Then, I was going to pick out the prettiest one to make a skirt for souricette 2.
I dutifully read the books I had received. Interesting techniques but the dye baths! I just couldn’t. I took one lone yarn dyeing class when I was in school and everything was precise. Very precise. (Side note: I could tell my teacher wasn’t quite used to the scientific method. When I asked him about the margin of error on our instruments, he had no idea what I was talking about…) There was no way I was going to measure dye with a teaspoon and fabric by the yard. Just no. So I pulled out my notes from class and used those.
First up, blue. Midnight blue. I was going to do two yards of shibori, using two different kinds of resists. I weighed one yard of muslin to use for my calculations and doubled that. I prepared my fabric with the resists. Then, I prepared the dye bath. I chose a 3% concentration. I’ll spare you the details like how much water, salt and soda ash were needed. Just one thing. I made sure to go outside to measure my dye and mix it with water. That stuff isn’t good for your lungs so you want to be somewhere well ventilated when manipulating it. Once it’s mixed up with water, you won’t breathe the particles in anymore so it’s much safer. Don’t drink it though!
First fabric, my favorite.
I used wood and glass marbles and secured them in the fabric with small clear elastics. I created a few big bunches that got cinched together with another elastic (the big circles with little circles inside). It’s beautiful but not a good choice for a 2 year old. This fabric needs to be cut as little as possible to keep the pattern visible.
Second, the one I ended up using.
This one I twisted until it twisted back on itself. I held the twists in place with rubber bands at regular-ish intervals.
I said I had 5 yards, right? The three other pieces were supposed to be dyed yellow first. Then, I was going to try different resists: wax for a batik look, shibori again, and maybe printing with wax. But dyeing takes time. I had to prepare the dye bath and warm it up. 10 minutes in the bath, add 1/3 salt, 10 more minutes, 1/3 salt, 10 minutes again, last bit of salt, another 10 minutes to add the soda ash, and finally 45 minutes. Then remove from the dye bath, rinse thoroughly, add a dash of synthrapol, rinse again. I was late picking up souricette 2 at preschool and there’s no way I can do a dye bath while she’s with me. So I only did the blue.
Back to the challenge…
You’ve probably noticed I didn’t make a skirt, right? I was admiring my fabric and it very clearly talked to me. I swear I’m not crazy! It did not want to be a skirt. It said it wanted to be the Oliver + S Hide and Seek dress.
Which makes sense, I guess. It’s a great pattern for showcasing fabric! I decided to do the whole center front and back in my shibori.
I chose navy blue for the sides and sleeves. I forgot to take a picture but the pocket lining is my shibori fabric too. The buttons are coconut.
I wanted to keep a very earthy, modern hippie look.
We took the girls to a local park for the pictures. The park is on both sides of the street and there’s an underpass where I took the pictures. It’s quite clean as far as these things go. No graffiti and the only “trash” to be found was rocks and leaves. But there was a really cool surprise that I’d never noticed. A mural.
Looks like it was made by kids. It’s the earth. Looks like it was an Earth day project or something and it looks old-ish. Souricette 2 was fascinated by it.
And it fit really well with my modern hippie vibe!
I promise souricette 2’s next dress will NOT be blue. It may be my favorite color and it may bring out her eyes but I need to change it up!