Habotai silk dyed by emersion in an avocado pit dye bath.
Final colour after simmering and soaking for 2-3 hours. A subtle light, dusky champagne-peach. A colour which can coordinate with all other colours in my patchwork garments. A good base for silk painting in stronger colours.
Avocado pits collected over the years. I used about 50 (half my storage). They will hopefully provide another dye bath. No mordant was used, to enable me to see the natural colour obtainable. More tests with mordants will follow.
Avocado pits after using and dyed silk.
Rinsing out silk after the dye bath. Hardly any colour washed out. The take-up was good: this is because there is a natural mordant in the avocado pits.
The silk – accurate colour, which looks different in different lights. In the shade it is more dusky pink, in sunlight – more creamy gold. Dye absorption was very even.
This avocado dyed silk will blend well with creams, pinks, peaches, jade greens and greys. Colour co-ordinations of new garments made with this silk and other patchwork fabrics will appear here when completed….
Kimono-Dress in patchworks – fabric upcycling process.
Kimono-Dress patchwork, lined. Lace-up decorative front expands to fit bust 36 – 40 inches. Length: below knee.
Gorgeous patchwork colours form treasure trove arrangement. Generous fit up to 40 bust: Sleeves are kimono style loose, starting from below bust line. Lace ties ensure fit under bust. Back bodice top is already fitted to body, with gathers below
To buy ‘Aldebaran’ or to commission similar, please email email@example.com
Purple Patchwork Kimono-Dress – Creation Journey
Three or four plains and three to four prints, with maybe another contrasting plain works well. At least 7 different fabrics are needed for a good patchwork result.
When cutting up garments for patchwork, cut up along the sides of all seams. Sometimes cotton and linen seams can be ripped undone, and more fabric saved. Overall, unpicking is not worth the time it takes.
Sometimes there is fabric strain near darts or side seams as there were in this blouse. In such case, don’t undo the seam where stitches have pulled. This blouse had strain around the front dart seams. Due to inherent weakness in the loose weave, this fabric will be quilt-machined onto a thin cotton backing, to ensure it stays firm.
Many parts of a garment can be recycled into a different new garment, such as this lace-styled neck. It won’t be included in the kimono, but it will form the start of another dress, likely to be with navy, if only the lace is used, or navy and pink if the print is kept.
This top is from a stretch cotton fabric, so will be quilt machined onto a cotton, for firmness, to be similar in weight to the linen and taffeta. If used only in its stretch state, it may cause a slight ‘baggyness’ in parts of the patchwork.
To buy ‘Aldebaran’ or to commission similar, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Love Never Dies’inspiration taken from autumn floral printed T-shirt patch, used in dress centre front. A second version ‘Love Never Dies II’ is available, same patches, lined, with white fringed hem.
Bandeau top inspiration: slice cut from ethnic printed skinny stretch dress.
Patches made and joined in strips of three, then join those to make a length as shown in picture on floor.
Patchwork section attached to stretchy cotton bandeau top, by hand stretch back stitch shown in MAKING INSTRUCTIONS below.
Seams are overlapped one quarter inch – one half inch, and zig-zag machined to avoid bulky inside seams. 6 different patchwork fabrics are used making up a large rectangle of 11 patches x 3 patches. Keep adding strips (here strips are 3 patches long). Make strips until there are enough to join up around hips: add 2 extra patch widths to create fullness when attached to bandeau top.
NOTE: black lace patches are made by fixing over lighter fabric base. There are possibilities of using different backgrounds for lace, for more subtle effects.
When choosing fabrics, 6 seems to be a good number of alternative fabrics. They can be either contrasting, as here, or similar in tone. Dark – Medium- Light is a good mix.
Muted schemes are more satisfactory and versatile than multi-rainbow colour themes. The size of fabric areas cut from garments, dictates the size of the patches. In this instance it was the ‘Love Never Dies’ T-shirt print I started from, giving me two patch lengths when cutting.
I was originally going to position the patchworks in diagonal formation over a bias cut lining, but they weren’t cut square so it would look odd. I therefore turned it to straightforward vertical arrangement. Recycling 6 different garments, and cutting at least 8 patches from each, is a good start. I cut more if I like a scheme and want to make another similar.
These patches are 12.5cm x 18cm cut (approximately 7″ x 5″). Decide the length of garment skirt section needed, from seam under bandeau top, then divide by three for length of patchwork strips: to be either 3, 4, or 5 patches deep. 3 is enough for this short dress.
To buy ‘Love Never Dies’ or commission new one please email ameliajhoskins@gmail to discuss.
Close up of back, shows butterfly prints, and zig-zag seaming flat overlaps.
Zig-zag machining of patches: overlap quarter inch,
making two rows at each overlap (note it is flat,
no folded seams).
Pinning patchwork length equally along bandeau bottom
on the inside.
The patchwork top folded over and pinned in place,
ready for stitching by hand.
How the pinning looks after pinning one section to sew.
More to follow.....
Hand stitched back stitch which gives full stretch result.
Photo of stitch process omitted but IS SHOWN BELOW when
attaching lining to this seam join. (Note: I could have
machine-tacked lining to patches first, then stretch
stitched them both together, but I needed to experiment)
Outer view shows small hand stitches (stretch back stitch)
showing through. Quite acceptable appearance;
could even be larger, as a feature.
Stretch back stitch: holding work this way, each needle
insertion is towards you, hand underneath can test for
flexibility of stretch, to ensure same stretch as patches
Working left to right, back-stitching into patchwork
section above, and lining section below. This lining
(taken from a dress), is on the 'bias' which aids
stretchiness. It would need to be same width as
patchwork section sewn to, to give equal stretch.
Needle comes back to lining back stitch from upper
stitch. Needle goes in right to left, but stitches
complete to the right.
Finished stretch stitch: inside of dress, just below
where dress patchwork attaches (also stretch stitch)
Join strips of lace for hem trim. I used a neck
frill and sleeve edges from a lace dress (4 cut
lengths). Press quarter inch in then pin to dress hem.
Machining lace edgings to dress hem. Zig-zag.
Finished lace trim attached (inside view).
NOTE: dress fabric was turned under and pressed
towards front beforehand.
Finished lace trim showing front and inside back.
Fabric hem sewn to inside lining:
to sit behind black lace.
Top of bandeau is folded over and narrow elastic
inserted. Stretchiness is preserved by using
stretch backstitch instead of machining.
To buy ‘Love Never Dies’ dress/skirt please email: email@example.com while Shamanic Nights Online shop is under reconstruction.
I collected this bark from 2 trees; Eucalyptus Viminalis, Manna Gum, and Eucalyptus Archeri, Alpine cider gum (Tasmania) in Hillier Arboretum, Hampshire, UK.
The bark falls off the trees ready for easy collection.
Eucalyptus bark soaking in dye pan.
Break up bark and leave to soak for a day or overnight. I added 3 leaves to ensure a colour result (as dye instruction books use leaves for strong result). I heated to boil, then simmered for 1hr to 1hr 30mins. Remove bark and put silk in pot. (I pre-mordanted the silk by soaking in water with alum in a bowl overnight; although not necessary with Eucalyptus). It wasn’t necessary to reboil and simmer the silk in the pan as it took up the dye well immediately, and quickly grew darker. After about an hour of soaking, frequently moving around, I heated it for about 10 mins and again left it to cool soaking.
Silk rapidly absorbs bark dye
Silk absorbs bark dye very well, and quickly. I left it in cold dye bath for 1 hr then simmered the pot for 10 mins.
Lace fabric on fist placing in dye bath (content unknown; likely cotton/polyester mix.) It rapidly takes up the dye, although it was not pre-mordanted.
Lace fabric on fist placing in dye bath (content unknown; likely cotton/polyester mix.)
It rapidly takes up the dye, although it was not pre-mordanted, like the silk was.
Lace fabric having taken up the dye after an hour or so simmering
Washing out dyed silk, to remove excess dye.
Final colour is a rich gold: silk looks very bright in sunlight; a deeper old gold tone indoors.
Silk dyed with bark, rinsed and dried.
Adding rusty water (iron) deepens the colour of silk and lace in two more samples.
Second silk sample modified after dying with rust water.
To follow up… a new garment using both silk samples with silk painting is in the making. Colour combinations of blues with deep gold highlights, picking out colours in the prints.
The design will be for a jacket, with the added lace pieces; also dyed with the eucalyptus bark
Seed designs steamed into dyed silk. A new discharge paste brushed on to the seed head areas did not work on the natural eucalyptus bark dye! To be re painted with contrasts.
Large poppy seed heads: (discharge paste did not work to bleach the eucalyptus dye from those areas). Test piece for general design idea, to be repainted with darker seed heads.
Practice piece painting over eucalyptus dyed silk. Discharge (bleaching paste) did not work through eucalyptus dye – interesting! Seed heads to be repainted darker, for contrast.
Outlines are drawn with acid dye into gutta resist (blue lines). Background texture in maroon are created with collagraph printing:- Seeds flattened and glued to cardboard, then used as a print stamp underneath silk, pressed from upper surface. (Details to be added)
Plants and trees that we can use in dye baths, with and without mordants (which make colours stronger) easily dye cotton, linen and silk.
Just a simple collection and boiling of plant matter, then simmering with fabric steeped.
Very bright yellow, or ocre yellow achieved with Alder plant matter, leaves and twigs. A pre process mordant is soya milk which the centre linen was soaked in. Its a little too bright for my taste so I would use without mordant.
The left lace is with nettle dyebath, a very subtle dark cream, with hint of yellow-green in reality.
Flora used same weight as fabric.
Left: Ahimsa silk, folded in triangles along folded strips, to create ‘resist’ non-dyed areas.
Right: Habotai silk scrunched and rubber band tied, to create abstract, cosmic or marbled effect.
Either of these can be used as a background, to hand paint over with other colours; this is a technique I will explore in the future as preparation for silk painting designs. Flora’s workshop used plant based mordants (colour intensifiers) but metallic mordants would produce different shades.
Stripes achieved by folding fabric and using rubber bands to keep tight, preventing dye penetrating fabric.
Ahimsa silk folded and clamped to resist dye penetration, results in pattern.
Cotton lace rolled and 2 rubber bands used to achieve resist un-dyed stripes.
“The reddish star Aldebaran – the fiery eye of the Bull in the constellation Taurus – is an ageing star and a huge star! The computed diameter is between 35 and 40 solar diameters.”
Orange and red flowers in patchwork fabrics inspired the name.
Front lacings adjustable bust size 36-42 inch. Lacing can be removed.
MAKING: Patches are cut in equal sizes: (18cm here) then pinned to lining shapes of all pattern pieces. Adjust shapes of patches as garment shape needs. (First define and cut garment shape pattern pieces with lining, which is easier than adding lining afterwards!). Here, a peachy shiny satin blouse was used for sleeve lining and standard black lining cut from dresses is used for the main body.
The bodice front and back and sleeves are joined by ‘princess-line’ seam which goes from front high-waist up and over shoulder to back high-waist. Skirt is made separately then joined to the bodice and sleeves.
Lining at side position is slit to enclose insert, or use existing side seam in skirt alterations.
Collar making and attaching
To buy ‘Aldebaran Kimono Dress’ direct from Amelia, or to commission a new one, please email firstname.lastname@example.org (Online shop under reconstruction)
My bundles kept overnight, steamed next day; allowing time for dye impregnation.
My sample, after steaming; strong madder and hollyhock dye colour on thin silk.
Thicker silk gives less strong colour results; lilac, purple, ocre, using the simple method. The seed remains are visible before washing. Silk sampling is with ad-hoc arrangement of colours. If fabric had a resist paste or melted wax in some places, the dye would not penetrate and that would make a design left in white.
Plant dye workshop I attended to make my samples was run by Flora Arbuthnott at Forde Abbey Garden Festival 2017. Details of flora’s work and workshops below:-