Robust retaliation to under secretary who advertised Roundup on Twitter.
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….
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.
Flora’s workshops can be booked at her website:
Kimono named ‘Aldebaran’ : a reddish star in Taurus Aldebaran info site
“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
From charity shop cast-offs to Kimono-Dress in patchworks – fabric upcycling process.
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.
Cutting of patchwork pieces to follow soon ……….
Silk after being steamed after which the dye comes out of the petals and seeds, and other plant material.
Thin silk above, and thicker silk below; these petals and seeds will produce purple, lilac, red and pink dyed areas.
Spreading petals and seeds on to silk. Their dye spreads out on the immediate area after steaming.
Fold silk over in triangular folds, then roll tightly. Wrap tightly with string to hold together in the steam pan.
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:-
Magazine feature http://www.floraarbuthnott.com/country-homes-interiors
Flora’s ‘Wild Dye Garden’ on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wilddyegarden/
Large T-shirts make good short dresses for shorter people. Hem uses two sleeves from an old denim blouse. Thick warm cotton T-shirt from charity shop.
Press sleeves flat, lay over each other and cut into long rectangles of equal length.
Join seems to make false hem extension. Make angles at the sides.
Turn one long side over twice, 1/4inch to make hem; steam press flat, machine stitch.
The extended hem needs to be a little larger than the t-shirt hem, to give an A-line flare. In this case the hem width was decided by the length of the sleeves used from the blouse.
Work in quarter hem sections at a time, between front – sides, sides to back.
Stitch position leaves the last bit of T-shirt hem loose, for better visual effect.
If not sure how to machine over pins; (it can break your needles) then tack sides together first, before machining.
Dress is solely for home wear and not for sale.