Lady’s Bedstraw is found in waste ground and near the coast. The reddish roots are used for dyeing; family is Madder (Rubiaceae) a well known red dye. The plant I found is growing along the Tarka Trail cycle path (ex rail track) opposite the small town of Bideford, N. Devon. Not easy to pull out the roots, and many were left for next year’s growth. This seemed a particularly large and well established plant. Bedstraw has many herbal uses.
Roots need soaking for several days to soften, before boiling up.
Boiling roots of plant produces a red dye, the longer soaked the deeper red. Photos show the dye was absorbed onto the pan sides, which loses dye power available, so pan must be aluminium. Predicted colour is scarlet, so use stainless steel.
1st silk sample has been pre-mordanted in Alum for a day before putting to soak in hand hot dye bath. Rinse away plant debris and extra dye: result after rinsing and drying is a strong salmon hued peach colour.
1st silk sample Rinsed. Has been already soaked in dye bath one day. 2nd silk sample in cooled dye bath which was reheated with bedstraw to obtain more dyestuff.
Red dye liquid is drained off into glass bowl to soak silk.
1st silk sample: Strong peach result after washing out. Steam iron while still damp to help smooth out creases, or don’t squeeze out water.
2nd silk sample Rinsed. Result when dry is a light peach.
Dry Results of Ahimsa Silk Samples
These samples will be matched with recycled fabric prints, and painted on before becoming part of a new garment.
PROJECT: Experimentation with beeswax batik resist as background texture for silk painting
I made two samples with silk pieces:1st logwood dyebath produced strong purple after drying (but it got burnt when the steamer boiled dry, so I made another one), 2nd logwood dye bath using the residue of first dye bath, which resulted in light-dull grape colour. Useful to discover; means can use a small amount of logwood for paler tone.
Result: 1st Logwood dye bath
Gallery: Deep purple dyed silk shows where shibori technique worked (scrunching up with gathered threads) leaf vein and butterfly edging. Leaf areas did not work as resisted, so dye bleach was applied to design area. This is ironed out when dry, and worked only partially. It seems logwood is almost impervious to chemical bleach.
Design areas were outlined again with a dark dyed gutta for more emphasis of, before adding fresh dye colours to images. Silk sample burnt in steaming, will feature in another dress from strips salvaged. (Gallery)
2nd Logwood dye bath – Batik preparation
BATIK: Silk piece stretched to frame. Design drawn with blue water soluble marker pen design drawn. Applying bees wax to silk, with brush end and brushes.
Design drawn with water dissolvable blue marker pen. Wax is applied as hot as possible. The centre motif worked best (and lightest outcome) where wax was hottest. Keep heating up wax by placing dish over boiling water pan. Other surrounding wax markings with brush end dabs and hog bush worked less well. The clearest resisted area is in the centre, where the wax was originally just off the boil. It also came away the easiest when ironed after dyeing. So I would not recommend using weak, faint brush marks when applying wax. It won’t form a strong enough ‘cover’ and the dye will seep behind which can be seen in image below, although a feint texture was achieved.
Shibori test techniques
1st logwood dye bath test created white resisted butterfly outlines (above) after stitching threads very tightly together. Rows of loose stitching, and threads pulled as much as possible, creating a ruched area which creates a resist area against dye penetration. 2nd soak in same dye bath (when most dyestuff had been taken up) revealed poor resist, using shibori stitch gathering (shown on waxed piece). Note: Shibori works well if fabric excluded enough from dye bath – so use thick embroidery silks or string type thread. Simple cotton thread was not thick enough.
Removing batik wax
When dyed fabric is dry – iron over thick brown paper (parcel paper type) placed over silk and wax; iron several times, with fresh paper and hot iron. When wax seems all removed, wash silk in hot water and soap. Any stubborn wax can be scrubbed very, very lightly with a soft brush, to loosen. (Note: wax batiking in this way for fashion, is not ideal on silk) Cotton is a firmer base for artwork where it wouldn’t matter if some residue of wax remains in fabric.
Result: 2nd Logwood dye bath with Batik Lilac-beige silk texture – subtle result after washing out logwood dye, and removing wax.
Fabric co-ordinates: Blend and contrast ideas with batik colour result prior to silk painting. (View Gallery)
Fabric co-ordinates: Final choices of fabric colours to create patchwork dress, to go with half finished silk painting.
Dulled pinks and dull brown with lilac seemed best combinations for the silk batik ground. The pink taffeta has a lilac sheen.
Choosing the pansy print as a co-ordinate allowed the addition of pansies in the silk painted design. This design didn’t really have a preconceived theme, only to use the nigella seed pod as a motif, and for the batik background experiment. Adding maroon silk seemed a good darker linking colour from the pansy print.
The green butterfly came from a photograph I took, and the red butterfly came from another printed fabric design.
Painted silk design result with co-ordinated fabrics chosen for dress.
Embroidery added to finished silk painting for added textural effect
Added embroidered lines on pansies give sparkly effect. Nigella seed pod is enhanced by dark seeds inside pod (arial view) and light embroidery on the pod ends. …The banana leaves would benefit from embroidery also.
Silk Painting ‘Nigella Butterflies’ made into dress centrepiece
Pink silk top – fabric co-ordinatetaken from a blouse: colour is similar to the palest background in the logwood batik. Pink bodice top sewn to silk painting just under bust; simple overlap stitching. Original V-necked pink blouse was cut on the cross, so will stretch over varied bust fullness.
Fabric co-ordinate Brown cotton with lavender-pink design – added to bottom of silk painting, and usefully some dress parts could be utilised for armhole bands, as an additional design feature.
Front bodice – Contrasting armholeband taken from neckline of co-ordinating fabric (dress). Pinned to pink silk bound edged armhole for stitching join by hand.
Back bodice – Contrasting armhole banding cut from back and underarm of co-ordinating fabric (dress).
Decided to add sleeves, a petals bundle died silk for upper sleeve, just enough silk; adding sleeve frill from original up-cycled pale dusky pink dress. Overall effect is balanced but the banana leaves on painting need deep crimson stitch decoration.
Dressmaking process: Silk painting summer 2019 – Dress finished September 2019, but decided to add in sleeves February 2020. Slow fashion!
Pink silk top is on bias stretch, so adjusts to size. Suitable for parties, weddings. To be added to ETSY shop May 2020… [£175.00] Value is assessed on only the silk batik/painting/embroidery (not on making time)
Dress size: 36/38″ – max 40 inch bust. Length: shoulder to front hem 36″, shoulder to back hem 38″.
A new fashion paradigm being experienced by designers, businesses and consumers is one by which clothes are treasured and valued for a variety of reasons based on overall sustainable production. This contrasts greatly with the existing buy-today, throw-away-tomorrow fashion business model.
UP-CYCLED – RECYCLED – ETHICAL FASHION
Vintage fashion is enjoying a wave of popularity, as consumers look for more individual, original garments, which now have a higher emotional value than the current season’s clothes from high street boutiques and chain stores
Why the growth in up-cycling?
The slow fashion CONSUMER is happy to spend more on garments which are sustainably produced.
The slow fashion DESIGNER or maker is happy to take longer on manufacture.
The constant waste of materials, with their associated production costs, is both an environmental and health dilemma. If you value the raw materials, of sustainable, ecological origins, you may value your garment more highly, and wear it for many years with a focus more on your clothes being timeless. (witness the popularity of ‘vintage’).
These days there is a proliferation of cast away clothes, a wasteful situation caused by fast fashion trends and cheapness of garments. Charity shops are brimming with last season’s clothes. Textile recycling and disposing companies are selling old clothes to Africa, impacting indigenous economies by reducing artisan production.
Shamanic Nights uses fabrics from charity shops, mostly very new and good quality. ‘Stonewashed’ Angles above, uses coffee/white dress prints, combined with original silk painted panels of angels and plants in colours to coordinate with fabrics used in dress, by Amelia Jane Hoskins, owner.
UNSUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MODELS
STOP OR REDUCE LANDFILL
Textile waste statistics are alarming; 13 million tons per year in USA. Organisations are growing to help with this problem.
High street chain fashion stores rush to produce ever cheaper clothes to compete with so called ‘demand’. But the demand is created by designers and companies who put out seasonal ‘fashion trends’, providing them cheap enough for customers to buy new stuff every season, to be ‘in fashion’ but obviously the main reason is to increase companies’ profits. Many of your clothes are made in sweatshops in far away lands, where labour is cheap.
People are finding labels from makers, as cries for help, in their garments.
Slow fashion entrepreneurs and companies wish to change the unsustainable fast fashion model created since the industrial revolution. Their main criteria is to use ethical fabrics and/or small scale production; and to provide fair wages for garment makers.
Some designers are choosing to use ecologically produced textiles, some choosing to use pre-worn clothes and discarded textiles to remake into new originals for the discerning ethical buyer.
Ecologically minded consumers and fashion businesses support the development of sustainable fabric production and sustainable garment manufacture. Rather than relying on mass production, with associated use of cheap labour and possibly poor manufacturing quality guidelines.
Ecologically friendly fibres such as organic cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo, grown without pesticides. Expensive pesticides leach into water systems causing health problems. Textile production is the second biggest contributor to water pollution globally. 20% of global industrial water pollution comes from treatment and dyeing of textiles.
Textiles produced in small quantities by artisans in small scale village communities, provide rarer originality of fabrics to be treasured by end customers. Natural dyes may be used. Collections may be limited. ‘FAIRTRADE’ cotton is available. Wages must be fare.
My personal philosophy is that there is already enough fabric in the world! Rather than buying new fabric, I’m personally committed to finding the best second hand garments to cut up, to recycle the best unworn fabric and combine in new ways. The result is a tailor made, freshly designed, totally original and new garment.
We must value our work in the new paradigm – unique and sustainable is best, and probably more expensive, rather than falling in line with the old paradigm, where cheapest is better despite the cost to the environment and peoples’ lives.
Some good books are:
‘TO DIE FOR ‘- Is Fashion wearing Out the world’? by Lucy Siegle.
‘SHAPING SUSTAINABLE FASHION‘ Changing the way we make and use clothes, edited by Alison Gwilt and Tina Rissanan, pub. Earthscan.
‘REFASHIONED‘ Cutting Edge Clothing from Upcycled Materials by Sass Brown
‘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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: awhile Shamanic Nights Online shop is under reconstruction.
Shamanic Nights makes a personal commitment to hand crafted ‘slow fashion‘. ‘Up-cycled couture’better describes my craft work, as each garment is very carefully hand made from cut up recycled clothes found in Devon Charity Shops. Results show how recycled textiles can still be beautiful, worthy and robust when discarded prematurely.
We do not need any more ‘fast fashion’, where profits come before material resource depletion: particularly water, cotton (film ‘White gold’) & silk as well as human energy waste where internationally based workers are paid lowly for many hours hard work just so someone can buy many things cheaply, only to cast them out after a short while, due to fashion dictates.
Good quality fabrics can last many years. The only fabric which will not wear well is mixtures with acrylic or polyester, as the acrylic polymer threads always ‘catch’ and ruck up bobbly, making a garment surface look ‘worn out’ and certainly undesirable.
My unique colourful one-off bespoke casual leisure garments are available to buy online. Online Shop (part shopping, under construction)
Update 2018: First Sunday in the month April – October, I shall be on Exeter Quay under the old fish market as part of Inside Outside Markets.
Some Shamanic Nights garments have painted silk designs by Amelia Jane Designs on my other site, where you can find textile designs – paint on paper – remaining designs from 1990’s international freelance textile works.
When I coordinate found fabrics to recycle together into a new look garment, I enjoy imagining a new decorative design with them; to contrast with the many plain cottons and linens I use. Hand painting designs on silk is the obvious solution, taking inspiration from the existing colours and any print coordinated with the plains. I was busting to get back to silk painting which I’d developed as a technique in my first Devon workshop back in 1995!
When designing, one has to start from somewhere; taking a few elements and putting them together. I began again, exactly where I had left off, with the inspirations I’d had for the last paint on paper furnishing design I’d done. I’ve always been intrigued by Native American design and recently found images of abstract bird designs of the Hopi Indians applied to pottery. They reached a height of decorative abstraction, distorting their bird designs to fit over any curved pottery surface; a brilliant applied design.
I have kept these ‘curved’ surface designs almost exactly as the originals, but applied them to a two dimensional surface of Habotai silk. It was an obvious decision to put feathers around the Hopi birds but I needed another element. I decided on a selection of Native American quotations intended to stand out in cream. However, I wrote them with a water based gutta resist, and they were mostly blurred or lost during the steam fixing process; so I embroidered over them. By happy accident this gives another texture, although time consuming. A spirit based gutta may work better next time.
For the FIRST HOPI BIRD DESIGN I kept to the natural colours from the pottery inspirations; beige, orange, terracotta and brown, adding a stronger pink. I teamed the final piece with brown cottons and viscose from recycled skirts to make an unusual but charming pinafore dress showing off the silk design in the bib top and apron.
My Mission: To make beautiful casual and luxurious clothes and quilts from recycled fabrics.
Stop Landfills. Stop Water Pollution. Stop ‘Made in China’. Working Ethos.
Fast fashion has encouraged the spendthrift and waste of textile materials. So many cast-offs! I’ve noticed year on year, the plethora of higher quality fabrics donated to the ubiquitous high street charity shops. Clothes from quality brand names or clothes hardly worn at all, make it essential that the best quality dresses, skirts and T-Shirts be given an extended life.
Linens are wonderful to work with: one pair of trousers provides large pieces, as does a flared skirt. Dresses and blouses provide prints and lace. I choose good quality cotton, viscose and silk mostly, for summer dresses: with just a little polyester if a print inspires me, and for most linings.
SUSTAINABLE CLOTHING is becoming more mainstream, with increasing numbers of inspired fashion designers making clothes from UP-CYCLED and VINTAGE fabrics and sharing their ideas on Pinterest. See many creative upcyclers, along with some of mine, here: –
There has been a ground swell of interest in organic cotton; grown without pesticide use, leaving no watercourse contamination. Fertilizers are expensive for farmers in poorer countries, making crops less profitable. The Aral Sea has dried up due to the over use of its water for Uzbekistan cotton growing.
Whilst organic cotton is all the rage, cotton itself requires so much water to grow and process, that in the long run it’s not sustainable. It takes 8,500 litres to make enough cotton for a pair of jeans. This is clearly unsustainable, even immoral, when many areas of the world suffer drought.
FABRICS from high street store fashions have an incredibly long shelf life, but are sometimes discarded after one season’s wear or if the garment no longer fits. Even household fabrics are renewed more often than years ago. These fabrics and clothes are still here. Piling up in landfills. Rather than throwing away, we need to recycle all textiles as much as possible.
Patchwork joining for Cherry Fluzzie B, January 2017