Robust retaliation to under secretary who advertised Roundup on Twitter.
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:
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.
Inspiration started with the sumptuous velvet! It started life as a large scarf. Then I spotted the wool skirt with a lilac tone in and envisaged with wool cummerbund due to the lilac/beige colour harmony.
Floral voile insets also chosen for colour harmony. An experimentation challenge with ‘V’ shaped cummerbund (lined) and cutting skirt sections to hang from the diagonal.
‘Plum Velvet’ Skirt No. 1 has 4 small triangular inserts, forming a fully circular skirt (great for dancing), and dark butterfly print hem frill.
‘Plum Velvet’ Skirt No. 2 has 2 triangular insets front and back and cream frill.
‘Plum Velvet’ Skirt No. 3 is made of many flared lilac and beige pieces (photo not showing).
‘Plum Velvet’ skirt No. 2 side insertion of invisible zip.
The velvet was cut to allow for 8 pieces, 4 in each skirt, (2 back, 2 front). Velvet piece positioned to cummerbund on dummy, gathered, using straight edge, allow to hang, then cut straight hem at base. Remove and cut 3 more for first skirt. Once they were all cut, I placed the second group of 4 velvet pieces the other way up, i.e. placing the bias along the cummerbund edge, allowing the straight edge to become the hem. (It was necessary to use straight edge to begin with to allow natural fall before cutting fabric at hem).
Below are two pieces after cutting shapes (from hanging on dummy), laid out with triangle gap, to cut inserts out.
Cummerbund front and back - cut and darted. Measure your waist or dropped waist above hip, at position required: (e.g. 26") then allow 1.5 inches extra for waist darts on each piece, (which allows for dart take-up). Machine, press.
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.
“After dark all cats are leopards” ~ Zumi