Kimono-dress ‘Tasmanian Blues’ with bark-dyed silk AND shortie dress tunic ‘Nigella Blues’

Hand made patchwork dress in blues – featuring hand dyed silk collar and nigella seed pod appliques

Deep Gold natural dye achieved using Tasmanian eucalyptus bark
Dress available on ETSY Shop Shamanic Nights. ‘Tasmanian Blues’

Story of golden Tasmanian eucalyptus tree bark dye

Name ‘Tasmanian Blues’ is derived from Tasmanian origin of the eucalyptus bark (found in Hillier Gardens, Hampshire), used to create a dyebath. Silk collar and patches on garment are hand dyed (Habotai Silk 10) which took the dye bath so well – just soaking for an hour. Bark was previously steeped 24hrs then boiled, simmered for 2 hours, before removing from heat and adding silk.

A very deep gold was produced with the eucalyptus bark dye, which shines incredibly richly in sunshine. Lace pieces were left in the dyebath overnight and even though mixed fibres, took on a gold tone. Seed design applique motifs uses the lace dyed with eucalyptus bark. 

Gold dyed Habotai silk was painted on with Kniazef steam fixed dyes. The gold dye was so strong, that painted dye colours were hard to see, and needed redoing. Even specialised bleach for silk dyes did not work, so well is the eucalyptus dye fixed!

Habotai silk dyed with eucalyptus bark –
Left piece, modified with iron afterwards. Right piece original dye bath only.

Original dyestuff is bright gold in sunlight, but darker indoors. The darker gold piece is modified afterwords with iron sulphate (rusty nail liquid). Bottom right shows lace pieces dyed in cold dyebath overnight.

Story of patchwork blues.

I chose the blues to go with the gold silk, because 3 of the prints have gold areas with blues. Blue and gold are a classic mix, setting off one against the other.

Front buttoning strip features Chinese style print of Phoenix bird (right side) and tail of dragon (left side) which looks attractive as a focal point.

Two fabric prints have animalistic feel: the leopard or cheetah in blue/grey/black, and the navy blue/white ‘pheasant’ feather print. The blue lace was the right colour to add in. The light blue with text also has navy and some brown which blends in. By putting a variety of fabrics together, a new design idea comes alive. Phoenix and seeds could be a new theme.

Applique seed motifs

Bark dyed lace seed pod appliques, with silk dyed pieces added in centres

Using the eucalyptus dyed lace, emulated the texture of dried seed pods. Centre seed capsule part (in shadow from photo/drawing) is shown in dark gold dyed silk remnant on right-side garment, and left-side garment shows a lighter silk, bundle dyed from various seeds and dried flowers.

Making steps: ‘Tasmanian Blues’

Garment started by using a polyester dress as LINING. I kept the cross-over ‘V’ neckline and fitted my fabrics to it. NOTE: its useful to have neckline and shoulders of a lining garment to start off with. Once patchwork is attached to that, patchwork can simply continue down to hem. Its very useful to use a bodice top from another garment as lining to fit sleeves to. I often make an under bust, high waistline seam below the length of an upper patched piece, darting under bust; also optionally at back for better fit.

The lining dress only has short sleeves, so I used other polyester fabrics to lengthen them in patchwork. Outside sleeve fabrics are viscose floral print and others, seen in making photos. Last four photos show cuff addition to lengthen sleeve and give print interest. black fused interfacing ironed on. Fold extension over to show other fabric as an edge border contrast. Fold down outer onto lining. Pin cuff extension to outer sleeve patches. Machine or hand stitch down.

To give a fuller underarm, similar to kimonos; after inserting sleeves, I left underarm and side seams open, and cut strips for underarm gusset, using viscose fabric outer and navy lace inner: an elongated triangle about 4 inches to a point from underarm centre into sleeve length. (the lining dress was small size, so these inserts also enlarged fit up to 38″ bust.) Darts can be seen at front and back of bodice sections.

Back neck facing and simple front facing cut to fit dress front neckline.

A curved frill piece was used from the original lining dress to create a fit, which curves around back neck and fits to front edge of ‘V’ neckline. Cutting adjustments made to allow a shape that would extend the curve from centre back neck (left side photo 1.) continuing around to fit to dress front V neckline, and produce a simple fold back collar only at front. Once the under-fabric was established, an identical shape was cut in white cotton, to use as copy pattern for upper fabric patchwork, (which incorporates the eucalyptus dyed silk). Photo 2. ‘Collar/facing was firmed a little with fine fused black interlining.

Finnish kimono dress lower patchwork making:

Once upper bodice is completed (with or without sleeves), the lower skirt part of kimono dress is made by cutting rectangles and joining until there is enough to fit around the high waistline. This is the stage to consider which colours to juxtapose in lower garment. You may save some special pieces to show at front. Symmetry is a good idea: working from centre, to sides, repeating colour/shades similarly on either side. Start at the centre on the back, and work to the sides, adding patches until the desired width is reached, in correspondence to the upper bodice of dress. I describe an ad-hoc method of choosing fabric patches one by one, until enough are made. Alternatively, by calculating desired length of dress, and desired size of patches, you can calculate how many patches of each fabric colour or printed pattern will be needed in advance of cutting and machining. Lay them out on a table to desired colour juxtaposition, keeping in mind how the front and centre back will look. Work similarly from centre back, adding patches across and down, until length is reached. Create the patches in columns, then machine down the long rectangular panels, onto the under lining. (Fabric, or garment used as lining base). Allow 2-3 inches more at front and back, which can be gather-stitched to fit before seaming the bodice and skirt parts together. This could be darted if preferred. I darted the kimono-dress.

Tunic top ‘Nigella Blues’ in my ETSY Shop

There was enough blue themed fabric left to make small tunic dress. Again, patches are stitched onto an existing garment; a cream/white/brown/blue flora design A-line short sleeved flared top, which becomes the lining. The beige and blue on creamy peach work well with the blue patchworks, and also provide a light background to the blue lace patches, contrasting the lace: see top back photo and front lower side. (Light coloured lace can utilise darker backgrounds.) Short sleeves are unlined patchwork with bound viscose print hems.

The armholes were large, for a Plus size, so I darted the lining from armhole to bust point, and did same with upper patchwork. I cut down the centre due to extra width, and folded over edges for front facing firmness, still having enough to overlap for buttoning.

MAKING – bound button holes;

Making – Bound Button Holes

  • Mark width of button, add a little more. Sew a rectangle over button size area on right side of fabric.
  • Machine around, cut centre, cut into corners
  • Fold rectangle through to wrong side, Press flat with folds meeting, as shown.
  • Hand stitch lining to bound edges.
  • Top stitch on right side (optional). I did so here, due to fraying of lining fabric.

Applique motifs are inspired from Nigella seed pods grown in my allotment. Photos and drawings simplified for cut and sew. The centre silk has been dyed with eucalyptus bark before painting on (same silk as ‘Tasmanian Blues’ collar above), although darker due to after-modifying soaking in iron (rusty nail water makes a considerable darker change). Right photo seed pod has silk centre of bundle dyed silk with seeds and petals. Lace seed ‘pod’ fabric has been also dyed with eucalyptus bark, left overnight after initial silk dye has taken up most of the colour. Its always a good idea to see how deep a colour you can dye in the ‘left-over’ dye bath. See eucalyptus dying blog:

Kimono-Dress or house-dress ‘Purple Shimmers’

Purple and print patchworks

Back view
GMP ANNOTATED - Finished (VVG FRONT LENGTH) 2018-03-27 1000px
One pocket at front
GMP annotated - Finnished, (VVG BACK DRAPED) all length, shadows and light 2018-03-27

Shape is cut for fitted bodice front and back with bat-wing (kimono – like) sleeves extending from shoulders to high waist.

Front lacing over gusset, adjusts bust size from 36″ to 40″

Sleeves have cuffs which will turn back at the seam for tasking.

GMP annotated - Finished (VVG LACINGS) collar close up 2018-03-27

Notice collar, although a proper one, is caught down into high waist seaming at front, which could be thinner if copying idea, and stitch down to a point where it meets gusset (which I would do for a smaller summer dress)

GMP annotated - Finished, (VVG FRONT, SLEEVES)clear bright right sleeve 2018-03-27
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 ‘Purple Shimmers’or to commission similar, visit ETSY shop

Purple Patchwork Kimono-Dress – Creation Journey

Purple fabric collection on floor - 800scale_2018-01-29
Purples ‘collection’ as garments from charity shops.  Plus bottom right hand plant-dyed silk
Purple fabric collection_edited_2018-02-03

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.  I used all these fabrics except for the hand dyed silk 3rd from right.  (It will go into a similar one)

Charity shop fabrics, purples, hangers_2018-01-15_ 002 - annotated
Charity shop finds to match existing purple fabrics.  The shiny dress will become lining.
WDPS Purple line dress, collar, button welt cut- off

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.

WDPS Purple, black, green blouse, cut-away at seams_2018-02-13

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  ……….

Butterflies and Black Lace Patchwork Dress, ‘Love Never Dies (I)’ – Making process

‘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.

Dress USE - FRONT daylight - edited.png

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.

Bandeau patchworks, machined.png

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.

Bandeau patwork arrangements.png

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.

Dress USE - BACK CLOSEUP - edited.png

To buy ‘Love Never Dies’ or commission new one please email ameliajanedesigns@icloud.com to discuss.

Close up of back, shows butterfly prints, and zig-zag seaming flat overlaps.

MAKING INSTRUCTIONS

Bandeau patchworks mcahined zigzag.png
Zig-zag machining of patches: overlap quarter inch,
making two rows at each overlap (note it is flat,
no folded seams).
Bandeau, pinning bandeau lower front to pathworks.png
Pinning patchwork length equally along bandeau bottom

on the inside.
bandeau-patchworks-pinned-evenly-to-bandeau
The patchwork top folded over and pinned in place, 

ready for stitching by hand.
Bandeau, front pinned, back not.png
How the pinning looks after pinning one section to sew.
More to follow.....
Hand sewing Patches to bandeau A stretch stitch completed two rows.png
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)
Hand sewing Patches to bandeau B stretch stitch outside.png
Outer view shows small hand stitches (stretch back stitch)
showing through.  Quite acceptable appearance;
could even be larger, as a feature.
hand-sewing-lining-c-stretch-stitch-lining-to-dress
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
fabric.
hand-sewing-lining-a-stretch-stitch-from-left-to-right
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.
Hand sewing Lining B stretch stitch lining to dress.png
Needle comes back to lining back stitch from upper
stitch. Needle goes in right to left, but stitches
complete to the right.
bandeau-hand-sewn-stretch-stitch-inside-bandeauside
Finished stretch stitch: inside of dress, just below
where dress patchwork attaches (also stretch stitch)
to bandeau.
lace-trim-turn-over-pinning-easing-in-fullness
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.
lace-trim-zig-zag-machining-turned-in-pinned-to-hem
Machining lace edgings to dress hem.  Zig-zag.
bandeau-inside-dress-after-zigzag-machining-over-topside-frill-edges-folded-in
Finished lace trim attached (inside view).
NOTE: dress fabric was turned under and pressed
towards front beforehand.
bandeau-lace-trim-machined-to-edge-of-patchwork
Finished lace trim showing front and inside back.
love-never-dies-5-fabric-border-added-to-lining
Fabric hem sewn to inside lining:
to sit behind black lace.
love-never-dies-6-bandeau-top-elastic-inserted
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.

Cherry Fluzzies A & B

Two similar patchwork dresses inspired by using two halves of a bright cerise pink acrylic wool scarf with stretchy structure for bust fit.  Purple silk, taffeta, and lace combine with a legging print to create an exciting party colour combination.

Cherry Fluzzie B

Shorter version with black wooden buttons, thin straps and an additional patchwork hem frill in purple silk and multi-toned silk patchwork and frill.  Making details below.

Cherry B, RIGHT side view, with hem frill, indoors, right side view.png

Pink-purple silk, purple-black printed taffeta and rose print on black leggings are the fabric inspirations to go with the frivolous wool tops.         A

To buy ‘Cherrie Fluzzie B‘ please email ameliajhoskins@gmail.com – there are two slightly different ones available.

Dylan - Wooly top buttons closeup Cherry B.png
Ends of cerise pink scarf (cut in two for 2 dresses): edges are folded over twice and sewn down by hand with with pink thread or pink wool. Black wooden engraved Chinese buttons utilize holes already in the acrylic wool. It is necessary to stretch the destined 'hole' and use a few stitches to secure 'open' top and bottom, so it identifies easily as the buttonhole.

Cherry Fluzzie A

Longer version with toning cerise pink buttons and wider shoulder straps.

Woolly top and buttons Cherry A - edited.png
cherry-a-front-view-best-indoors-front-view-blurred-editd-annotated

Pink-purple silk, purple/black printed taffeta, and rose print on black

leggings are the fabric inspirations to go with the frivolous wool tops.

cherry-fuzzie-a-fabric-patches-floral-close-up-edited-annotated
         Zig-zag machining holds down inside seams. Available in Shop

Cherry Fluzzie B    Making Garment:

 
patchwork-semi-circle-joined-front-unjoined
Patch pieces joined into a semi circle. Outer sides will will become front. Different length patches were used due to material shortage.
Patchworks machined 1.png
By cutting patch shapes into A shapes, with straight top and bottom edges, they build up into a semi circle.
Patchworks machined back full joined.png
Patchwork semi-circle folded in two, back view. When top curve becomes the waistline, gathered in, good folds hang in skirt. Make 'A' shaped patches until required size is reached. This section is wider than needed to gather onto woollen top.
cherry-b-pinned-frill-2
Bottom frill pinned to dress hem, before zig-zagging on. Frill hem will also be zig-zagged.
Cherry B, pinned, tacked frill.png
Frill hem pinned, tack gathered, prior to zig-zagging.

Making garment:  Cherry Fluzzie A

patches-cut-from-leggins-edited-rotated-annotated
Leggings cut into 8 patches, use 4 or 8 per dress.
(2 short upper, 2 longer lower in skirt section).
Thigh shapes, turned upside down make good patches to
use as templates which when added to create a flared
shape.
Patchwork pinned prior to sewing - accurate daylight colour.png
Front side patchworks pinned to check colour placements. Silk fabric behind crimson lace patches.
patchwork-machined-central-horizontal-joins
Inside seams:  Join short patches to long patches
forming strips. Press seams up or down alternately
to reduce bulk at seam crossroads. Pin vertical patch 
strips.  Machine, and likewise press alternate sides
to avoid bulk on all corners.
 
patchwork-1st-machining-right-side-edited-annotated
Patchworks machined - skirt section.
hand-stretch-cross-back-stitching-skirt-patchwork-to-woolly-top-annotated
Joining patchwork skirt to stretch wool top using large hand stitches: cross-stitch done as back-stitch. See 'Love Never Dies' patchwork dress for more accurate close up instructions of stretch stitch.

Jacket ‘LILIES’

This patchwork jacket was commissioned by 99yr old Beth, a friend of my sister’s in Dorset. She likes something different. Having lived in China, the average high street shop doesn’t attract her.

Clothes I make are well received by women who want something unique and original, rather than from high street chain stores; also for women who appreciate the craft of creative patchwork, resulting in the creation of a new fabric.

Original fabrics
The original fabrics chosen for Lilies Jacket

I chose the fabrics myself for the jacket, having met Beth just once. The item was to be for a wedding, so I wanted it to be light and classic, but to still have some interesting elements. The first fabric I found was the beige skirt with eau de nil applique feature of lilies. I decided this was perfect for the jacket theme.

applique corner
Lilies applique patchwork front corner

Fabrics I used were linen and linen-mix skirts from charity shops. Quite a lot of fabric is needed for patchworks; its best to have at least 5 different ones.

When I cut the patches out and laid out together, I decided there needed to be a highlight colour to accent over and above the all-beige overall look.  I rushed to the shops, and was lucky to see the pale green and pale blue devore skirt with floral print in shiny synthetic satin in the first charity shop I looked in; it seemed a tad shockingly bling, but knew once it was in isolated patches, it would merely enhance the overall arrangement. As soon as I added in the new patches, I knew I would work.

Devore printed skirt with shiny blue flowers on pale green voile base
Devore printed skirt with shiny blue flowers on pale green voile base

For this jacket, I chose skirts with embroidery so I could use the embroidered areas for patches.

Cream linen skirt with brown embroidery.
Cream linen skirt with brown embroidery.

From two embroidered skirts there was enough embroidered area, to give some decoration on every patch in the jacket. I had seen Beth had some embroidered clothes and so guessed she would like it.

lining
Lining in taupe and eau de nil roses

The lining was a bonus find, another skirt, viscose type, having just the right colours of taupe background with eau de nil green in the woven roses, which ideally complimented the classic beige, cream and light green of all the patches.

Cost of fabrics was £42 plus £5 for a synthetic jacket which I just had to get, as it had the shell buttons in shiny light beige with a hint of green, perfectly matching the jacket colours. A touch of shine for a jacket to be worn at a wedding I thought.

Back view of Lilies Jacket
Back view of Lilies Jacket

Due to the centre pattern piece of paper pattern being placed on the bias of the cloth grain/weave, the square patches become diamonds.

buttonholes
Bound buttonholes with two different fabrics and the shell buttons.

Red ‘HOPI DANCE’

Marian modelling 'Hopi Dance' red dress.
HOPI DANCE. Back view. Cream cotton, black spotted viscose panels. Dress tapers to ankles.
HOPI DANCE seated.
HOPI DANCE seated.

To buy ‘Red Hopi Dance‘ dress, please contact ameliajhoskins@gmail.com or ameliajanedesigns@icloud.com – I have the VOGUE pattern to make a different colour-way.

Close up of silk painted panels of Hopi bird design by Amelia

Silk painted panels: Close up of white and black background silk panels of ‘Hopi Bird’ design by Amelia, maker of Shamanic Nights clothes.

My inspiration for the designs on silk were taken from images on Native American pottery. The bird designs had been painted around the pots, making the design full circular; I kept many attributes of the circular designs when putting into 2D.  Colours combine in this case, to compliment the dress colours.

‘Red HOPI DANCE’ Red Linen with hip ties to adjust at hips for fuller sizes.  Pattern used Vogue1234 suitable for knits and so cuts small.  I had to add 1.5 inch side inserts under the arms and sleeves to give better fit for 34-36 inch bust.

SILK PAINTING DESIGNS ‘Hopi Bird Dance’. Three dresses with similar silk painted design in 3 colourways.

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image


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.

Quotations:

After dark all cats are leopards” ~ Zumi

Continue reading “SILK PAINTING DESIGNS ‘Hopi Bird Dance’. Three dresses with similar silk painted design in 3 colourways.”