Monday, November 23, 2015

Wearing Handmade

Finally, here is the finished version of my Cascade Dress for grown ups. After the pattern was sewn up, I died the entire garment using a natural dye method with black beans. I then added vintage lace details, also naturally dyed. I still think there are a few changes I'd like to make down the road if I continue making the pattern, however, I am quite pleased with the final result. A lot of time and love went into this dress. It has a comfy playfulness to it and wearing it makes me feel young at heart.

After working on my Cascade Dress, I decided I needed a break from the drafting and turned to a published pattern for my next project.

I chose The Peplone Jacket Pattern by Tina Givens. I had found this beautiful deep amethyst linen/rayon blend at my local fabric shop and just knew it would make quite a statement. So it did! I loved working with this fabric and may have to hunt down some more,

I used some organic cotton scraps I had for the pockets and sleeve trim, and a fantastic big vintage button I got from my mom some years ago. This worked up wonderfully. It's a very full fit coat-like garment reminiscent of the turn of the century boho movement. To be accessorized with a languid pose and an artistic flair. I love it truly. I can't help but feel decadent and creative whilst wearing it.

 I can see that my promise to sew more for myself is taking some interesting turns and I'm really enjoying it.

Have you made anything lately?

See you after the holiday, be well!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Vintage Color

Ooh it's getting cold and rainy 'round these parts. This morning I couldn't quite shake a chill and toyed with the idea of starting a fire in the wood stove. I didn't, but I can see that the season's first fire is not long off. How's the season treating you where you are I wonder?

Yesterday I spent the morning visiting a friend in the hospital and got home just in time to put on a dye pot. It was an easy dye as I was using the water from soaking black beans, this dye pot does not need heat so it's a bit less intensive. However, I was dyeing The Cascade Dress from my last post and it was rather a lot more fabric than I have dyed at any one time. I learned that I am going to need one of those super duper giant enamel canning pots if I intend to dye whole dresses on the regular.

I also threw in a few vintage lace and doily bits. Before I sunk my dress into the murky depths of the black bean dye pot, I did a few experiments with modifiers. On it's own, black bean water can produce purple, purplish grays, blues, and the like. Adding an iron modifier creates a really lovely blue gray, more sombre in tone, or if left to soak for a longer time, it would produce a dark gray. Vinegar, depending on the length of soak, can produce a light fuchsia pink or a brighter purple. Using soda ash as a modifier will create a really pretty vintage cream color. I am sure the variations would continue using other modifiers such as copper, etc, but I'll have to experiment with that at another time.

In the picture above you'll see some of the variations from the black bean dye pots and some from an earlier dye day using Madder.  I love looking at the pieces, especially the vintage bits. I continue to be enthralled with the process of natural dyeing and all of the variations that can happen. It is an ancient process and as with many old ways, it takes time. It's slow color, always changing.

As the seasons change and fresh dyeing ingredients are less available, I'll learn to adapt and work with what is at hand. Not to mention that with the cold moving in, those steaming dye pots will be far more welcome than in the heat of Summer. I started my natural dyeing journey earlier this year, and I can see that there is such a very long way to go yet to learn all the things I desire to. I'm ok with that, in fact, I look forward to many years of learning and travelling along this journey.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Cascade Dress Part Two -

I'm working out all the kinks in grown up version of The Cascade Dress. It needs pockets, you all know how much I love a handy dandy pocket! I'm also uncertain of the contrasting band, but as I plan to dye the whole shebang, I think it will blend nicely. Plus, it's prototype #1. Will there be a prototype #2? Perhaps, I need a little break from this baby.

Going through the process of creating a new design, especially one to be worn by adults, is incredibly detailed, time consuming, and unpaid. It's a real labor of love. It makes one really appreciate handcrafted items; be they clothes, woodwork, print making, knitting, etc. Back in the old days we owned less, so what we owned needed to last longer and... ok, I'm not going to go all Nana on you and wax nostalgic for the way back times, but you know what I mean. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I would hope that we, as a society, thought about what goes into the things we choose to buy. I hope that people understand that when you look at a well crafted item made by someone's hands you understand that hours and hours of passionate labor have gone into it, not to mention quality materials. It may seem expensive to some, but the truth is, most of us makers charge less than the product is worth in time and materials. We don't do it to get rich, we do it because it's what we love and we hope others will love it too.