Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Rust dyeing? Really?

I love to dye fabrics. It is my way of greeting Spring. After spilling dye on a new floor in our last home, I had to pledge that I never would dye anything in the house again. For the most part I've stuck to that rule and dyeing is an outside sport for me. It's safer and healthier too!

There are so many techniques I want to try and so little time but this rust technique has been in the planning for the past year. I have taken walks in the woods and picked up hunks of small rust and my friends have been on the hunt as well. I've gone to the hardware store and purposely asked for washers, nails and other bits necessary to building. "Do you have any nails that will rust? I need them to rust." Not what the burly hardware guy hears on a regular basis! After my last hike in the woods about a week ago I decided it was finally time to tackle my rustomania. I am pleased with the results.

Look at the lovely apricot shade of this soft thick damask shown above. I placed my rust on the outside edges, attempting to mimic a border print.

This is a simple process of wrapping the rusty parts with damp fabric as desired. Then you wet the fabric further with a fifty fifty solution of water and vinegar. Lightly cover with a plastic bag. The rust process needs oxygen to make it occur so no tight wrapping in plastic. I did this out on our soon to be chucked picnic table and left it in the sun. It stayed there 24 hours. While at work all I could think of was getting home and unwrapping my fabric surprise. Did it work? Will it need more time? It can take anywhere from 1 - 3 days and putting it in the sun accelerates the process. It is imperative to keep it wet with the vinegar water solution, For me, this meant doing it on a weekend. If you go too far with the process it will damage the fabric and the iron in the rust will make the fabric difficult to cut and sew. From what I've seen,  24 hours worked just right for this piece. Once finished you also need to rinse the fabric in a salt water or baking soda solution.

Links to more information on rust dyeing can be found here and here.   A lot of the fun of this process is actually hunting down the rusty parts. I don't quite know what this will become and I am already thinking of overprinting it with something. In the meantime it will hang in my studio and please me every time I walk by. I just love dyeing fabric. What would you make with this piece?..................Bunny

Monday, May 4, 2015

Vogue 8630

Right about this time last year I wrote about making a dress for a wedding with this fabric. I had the alligator shoes to match. What I didn't have was the time. At the last minute I caved and bought a little red knit number from TJ Maxx. That worked well but I have still been so wanting to make this same dress. Try again! I think I may make it this time. I am determined and will budget time each day to get it done.

The pattern chosen is really simple and I have seen some nice results on PR. The collar is really lovely, a design that flatters my narrow shoulders and long skinny neck. The dress is a simple sheath with a waistline. I prefer that to deal with my swayback. I will be doing the sleeveless version and like how the collar becomes a bit of a sleeve. The belt? More than likely self fabric. The fabric? Above you see a 100% rayon dress fabric. It's a bit heavier than usually seen but has a lovely drape, The collar will be an matching white linen, a heavy texture to match the rayon. Construction? It calls for a lining. I won't do that. Since rayon can "hang out" and potentially droop on a very humid hot day, I am going to underline it instead. The last wedding I went to, not far from this one, was extremely hot and humid and I think the underlining with Hong Kong seams will work better to support the rayon. I am going to interline with cheap nylon net. WTH.....I read about this some time back. A designer used this to keep dupioni silks from becoming totally wrinkled and the netting goes between the lining and fashion fabric. Again, to hold the shape and prevent wrinkles on a hot summer day. I am anxious to try this technique and feel I have nothing to lose here. Can't wait to report how that goes.

The zipper on this design starts two inches below the neckline and is hidden by the wide collar. Here you can see my beginning muslin. The form is tilting and no side seams are sewn. My sewing plan has me finishing the muslin tomorrow. Just looking at this I am thinking the neckline may be too wide and will show straps. Or do I go strapless? If I had more time I would build in a corset but not this time! The upper back is looking wide, which usually happens. I don't like the simple unsewn slit for a vent and think it looks a bit cheap. I think I will make a more tailored vent instead. We'll see. I also think I will hand pick the zipper, maybe with some beads.  This garment is definitely planned for dry cleaning only. I also think I will need to peg the skirt. Not sure on the length yet. Your vote may help me there.

I also have ordered a hat to go with my outfit and it will work great with this dress as well as with nothing else in my wardrobe. Once I put down my plastic on the hat I was committed to making the dress. So I am focusing on this bigtime. I still have a long queue of projects I want to do including bags and some more linen pieces. Spring has finally arrived here with it hitting the eighties today and yesterday. Yay!  So vacation and it's mandatory after vakay catchup is out of the way. The now dry green yard is calling but this dress has priority. Stay tuned.......Bunny

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Interesting Pinteresting

Have you ever really looked at what's going on with your Pinterest board? Some rather interesting observations can be made with a little digging. You have X number of boards and you may be tracking your followers or not, but odd reflections on sewing and fashion can be found in those silly numbers.

Today I have 4340 followers. Many of my boards, of which there are 70 (Mon Dieu!) seem to hover around the 660-700 mark for followers. But here are some interesting facts regarding the sewing boards:

The "Sewing Tutorials" board has 2284 followers. That board is always growing too. I take this as a really positive sign that sewists want to increase their skill level and are seeking solid information and inspiration.  Here are the  other sewing related boards and their breakdown of followers:

Sewing zippers:  663 followers

Sewing pockets:  656 followers

Fitting:  700 followers   Interesting increase. Does it reflect the concerns sewists have about fit                                                    as opposed to technique? 

Drafting patterns:   687 followers   Also interesting in that it is an almost equal amount to the                                                     other sewing boards. I always thought many sewists could care less                                                        about drafting their own patterns. I am clearly wrong on that. Your                                                       thoughts? Is this evidence of the upswing in PDF patterns, some of                                                         which are drafted by those without design school experience and                                                           finding this online information helpful?  Thoughts?                                            

Sewing linings:  654 followers

Garment finishing:   654 followers

Heirloom sewing techniques;    774 followers  Hooray for that! 


 Sewing techniques & details:    1662 followers     This is my favorite sewing board and it's                                                        because it shows details, many from the runway, that could be                                                                implemented in our own clothing. It's where I keep my inspiration                                                          pics. Do you have a similar board for sewing details? It's fun to go to                                                    when I need  inspiration. The above pic is from designer Ann                                                                 Williamson  who thrills with her surface embellishment skills.

photo courtesy of

         Sew me some bras:       675 followers    I find this really interesting. We have seen bra patterns                                                 proliferating all over the blogosphere and the original instructors in this                                                 area of sewing are in big demand. Craftsy has a bra class. I think this is                                                 reflective of the variance in all human bodies and how motivated we                                                     are to make our own be the most comfortable and best looking, at least                                                 underneath it all. Beautiful bras in ALL sizes are way overdue and                                                         sewing your own is one way to get them.  Have you made  your own                                                     bra? My grandmother used to make all of my mom's and you couldn't                                                   tell the difference from a Vanity Fair. My mom loved them as they fit                                                   so well. I haven't taken the dip yet but it is good to know there is lots of                                                 information out there.

Another fun thing to do with your Pinterest board is to keep an eye on who is following you. You would be amazed! I have two well known followers and was really surprised to see their names as I scrolled through the list. Great pastime for a rainy dreary day! It's also very interesting to see where your followers are coming from. I have a great deal of Hispanic followers which doesn't surprise me given my background. There is a wonderful culture of heirloom sewing in the Hispanic community and some very beautiful work being done. I am glad we have made this connection. 

I have several other boards that are sewing related but not in a way that is reflective of the current sewing landscape so I did not put them here. Are there any particular sorts of sewing boards you look for on pinterest?  Do you follow any/many commercial boards in regards to sewing, like the McCall Fan Gallery, which I love, BTW?  Do you think businesses should be on Pinterest and is there a downside? I have heard of numerous instances of copyright infringement but isn't the whole Pinterest concept one big infringement? Not so sure about that one. Would love to know your thoughts.....Bunny

ETA: Once again, Blogger is giving me grief. I apologize if you are seeing blocks of text that are totally out of sorts and look a bit disharmonious to the eye. Mine in edit/write mode look perfect. Once published they go haywire. At work they looked awful as well so it's not my comp. Sorry for this aggravation.

ETA: Because you asked here is my Pinterest collection of boards:  Thanks for asking.