2.25.2013

lessons in working with what you got

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This weekend I really got the urge to make some clothing. I mean, I pretty much always have this urge, it just doesn't always get fulfilled because of time and life and work and blah blah blahfreakingyawn. I've been sitting on McCall's 6436 for a couple of weeks now after picking it up in the last $1.99 sale (love those things). Finding a nice, normal, woman's shirt pattern seems rather tricky, but this one looked inoffensive enough, and even a bit like those Equipment blouses I've been coveting for, um, ever. I had beautiful images of a whole army of these classic, everyday blouses in easy to wear, solid, crepe-de-chine. Colors like navy. Or white. Or (lets get crazy) plum. I would wear them every day and they'd solve that weird hole in my wardrobe and I'd finally be on my way to creating a perfect, daily uniform! I'll look like a Jcrew catalogue! Wardrobe bliss shall be mine!!

But as I mentioned in my last post, I already blew my fabric budget this month and so I've been sitting on my hands until payday rolls around again (worst. feeling. ever.) Looooonnnnng Sufffferrrinnng Siiiiggghhhh.....

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What's a sewist to do? I'll tell you what she's to do. You put on your big girl panties, throw your stupid ideal out the window and make something! What I don't have is cash to buy more silk. What I do have is silk. Yeah. I know. Just sitting there. I always talk about how I don't really have a stash, and this is mostly true (I keep a couple yards of special fabric around, just waiting for the perfect project, like any sane person) but I did have about two yards of silk habotai that I bought for dyeing. I'm sure I had it earmarked for something special, but like I said, sometimes you just gotta throw that ideal image out the window. 

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So I set to work dyeing my silk habotai. If I'm going to go to the trouble of dyeing my own fabric you can bet your butt I'm not just going to dye it a solid navy. Oh no! We're going to make it a little special. I decided to depart from my past tendency (see here or here) of haphazardly mucking the dye about until I ended up with something I didn't hate and instead tried to work off of a grid system. I also wanted something that wouldn't overwhelm my shirt pattern and so I settled on a polka-dot design (because who doesn't love polka dots?!) Of course it's me doing it so I wasn't too concerned about making the dots the same size, or too evenly spaced. I mean, the beauty of hand painting anything is being able to see the hand

I also realized that one of the things I was never totally happy about with my past dyeing experiments was the color.  I don't know why it took me two whole tries to come to this conclusion, but it makes perfect sense. Any color "straight out of the tube" always looks a bit manufactured to me.  In painting one of the first things you learn is to mix your colors - even if you're painting a red flower, you never use the red straight from the tube. I found the same to be true of the dye colors, even the premixed colors look better when they get muddled about a bit. For this fabric I mixed "seafoam" and "steel gray" to get the subtle minty base color and then mixed "plum" and "strong navy" for the purple-y dots.  Is it obvious yet that I only bought dyes in shades of blue? I need to remedy that because I'm getting a bit bored by it! I would have liked to push the purple color more towards magenta, but alas! No warm tones!

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I really love the way this fabric turned out. It reminds me a bit of the playful Nani Iro prints. It has the classic look of polka-dots, but with a quirky and offhanded painterly quality. It won't make quite the understated blouse of my dreams, but I think it will be beautiful all the same. In fact, it might be even better.

Take that dream wardrobe.

Oh! And P.S. For those of you that may be wondering, I'm still plugging away at my quilt. I got two more rows done during the evenings this past week. My vehement distaste for the whole thing has, well, paled a bit. And as I said, I'm determined to finish. Because quitters never win... or in this case quitters never get cozy bedding.  

xx

28 comments:

  1. Beautiful! I've always wanted to try my hand at dyeing fabric, but I'm too chicken that I'll ruin the fabric/waste the dye. Maybe I should try my hand at it with some scrap bleached muslin that I have laying around before jumping in to the silk...do you think that would work?

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  2. Oh you! I am so excited for our little project! Especially seeing this lovely effort. You know I love this pattern (my shirt turned out beautifully, I'm hoping to post this week) but be mindful with the sleeves. Something fucked up happened for me and the sleeve was much larger than the opening so I had to gather a bunch at the top oven though the sleeve did not call for gathers. Either a drafting error on their end or I messed up somewhere but I 'm blaming them for now. Can't wait to see the final project!

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  3. Beautiful. Inspirational. Thank you.

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  4. Miss Crayola CreepyFebruary 25, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    Sallie you are so talented! What beautiful beautiful fabric. I know it will become something amazing!

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  5. asewingodyssey.blogspot.co.ukFebruary 25, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    Oooh, loving the colours you've created....lushhhhh!

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  6. i loved this post! this is a lesson i need to learn as well... can't wait to see the final creation!

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  7. wowza! gorgeous polka dots!! I got the same shirt pattern during the sale--it really does look like a great basic blouse. I don't think I'll get to use it for a few months yet, but I can't wait to see what you make.

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  8. Oh good golly! I just love this! The fabric is insanely gorgeous and I'm so so so tempted to just blatantly copy you. Its absolutely beautiful! Oh you are such a clever minx - and I was definitely thinking, "where did she get that nani iro in silk!!??" Can't wait to see your new shirt!

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  9. really pretty print, and I'm sure the coming blouse will be beautiful. You're so inspiring!

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  10. This is just so beautiful. Will definitely be an unexpected twist on the classic shirt - in the best possible way! I'm desperate for Grainline Studios to release her new shirt pattern, Archer. It looks perfect from what I've been spying on Instagram... and I have my eye on the perfect charcoal crepe de chine.. My eye, not yet my wallet unfortunately...!

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  11. I immediately thought of nani iro when I saw this (good Gods I love nani iro)! I love that you mixed your own custom colors, because you're right, that's the way to make it look more ...well, custom lol. And I super love that you are taking the handmade garment realm to the next level by essentially making your own fabric. That is something truly special! You're so amazing.

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  12. this is going to be amazing. i can't wait to see the final project. i have been wanting to make my muslin of that pattern, just havn't gotten around to it.

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  13. xeniat.blogspot.comFebruary 25, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    Not only am I impressed with this gorgeous silk, I'm also impressed with your keeping in-budget! Your will-power has lead to such ingenuity :) I wish I could pull off the "silk shirt' look, it's so chic and effortless (I'm too short and stocky). I know your gonna rock this, though!

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  14. The pattern is now release :)

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  15. I'm big against the using the word panty but when I read "big girl panties," I didn't mind it, mostly because I can imagine you kicking ass in some BIG GIRL PANTIES (Amerson?).


    Your dyeing adventures are very interesting, especially the part about dying out of the tube. I remember that from art school too. Mixing is a must. I bought various dyes while I was in NY so that my bra notions can make the fabric. I'm crossing my fingers for how it will turn out.

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  16. sooo pretty.. i'm a sucker for polka dots, and i love your freehand polka dots way more than regular ones.. thanks for the inspiration :) all that fabric creation you're up to lately made me want to experiment with paint myself, and it's just so frigging fun

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  17. Lovely! I should paint more fabric. I agree with you both about using what you have - just do it! There's no point in nice fabric just sitting in the stash. And about color straight from the tube - ever since I learned to mix them there's no looking back!

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  18. Love the concept. I too have a closet full of fabric and yet I am still putting things on my wishlist. Though the last project I posted was using up old fabric I got from trading. I even dyed the lace!

    xoxo Lorelai
    Seams Unbiased

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  19. So pretty! And I LOVE your blue hued palette!

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  20. Ha, we are thinking alike this week! I've been craving an Equipment style blouse. Made one a few years ago but it's so boxy. So this week I finally got down to drafting one myself. Can't wait to see what you come up with so we can compare notes! I really need to improve my shirtmaking skills.... Oh and this color is lovely. I love dye mixing! I tend to get a bit perfectionist about color ;)

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  21. I love your handmade polka dots!! Glad to hear you're plugging away on the quilt - it really does get addicting, you just wait...

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  22. This looks amazing - so clever.

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  23. I think I may have just had an epiphany, caused by your creative insight. I've always wondered why looking at those packets of dye... they just didn't feel right. Now I know - it's the whole manufactured thing. In fact, I bought some dye a while back but hadn't felt right using it... so I'm going to try exactly that. Mix it up!
    The dots are fabulous, this is going to sew up into an awesome blouse. Asymmetrical and unstructured always makes me feel naughty in a giddy, awesome way. Probably because in my field of work, asymmetrical and unstructured gets yo'ass fired. Breaking the rules was never so much fun!

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  24. Yay! Just saw after I'd written this comment, and purchased immediately :)

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  25. I can relate all too well to holding on to that ideal of what you see in your head instead of going with what you have at hand. But I have experienced that when you 'throw that ideal out the window' the result tends to be surprising and better than I would have imagined. The fabric turned out beautiful! I can't wait to see how the blouse looks.

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  26. This is so beautiful! I love it! Can't wait to see what you make with it!

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  27. I would buy that - I love the colours. So pretty

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