Monday, 18 January 2010

Gossip Girl Dress - Dyeing results

When I last reported on this project all the pieces were wrapped up and ready to dye.

To discharge the colour from my silk pieces I mixed up two packs of Rit colour remover in a large plastic tub. I topped up cold water with a couple of kettles of boiling water to try and get the dye bath warm. You want to use water as hot as the fabric can take, but I was doing this outside so it was tricky to access hot water. I didn't want to go too hot for the silk anyway.

A note on safety. This stuff is really toxic so use all the usual precautions. Always wear gloves and wear a mask while you are working with any dye in its powder form. Also, the dye remover stinks real bad so do it somewhere well ventilated.

I scooped out some of the solution into a jar to dye the skirt pieces...

The rest of the pieces went in the dye bath...

I kept the bodice pieces moving pretty regularly so they didn't go patchy, but the other pieces were fine to leave alone.

Here are the results with a piece of the original (unwashed) fabric for comparison.

First the midriff piece.
One of the skirt pieces.
And a bodice piece.
I think the solution mustn't have been strong enough because even though I left the piece in for the full 30 minutes, the resulting colour is not what I achieved on the sample. I could probably go back in and fade it out some more but I actually don't mind the blue-green that I got (it reminds me a little 0f verdigris). If I tried to do more I might ruin it altogether.

Another piece of not-great news is that I don't think we are actually invited to the wedding after all. The groom never mentioned it being a family-only event the last time we saw him but, since no one amongst the friends has received an invitation yet (and it's less than two weeks away) we have figured we are not going to get one. We all understand that weddings can be expensive and you can't necessarily invite everyone, so it's not a problem not to be going. Plus there is another wedding coming in April or May so I'll still get to wear the dress. Perhaps it's good not having such a tight schedule. It was 43 degrees (Celsius) today and yesterday and my sewing room is not air conditioned which makes everything feel like really hard work!

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