Sunday, 10 January 2010

Gossip Girl Dress - Prepare to Dye!

So my fabric survived the indignity of being put through the washer and dried on the line and, after a good iron, is now ready to dye....

The first step in the process is to decide which way up to cut your fabric. Like velvet, silk has a nap which means you have to cut all your pattern pieces with the top to the same end. If you don't do this different panels will appear different colours. To decide which end to use as the top I normally pin both ends to my dummy and go from there. It can be hard to see the difference as evidenced by the photo below which I took indoors with the flash on.
But look at the change when I photograph the fabric without a flash. You don't want your front to be one colour and your back another, or have your left and right sides looking different!
I tend to go with the darker end but it's personal preference which way you go.

Once I decided the end to use I laid out my pattern pieces and roughly cut out the bodice and skirt, leaving the remainder to be used for the midriff and any trimming I end up doing. I did cut the waist edge accurately because I need the colour change to line up there.

I marked the right side and top end of all the fabric pieces with safety pins so I don't lose track.

The bodice pieces will just go straight into the colour remover solution so they whole bodice is light. The top edge of the skirt will be dipped so the majority of the skirt is the original colour and the midriff will be cut from fabric dyed using (pretty rough) shibori techniques. Remember when doing this that anything exposed will go light

First here is how I set up the skirt pieces

I laid the front and back pieces so the waist edges were even and fan-folded across all three pieces. I tied a bit of string about 3 or so inches down from the top to mark where I wanted the colour change to stop.
I cut the bottom out of a veggie bag and wrapped it around below the string to protect the rest of the skirt. This bit won't be submerged but it's just to protect it from splashes. Then I wrapped string up to about an inch or so below the waist edge, thinning the amount of string as I got closer to the waist (because I want more light fabric higher up).

Here it is ready to dip in the solution.
For the fabric that will become the midriff and trimming I fan-folded it as with the skirt pieces but used the iron to help hold the pleats in place over the full width of the fabric. Perfection is not the goal here but the fabric is so springy it's difficult to work with if you don't tame it a bit with the iron.

Then I twirled the folded fabric sort of diagonally around a wine bottle, wrapped with string to hold it in place and it's ready to go too.
I'm a bit nervous now, I understand these processes in principle and have messed about with them a bit but there is always an element of 'planned trial-and-error' involved. I am confident it will work out fine but I am always wary of a disaster!

Sadly that's where my story ends for now since silly me forgot to get another package of colour remover yesterday and Perth still doesn't have Sunday trading - grrr. I hope I'll have a chance to get to it mid-week as I really need to get moving if I'm going to wear it on the 30th of this month!


Lilian said...

Wow, talking about taking sewing-creativity to the next level! Good luck with the process. I'm sure it will turn out just fine.

Sew4Fun said...

The process is very interesting. I look forward to the next instalment. I hope all goes as planned.