Monday, 27 September 2010

A rusty bustle skirt - Alter It Monthly entry

When I saw that September's theme at was rust I just couldn't resist having a go. You see, I've been boring my family silly for months with rust dyeing. It started when dh found a bowl of rusty nails while building our new chicken shed. Since then I have used it to dye calico, muslin, bamboo velour (going to make a lovely hoody from that) and there's some silk in there at the mo. So I thought I'd create a rusty bustle skirt for this month's entry - maybe I should call it a rustle skirt.

I used a rust dyed Sanderson curtain with rust dyed calico for the main skirt. The pocket is a rust dyed cluny lace table mat which has been sewn on in a feathered straight stitch.

I used some rust dyed vintage cluny lace for the waist decoration, machine stitched the word 'rust' then accented it with some rusty discs from the dyeing bowl.

The waist ties are made with rust coloured bias binding and have a clock face and key dangling from the ends.

I think it has quite a steampunk feel.

UKStampers mail art swap

I recently received this beautifully stamped card as part of a mail art swap on UKStampers :)

Thank you LME, it is lovely and the colours are very me.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Simple strip quilt

This quilt is a basic strip quilt using a Bar Harbor scrap bag for the strips and a pair of vintage Sanderson floral curtains with oriental bird design for sashing and backing. The batting is organic cotton and it is quilted 'in the ditch' around the strips. This quilt is destined for our bedroom once it is re-decorated.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Altered Element DT - Dainty apron

In the August DT pack I had a lino cutting kit which I used to design a greek horse stamp. I decided to experiment further with the stamp using Jacquard Lumiere, my favourite fabric paint with it's great texture and slight shimmer. The greek horse seemed to lend itself well to a vintage nursery theme so I set out to evoke a bygone era with a dainty apron.
This apron, made to my own design in heavy unbleached loomstate calico, has been stamped with Jacquard Lumiere which has then been heat set with an iron. Accents are provide by stitched framing, muslin layering and a variety of machine stitching in red. It is finished with red tulle ties. Being wearable art, it is designed to be worn and can be washed gently at a low temperature. Pretty but practical.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Bark - nuno felted scarf

My play with procion mx dyes and scrim/cheesecloth produced some colourful pieces of fabric ideal for nuno felting (felting wool onto fabric). To do this the fabric needs to be fine and loosely woven, making scrim ideal. Methods of felting do vary and I don't stick religiously to any one method.

I took a piece of dyed scrim and cut it to the required length - the felting process will shrink it by 20-30%. I decided not to finish the edges as I wanted a more organic, unstructured look. On my table were towels and bubble wrap, which I laid the fabric onto. I layered wool roving in random directions, overlapping yet leaving some areas free from wool, adding a touch of wensleydale fibres to the edges. I layered quite thickly as I wanted a bark-like effect but a finer scarf would need much less wool. I then covered the area with net and sprayed with cool soapy water. I did not use warm water yet as I wanted the fibres to start to adhere to the fabric before felting.

I then rubbed soap over the net and rubbed the fabric until the fibres had travelled through the fabric, initially patting down, then using circular movements. Occasionally I had to lift the net as the fibres were attaching to that.
Once the fibres were adhered and no longer moved around I removed the net, placed bubble wrap on top and rolled the scarf around a piece of swimming noodle, securing it with elastic bands. I rolled it 100 hundred times from each end, then rinsed in hot water and repeated this several times. It is important to change sides and direction for even felting.
I then removed the scarf from the noodle, stretching it into shape. I submerged it in hot water and it was the folded into a parcel and thrown onto the floor 25 times, opened and refolded and repeated - this was done several times. Finally it was rinsed in cold water and dried.

The places without wool have developed delightful puckers and gathers, with great texture. A lovely autumnal scarf.

Cotton scrim, procion mx, wool roving and fibres are all available from The Altered Element.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Altered Element DT tutorial - bag dyeing with Procion MX

I do a lot of dyeing when producing clothing for my store, most commonly using the low water immersion technique on organic bamboo velour, a delightfully strokable fabric. But there are many different ways to apply Procion MX and today I thought I'd show you how to dye in a polythene bag. The measurements given are based on those by Ruth Issett in her book 'Colour on Cloth', though I tend to be flexible in how I stick to these. This recipe makes approx 6 bags of fabric.

Firstly, make up your chemical bases and label and store in airtight containers:

Chemical water:
140g urea
1 tsp Calgon
1 litre warm water

Soda ash solution:
20g soda ash
1 litre very hot water

Select your dyes. If dyeing is new to you, try starting with the 6 basics: lemon, golden yellow, scarlet, magenta, turquoise and ultramarine. For each colour mix a teaspoon with 25mls of warm water, not too hot, stirring well to dissolve all lumps. Add 100mls of chemical water to each pot.

Select your pre-washed fabrics. If you want to experiment on different types of natural fabrics then cut 5-6 squares of fabric per bag, approx 15 by 30 cms each. If you want to dye larger amounts then increase the proportions of mixtures added to suit. I wanted to dye some craft muslin/scrim for a project so chose to cut narrow lengths of this instead.

Add 25mls of dye solution to a bag and squeeze the bag to ensure that the dye reaches all areas of the fabric. Add more dye mix if needed. This can be a different colour if preferred, which can give interesting results if carefully handled, but do be aware that if you use a mix of 3 primary colours it may turn muddy brown if mixed too vigorously. Tie the bag and leave for 10 mins. Repeat for all 6 bags. I made my 3 bags with orange, golden yellow, green and brown dyes, which I used in combination.
After 10 mins add 25 mls of soda solution (more if more dye mixture was added) and squeeze to ensure absorption.

Tie up the bags and leave overnight. Next days, rinse in cold water then wash with a cleaning solution such as Synthrapol or Colsperse. Rinse until clear. I do all this in a washing machine but I'm lazy and often have large amount of fabrics to finish :) For craft purposes. soaking and rinsing by hand may give a deeper colour.

Check back over the coming weeks to see what I did with my dyed scrim ;)

Goodies received from CNA craft swap

Recently on Cloth Nappy Addicts I took part in a craft swap, using stash to make anonymous goodies for a partner. Yersterday I received my swap and I love it!
I received a gorgeous and roomy messenger bag in William Morris' Blackthorn (gren colourway) and purple trims. It is just what I need as I've been meaning to make myself a large bag for ages. And it was accompanied by a matching chipstone bracelet in just the right colours, sitting on a square of the same fabric.
Thank you swapee, they are lovely :)