Monday, September 6, 2010

Not long until the holidays

So I am putting it out there, that I am happy to take custom orders for Christmas/Hanukkah presents.   If you think that you'd like something from me, now is a good time to email me to discuss as I am limited by two things...time available to work freely without children underfoot and how I dye.

I thought this might be a good opportunity to talk a little about how I work.  Will attends preschool two days a week.  These are my two days to do work.  I only get about 5 hours each of those days because I have to pick the kids up from school.  And some weeks I have to drop them off although I am fortunate that Col does the dropping off two weeks out of three.   I also try to do some work in the evenings, but some nights I am just too tired or unmotivated.

Because I don't use clothing blanks, I sew each garment or item that I dye.  This is totally intentional on my part as many times the dyed design fits with the shape of the garment.  Or I dye the fabric and cut the pieces as part of the design.  This also means that I am confident in the quality of the construction as I have made the garment myself.

My method of dyeing is such that I tend to mark and tie pieces and then soak them in soda ash. The peices are hung to dry and then I apply the dye.  I don't just slap the dye on.  It is carefully applied to each piece.  Then after the dyeing process I have to rinse out my pieces.  This means that I rinse the excess dye out in the sink and then machine wash it at least 2 times, but usually 3 times.  I do this because I do a lot of rainbow work,  and I want to ensure that the shirt, dress, skirt will look the same wash after wash.  Green loves to run into yellow if it gets a chance!  

For example, to make a rainbow redondo skirt...
It's a rainbow redondo

  1. I cut the skirt out.  For each skirt that would be 11 pieces.  
  2. I have to sew each spiral (each spiral is 2 pieces)
  3. I have to mark and tie each spiral as each piece is dyed two colours.  The marking and tying helps me to make sure that the pieces are dyed evenly, and it also helps to keep the colours separate as the tie is a resist.
  4. Pieces are soaked in soda ash then allowed to dry (the drying takes a couple of days, but sometime more if it is cold or wet)
  5. Pieces are dyed.
  6. Pieces are rinsed/washed out...first in the sink and then in the washer and for the first wash the yellow green pieces are not washed with any of the other colours to help maintain their clarity of colour.
  7. Pieces are tumble dried (to ensure no more shrinkage)
  8. Pieces are ironed
  9. Spiral pieces are sewn together...overlocked and topstitched.  I change topstitching thread for each different spiral so the threads match.
  10. Waistband sewn to the skirt
  11. Skirt finished with a rolled hem
I do all of this myself.  I like doing it, but as you can see it is a process.
Ok, if you've stuck with me though my essay, here are some pretty pictures of some of the silk flannel blankets that I made a couple of weeks ago.  (these two are available)

This talking of dyeing reminded me that I have some dyes to give away.  I just need to photograph them, so keep an eye out for that.


Karen said...

They really are works of art Sara -I am tempted to not let the girls wear them - they are too lovely!

The Handmaden said...

Great post Sara, particularly for those who are not involved in arts or crafts. These things we do that are brushed off as "hobbies" are much more than that really, we invest so much of ourselves into them.
Dyes to giveaway? I'll be watching with keen interest!

nerines said...

That's an amazing amount of work and it's really great to learn about the process.
Your spiral skirt is incredible!:)

Clodagh a.k.a. Isra said...

Amazing work Sara, and those blankets are wonderful works of art. You really are ever so talented!

Louise said...

Wow - those silk blankets are so beautiful!

Cass said...

Wow - that's a lot of steps to make the skirts. So, so worth it though! :)

purple pineapple said...

holy cow! how absolutely gorgeous and inspiring!