Solar Dyed and Upcycled

Now

Transformed charity shop blouse – frills cut off, buttons changed, colour changed, white polyester stitching covered over with new stitching, fully mended.

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Then

Colour – It smelt of dead badger after being dyed with onion skins so I left it in coffee for a week in the greenhouse. The colour looks much paler here because of all the amazing sunshine we’re having – I’m not complaining. To get some idea of the colour, the wall you can see behind it is yellow. The blouse is coffee cream and still smells a bit. To solve that, I have a small bottle of cheap vodka to make into a spray – Frankie Beane kindly found the idea on the internet for me.

Buttons – the cream square ones are probably vintage and were found by a friend in a charity shop, but there weren’t enough so I’ve mixed in some others.

Polyester thread just won’t dye using normal methods and most shop bought clothes are sewn with it. The solutions are either unpicking or sewing over the top and making a feature of it.

More solar dyeing

I got some more dock leaves for the linen top and it’s now getting its third dunking. the sun has been strong this last few days and I plan to dry it and then do some berry dyeing.

In case anyone is wondering, docks are a weed, grow abundantly here and are often sprayed to get rid of them. I wouldn’t use anything scarce.

Thanks for dropping by,

Norma x

 

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Filed under Clothes, dyeing, fashion, mending, sewing, solar dyeing, textiles, Thrift, upcycling

More solar dyeing

I’ve had two attempts at solar dyeing my oneyearone outfit Irish linen top. It is now vaguely yellow but not yet the colour I hoped for. I am thinking of using berries for the next stage – you can see reddish patches on the wet fabric and I think I would like more of those.

Dock leaves stink when they’re soaking so they spent time in the greenhouse rather than the house. Oddly though, the smell went after I left the top out overnight. I am leaving it untouched until I find the right dye. According to this book:

Eco Colour by India Flint

the longer you leave the dye before rinsing the better. And I think the book is wonderful, so I’m following the instructions as carefully as possible.

Much smellier is this:

This is a charity shop blouse (frills now cut off) that I’ve solar dyed in onion skins. It was left for 9 days in the greenhouse and came out that lovely orangey gold. You can see it’s covered in flies & I’m really not suprised. I left it out for 24 hours but have now washed it in soap flakes. It’s clean, pale cream and smelly – worse than the decaying badger I ran past today. Not onion but just horrible. Will it go? I don’t know. It’s still pegged to the covered washing line – I’m trying to keep it in the shade to avoid more fading. It’s a pretty colour now but not wearable because of the smell.

So, no especially successful projects so far but I’ll keep trying & let you know what happens.

Thanks for dropping by,

Norma x

 

 

 

 

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Filed under #1year1outfit, Clothes, dyeing, fashion, India Flint, solar dyeing, textiles

#OneYearOneOutfit Progress

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OneYearOneOutfit is really underway now I’ve sewn the Merchant & Mills top. It’s a bit dull at the moment because it’s waiting to go in the dye pot for solar dyeing. The mordant was a carton of sour milk and the first dye will be dock leaves unless I spot something better in the meantime.

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The facts :

Fabric : undyed medium-weight Irish linen bought from a re-enactment trader on Ebay.
Thread: linen from the above fabric run through beeswax (bought from a Farmers’ Market). Obviously, it wasn’t possible to use thread like this in a sewing machine.
Seams : backstiched and then hand overcast to finish.
Hems: hemstitched by hand.
Pattern : Merchant & Mills long sleeved Curlew top from their Workbook. Lining omitted.
Next step: the dye pot!

It took me about 8 hours excluding cutting out – I should think 2 hours would be plenty if I were using a sewing machine. I really like the pattern by the way, and will make it up some other way when I get time.

Why am I doing all this?

I’m trying to make an outfit from my own “fibreshed”, which I believe to mean the British Isles.

So far, I’ve managed to get natural Irish linen fabric and very local undyed Welsh woollen fabric but I haven’t been able to buy threads.

For the linen fabric it seemed best to take short lengths from the fabric itself and wax it for smoothness and strength.

For the wool fabric, my generous friend has very kindly offered to spin me some local wool thread – I’ve had a go with her sample and it works well.

Dyes have to be natural and growing in the fibreshed for this project so I’ve opted for hedgerows, fields and gardens around my home village in mid Wales. I’ll probably keep overdyeing the linen top until I’ve got the colours I like.

If you’re interested in the project, take a look at the principles and the participants here.

Enjoy your week.

Norma x

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Filed under #1year1outfit, Clothes, dressmaking, fashion, sewing, textiles

No pattern tops for starters

Following on from my posting here, I thought I’d show my no pattern tops. They are very good tee shirt replacements for everyday life. This one used 1.5 metres of 1.2m wide fabric. As I’m trying not to save scraps, I’ll make the remainder into one of my fabric pots and some bias binding – both to sell over the summer if I’m lucky.

Me Made May Day 7

A younger me wearing one made from a charity shopped Liberty print skirt

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And the whole collection…

They are all different, but all made by tucking and manipulating fabric to fit my shape. Buttons are my favourite fastenings so they always feature in these tops and dresses.

Odd? Yes, I suppose so, but they can be quite pretty, they are cool to wear and they don’t use much fabric. The dress was made from only 1 metre of 1.5m wide fabric.

Meantime on the 1930s front, I have a blouse I made a while ago which I think will make a good starting point for this:

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Thank you to all those of you who offered sugestions as to where I could find a pattern – I think going through all your suggestions helped me to realise that I actually had something that I could use. I’ll show you soon.

EmilyAnn has some interesting pointers to share on her 1930s dress toile. I am learning a lot from her methods.

And for the #oneyearoneoutfit project, I’ve started sewing the bias Irish linen top. I’ve unpicked some of the threads from the fabric to use as sewing thread as I’ve been unable to source any suitable linen thread. To make it usable I stick to short lengths (about 12 inches)  and pull it through a beeswax block. It seems strong enough. Obviously, handsewing is the only way to do it.

Once I’ve made the top I plan to dye it with plants from my garden (or maybe my neighbours’ fields).

Thanks for dropping by.

Norma x

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Filed under #1year1outfit, 1930s sewalong, Clothes, dresses, dressmaking, sewing, textiles

OneYearOneOutfit – Linen on the Lawn

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10 metres of Irish linen in its natural state – a sort of brownish grey. It’s meant for historical re-enactors but I no reason why it shouldn’t become one of the staples of my OneYearOneOutfit project along with the Welsh wool fabric.

 
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It was a beautiful sunny day here yesterday and I used the resulting hot water to wash 2.5 metres. I don’t know if it has shrunk but I cut plenty anyway – just in case.
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Drying on the lawn. I saw a 1930s advertisement offering Irish grass bleached linen – I thought I’d start mine off that way. It’s already lighter than it was.
I don’t know how long linen was bleached that way to get it white, but how did they keep off stray dogs & cats? Or wildlife? Did someone sit with it. I told my dogs to keep away but both sneaked out to sit on it….
Anyway, it’s ready for the next stage: I’d like that to be soaking the fabric in milk mordant but I’m not sure I have any vessel big enough to hold it apart from occupying the utility room sink with smelly gone off milk for days. I am considering garment dyeing instead.
And what am I making?
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The Curlew top from Merchant & Mills Workbook (Photograph Merchant & Mills). Bias cut and no fastenings. The version above has a lining but I don’t plan to do that.
I think it will work well with my 1930s style Welsh wool skirt.

Why aren’t I working on the skirt? I would except that this one is already a bit too big as I continue my training for the Lake Vyrnwy Half marathon in September. It seems that only the bottom half of me is getting thinner so a top is probably safe to make.

I can get into clothes that I’d put on the “to be cut up” pile – more on what I’ve done in a future post.

 

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Filed under #1year1outfit, Clothes, dressmaking, dyeing, sewing, textiles

1930s Sewalong – Please Help Me!

This is the blouse I was planning to sew for my 1930s outfit – minus the scarf bit – that wouldn’t suit the cotton fabric or me.

But I’ve got a problem. I undid the blouse pattern ready to trace it and found I didn’t like it. I just won’t wear it. I know I won’t.

So here’s plan B:

 

I would like to make the “summer coat blouse” from The Needlewoman June 1934 in the same linen as my skirt. But I can’t find a pattern that I can use as a base. Has anyone seen anything that would work, please? I don’t feel confident that I could cut my own pattern so I need a base to work from.

The cotton fabric won’t be wasted, it will be one of the tee shirts seen here.

All help gratefully received.

Thanks

Norma x

PS EmilyAnn can cut her own patterns – see her blog for the wonderful journey from fabric, through drape to pattern.

 

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Filed under 1930s, 1930s sewalong, Clothes, dressmaking, sewalongs, sewing, textiles

Scrap Happy May

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Random bits & pieces made into dog blankets. No, male dogs don’t mind pink!
I’ve been using up as much as possible this month : I’d like more space in my cupboard and prefer not to have so many bits & pieces hanging around.

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These are A4size quilts made for a lucky dip at The Quilt Association. The quilts go into an envelope and visitors pay a small fee to choose one – no way of knowing what you will get. It’s a fun way of raising funds.
The scraps are from my mother-in-law’s 85th birthday quilt. There are some strips left to make fabric pots.

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Pants in progress, using the remaining fabric from the 1930s dress before it was dyed lavender. 
I’m joining Scrap Happy May over at Tall Tales from Chiconia – why not go over & take a look at what the others are doing?
Thanks for dropping by
Norma x
PS I haven’t forgotten about my other sewing – 1930s and oneyearoneoutfit. There’s a lot going on and I’ll post very soon. X

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Filed under Clothes, dressmaking, patchwork, quilts, scraps, sewing, textiles

Working Wardrobe?

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No, not in an office or a shop but muddy work on our plot growing vegetables and mucking out hens.

I wear these tee shirt replacements with hardwearing trousers (usually jeans) often bought from charity shops. Over the years I’ve found that tee shirts are rarely in reasonable condition in charity shops but a small piece of fabric – new or from someone’s discarded stash – will make a good replacement tee shirt.

The photo shows the best ones I have. One or two are made of fabrics that are a bit too stiff and some are very worn and ready to become cleaning cloths.

Mostly they are hidden under jumpers or even a coat so they’re not much seen. If I really like them (and the ones in the photo are all in that category), I will wear them to town a few times first.

As for jeans, I know quite a few of you wouldn’t wear them but I do because what else can hide the dirt so well and not need ironing when they’ve been washed? They’re even better if they are being saved from landfill. Ideal for my working wardrobe.

Those of you who’ve been following me for a while will know that I can’t even let old jeans die completely. Look here and here for some examples.

What’s in your working wardrobe?

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#1year1outfit – Local Clothes

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Welsh woollen fabric – undyed – yes, this is the colour of sheep. Or some sheep anyway. There are two metres of it; more than enough to make a skirt like this.

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If it looks familiar that’s because it’s the 1934 skirt but with the inverted back pleat I saw Mrs Durrell wearing in ITV ‘s The Durrells.
This is the beginning of my #1year1outfit project.
The skirt poses lots of questions:
Where can I find local threads?
What about fastenings, petersham, bias binding?
And what are the alternatives?

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I have a vast collection of snap fasteners,  hooks & eyes etc. Most of them were found in old sewing boxes and date from the 1970s & earlier when Newey made them in Birmingham. Now, is it in the spirit of the project to use these vintage notions? Please let me know what you think.
I thought I had found an answer to the thread : silk spun in Macclesfield. But it turns out it isn’t.  So if anyone knows of any thread spun in the UK I’d be glad to hear of it.
I’ve been finding out a lot about long gone fabric and sewing industries and will be posting about them as the project continues.
If you are interested,  I bought the fabric from Cambrian Mountains Wool. It’s a new project and very local to me – I live in the foothills.
The top and other garments I’ll leave for future posts.
Thanks for dropping by.
Norma x

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Filed under #1year1outfit, 1930s, Clothes, dressmaking, textiles

Wonder Wool Wales

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Seen yesterday at the Wonder Wool Festival at the Royal Welsh Showground. This was part of a knitted seascape in aid of the Welsh Air Ambulance and Macmillan Cancer Care. Lots of the scene was inside a dark cave so photos weren’t possible.

Thanks for dropping by.

Norma x

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Filed under Knitting, textiles