Slow Sewing and Dyeing

The start of leaf printing – I hope! Those are sage leaves taken from a plant outside the door and laid out on the tunic. It looks white here but it is a pretty, pale yellow. I have read that garden dyes are hard to photograph unless there is plenty of sun: unfortunately, it’s been dismal here this week so I’ll have to make do.


The tunic parcelled up ready for steaming.

The tunic is very damp and sitting in the cupboard with the hot water tank. It’s not really drying so I’m thinking about opening it out and using the iron to dry it. I’m in unknown territory here so I can’t quite make up my mind. Interestingly, the copper pipes in the cupboard are leaving their mark on the fabric. I don’t know whether it’s permanent or not. I’m recording everything in detail so I can post about it afterwards.

And this is the result of painting with egg:


The white strip (actually pale grey) shows the before colour of the linen contrasted with the dyed colour.

After two weeks sitting in a pot with dandelion heads the painted lines have absorbed most of the dye. I am thinking of adding another colour to the skirt – one that’s too pale to colour the painted lines further but will add a little something to the background. Maybe dock leaves?


This is the dress I’ve made from the same roll of Irish linen as this top and the painted skirt. It’s the Curlew dress pattern from Merchant & Mills: a lovely bias cut pattern. I’ve made it mostly by hand but used the Singer hand crank for staystitching and also (oddly – no idea why) for the the bias binding round the neck. I’m planning a milk mordant this weekend and then it’ll probably go into the solar dye pot with bramble tips (expecting a pinkish colour but we’ll see).

It has been lovely to slow down the sewing in this way.  I’ve thought about every step so carefully and it’s limited the unpicking. Am I the only sewist to race away with my machine only to unpick later? It seemed very simple to ease the sleeve into the armhole by hand whereas it’s a stressful process for me by machine.

Well, I think that’s all to report. Please feel free to ask questions as I haven’t put lots of detail into this.

Thanks for dropping by,

Norma x





Filed under Clothes, dresses, dressmaking, dyeing, fashion, sewing, Singer sewing machines, slow dyeing, slow fashion, solar dyeing

10 responses to “Slow Sewing and Dyeing

  1. I don’t think you’re alone on the racing and then picking. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rushed at something, only to have to rip it up. That dress is lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice to see things step by step and there is nothing wrong with slow sewing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I once appliqued a section on a pieced block because no matter how many times I took it apart I couldn’t make the corners match. Sometimes slow is the only way to go!


  4. Norma, I can see the light shade of green from the new laptop I’m using right now. It is lovely. I look forward to seeing how the leaf printing turns out. I do miss your more frequent postings but all good things are worth the wait. I learned more than once that haste makes waste. We are all into our sewing and designing because it is a joy. It completes a deep seated need to work with our hands and express the vision in our hearts and minds. I find that if I start a project with an artificial deadline it does not make me more productive, just more stressed. The effects are cumulative: a mistake in the pattern and fitting continues down to the finished garment. And then there is the fretting and trying to cover up the mistake. There’s no learning and growing just lots of motion. Congrats on mellowing out and learning to let the process teach as it unfolds.

    Liked by 1 person

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