Some Dyeing and some Dresses

My Merchant & Mills Curlew dress.

The colour is more realistic in the photo taken on the stairs. It’s made of the undyed Irish linen and I’ve used Earl Grey tea to get the gold colour – I am so pleased with it!

The Facts:

Pattern Changes: I shortened the sleeves. I made the top so I didn’t make a toile.

Sewing: I sewed most of the seams by hand and the rest using my 1930s hand cranked Singer. The dress is bias cut so my wonky handsewing holds it quite well. I could have used my modern Pfaff with its zigzag stitch but I wanted to take my time over it.


I made the dress first


This is the original colour.

Then I made Earl Grey tea with about fifteen used bags (store them in the freezer until you have enough), strained the tea and heated the dress with the tea. Left the dress to cool in the tea and then hung it in the shade to dry. Left it two days and then rinsed it, spun it gently and left it to dry in the shade.

I like the Earl Grey colour better than the more orangey shades of English Breakfast tea and I think I’ll try it again for something else.

I don’t usually post everything I make but I like this batik dress. it’s getting a lot of wear in the warmer weather we’ve been having.

The Merchant & Mills Bantam dress.

I’ve also made tops from this pattern. They are really good with jeans and don’t take much fabric so leftovers are used up.

The Bantam has a shirt style so the back is lower than the front. I quite like that, what do you think?

And here’s one of my attempts to cheer up every day wear.


Just added for fun!

No pattern. This is just rectangles tucked to fit.

And for those of you waiting for the tunic

The colour doesn’t show up well on the actual tunic so I’ve included the parcel I made for leaf printing to get a better idea.

The sage leaves became blobs (pretty deep yellow blobs though!) rather than leaves when I tried to print with them. I don’t think I bundled them up tightly enough. If I had enough sage I would use it to dye a whole garment – the yellow really is beautiful.

I got interested in the marks the copper pipes from the hot water tank – so I made some more by wrapping the tunic around the pipes. I think the copper enhanced the yellow rather than made a dye themselves, although if you know about this I’d be glad to hear from you.

The tunic is in store waiting to be decorated further. I think it would benefit from fancy threads to enhance the pattern the copper pipes made.  I’m thinking about it.

So that’s it. I haven’t been keeping up with what you’ve been up to so I’ll be around to your blog to check up on your activities very soon.

Have a lovely week.

Norma x



Filed under Clothes, dressmaking, dyeing, fashion, sewing, slow dyeing, slow fashion, solar dyeing, stashbusting, textiles

13 responses to “Some Dyeing and some Dresses

  1. Oh my! I really like all of your pieces! The color of the linen dress turned out very nice! My daughter and husband drink Earl Grey tea, so my daughter found this interesting. The top is so bright and cheery, and it looks so nice on you! You’ve been busy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Deb

    I really like your cheerful top!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good to hear more about your dyeing adventures – I never would have thought that Earl Grey gives such a different colour from English breakfast tea. Love your Curlew dress – interesting how simple the Merchant and Mills patterns are and yet they do make up as something special.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Norma, I love the Earl Grey color, it looks very flattering on you. I think the kind of orangey color from the more common teas like Lipton would not go well with your hair and complexion. What I love about the Curlew dress is that it has a flattering shape without any darts or close fit. I think you did fine with the sewing because the dress looks smooth, there’s no pulling. I’m not sure zig-zag is needed for a bias dress since the seams should not shred. I’d be concerned that the bias might stretch due to the extra tension needed for a secure zig-zag stitch.

    With your cute little top and batik dress you have a cool and pretty summer wardrobe.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I really like the neckline of the linen dress. It’s a pretty shape and drape. And the top is very cute! Good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. All lovely! I’m always amazed at the colours you can come up with when dyeing fabric.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love the tops, especially the cheerful one.

    Liked by 1 person

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