This Grainline Studios Morris Blazer had a previous life as a twin bedsheet that was made from a twill jacquard Egyptian cotton. Unfortunately the previous owner had a bleach accident and donated the sheet to St. Vinnie’s. I found it in a bin for $.50 and was enamored by the quality and weight of the cotton and by the lovely jacquard design. Hence it came home with me. I removed the elastic and casing and it lived on my “to be dyed” pile for a while. Here is the orphan sheet:
This winter when I was snow dyeing a few items, the sheet received it’s new life. Actually I snow dyed it twice as the first time it turned out too light for my taste, but the second time it came out beautifully. Here’s the link to the first dyeing and one more for the second dyeing.
The Dreaded Muslin:
Most often I don’t make a muslin but because this pattern is intended for stretch woven fabric I used a worn-thin bedsheet to make one and it was worth the effort. Based on this sample I made a narrow back adjustment, my usual sway back adjustment and added a French dart in the front along a fairly large wrinkle line. In the end I probably should have made a size larger as the dyed fabric had minimal “give” whereas the muslin was fairly lightweight and not very stable; a case of over-fitting. As mentioned in some patten reviews, I also scooped out the armhole about 1/2″. Last of all I lengthened the jacket 1.5 inches which is uncommon for me, a height-challenged person.
After the fairly easy jacket construction, I added 1/8″ of uncorded piping to the edge. The inside seams have a Hong Kong finish, made from the lining of a prom dress. Because of the weight of the fabric, I did not use a interfacing, which turned out fine for this jacket.
The Grainline Studios Morris Blazer is: “… a mixture of drape and structure, bracelet length sleeves, and a gentle shawl collar, it looks great dressed up or down. It sews up well in fabrics with stretch making it comfortable for everyday wear.”
This was a really fun project. If you’ve never tried snow-dying or ice-dyeing, it’s really quite easy and fun as you’re always surprised by the outcome. And it’s a great example of how you can find great fabric in a variety of ways.
In the last several posts I shared my new fiber love, which is using pieces of wool to dye other pieces of wool. I’ve named it “Wool on wool dyeing”. To date I’ve only dyed lightweight pieces of wool which were in turn made into scarves and the donor pieces have been wool flannel or wool crepe.
For this, the third experiment, I had a grey, off-white and reddish wool gauze scarf that I accidentally felted and afterward the colors looked dull. My hypothesis was that a piece of royal blue wool would donate enough color to the scarf to revitalize the it. Here’s the grey scarf. To dye the scarf I used the same process as in the previous experiments, although this time I only used a single piece of donor wool, log rolling the scarf along with the blue as below. Of note, the piece of blue wool was tainted by moth holes so there was nothing to lose by using it for dyeing. My friend Martha suggested the “donor” terminology, which seemed quite appropriate for this process. Thank you, Martha.
As with the previous wool dyeing I tied it (though not too tightly as I think the ties stress the fabric and releases excess amounts of color from the donor).
The next step was to dip the wrapped fabric into a slow cooker (this one is reserved for dyeing fabric) 2/3 full of near boiling water. After about 30 minutes I unplugged the cooker, turned the wrapped fabric upside-down and left it in the slow cooker for another 30 minutes.
After the hour in the slow cooker I removed the fabric and allowed it to cool. The last step was to rinse the scarf in cold water (1 cup of vinegar per gallon of water). Now I have a lovely blue scarf.
My sense is that there’s a lot more to learn about wool on wool dyeing, and I can’t wait to take the journey while searching second-hand stores for more wool.
Here are some of the questions I have:
How frequently can a piece of wool be used as a donor?
What is the largest piece of fabric that can be dyed in this manner?
Does water need to be boiling hot or just very hot?
Would a shorter period of time in the hot water be sufficient?
What types of wool can act as the recipient?
What about wool blends – do they work the same as 100% wool?
If you’re tired of hearing about dyeing, skip this one, but I have to tell you I’m not the least bit tired of this method for transforming wool. Several weeks ago I posted about using wool to dye wool. For this project I used the same method but with printed wool.
This project was born when I changed the coat I planned to take on a trip. My red and blue scarf just wouldn’t work with a purple coat. Since I’m on a one year sabbatical from purchasing clothes, I shopped in my stash. I had a piece of lightweight vintage wool (maybe Liberty – not sure) with potential so I tested a small piece with good results before proceeding.
After assembling cranberry wool, the print and a teal wool/nylon blend, I used the same method as described in my previous post. Here’s the before and after photo.
Try it, you’ll like the results.
As you can see on the turned corner (right side of above photo), the front picked up more red and the back side more teal.
By no means did I plan for every post to be about dyeing but here’s one more. This time it’s something I’d only read about on one blog and haven’t found any other references. Caroline D.H. wrote about using wool to dye other pieces of wool. Since I had a piece of off-white wool gauze that wanted to be a scarf and some other scrap pieces of wool, I thought I’d give it a try. Here’s the story.
For some upcoming travel, I wanted a new wool scarf (accidentally felted the old one – oops) but since I’ve joined Goodbye Valentino’s 2018 RTW Fast I couldn’t buy one. In my stash I found a scrap of wool gauze that was long enough but not wide enough for a scarf. So I added some scraps to the side to widen it. With little to lose, I started the wool dyeing process.
Here are the steps:
Selecting the fabrics: I chose a red piece of vintage wool crepe from St. Vinny’s, a royal blue piece of wool flannel that had a few moth holes and a lovely loden twill piece. Each was cut to one yard.
Creating a fabric roll: In the following order, I laid the 4 pieces of fabric on the floor. Red, Off-white gauze, Royal blue, Loden. I rolled them into a log and tied the log so it would stay rolled.
Bathing in Boiling Hot Water: I had very hot (not quite boiling) water ready in an old crock pot and dipped the wool pack in the water bath. After about 30″ I turned it upside down to make sure all of the wool was submerged in hot water and left it for another 30″
Setting the Dye: After cooling the cloth until warm to the touch I dipped the pack in several gallons of warm water with 1-2 cups of white vinegar.
Rinsing and Drying: Rinse the fabric in cool water and placed in clothes dryer
Enjoy the beautiful result. Below are photos of my pieces.
The royal blue has a lovely crinkled look. In the third photo you can see that there was an errant red thread that created a design (and which gives me an idea for future wool dyeing projects. As with the red, I’ll use this piece for future dyeing projects.
The loden is so magnificent I can’t stop looking at it. Since these aren’t my colors, I’m not sure what to do with it but it could easily be cut into 2 scarves.
And last of all, here’s another look my new scarf. The straight lines in the middle are from folding the wool gauze as it was longer than the red, blue and loden. Overall, a great result.
In the last post I talked about dyeing rayon jersey. The second part of that project was to dye an Egyptian cotton thrift store sheet in a greenish-grey color (pretty ugly). I picked it up at the thrift store for $.50. It was newish but had bleach spots. Despite this it had a lovely weave and thus seemed worthy of a new life so I kept it on my “to be dyed pile”.
On the first try at snow dyeing, the sheet turned out OK but it wasn’t transformed into a beautiful piece of fabric so I washed it and set it aside until it snowed again a few weeks later. Below is a photo of the first try.
At any rate, I liked the blue but was less enamored with the greens and pink. Of note, for this snow dye, the snow was very wet, thus saturating the fabric. Not sure if that made a difference but seems worthy of a mention.
On the second try, I used two colors of navy and a deep purple. The snow had just fallen and it was extremely light. As with the first time, I covered the fabric with about 2″ of snow. My thought is that the light fluffy snow didn’t saturate all of the fabric. It’s also important to note that for this second try I allowed the dye to stay on the fabric for 24 hours before rinsing it out.
As you can see below, it resulted in a floral-like pattern. Not sure how this happened, but it surely is beautiful.
Now that the dyeing is complete, the next step is to think about what to do with the fabric. Maybe just own it?
When the snow falls I get the itch to do some snow dyeing. The colors are so vibrant, the patterns fascinating and the result always a surprise.
This year I had two fabrics set aside for dyeing, though I’m sure I could find more in my stash. This a piece of brown rayon jersey I previously put in vat of spent indigo. I’m not sure what I did, but it turned out green and streaky but beautifully soft. Because the fabric had such a nice hand, it was worthy of another “dye job”. You have to admit, it looks barely salvageable.
Now, after snow dyeing, I can’t wait to use it for a t-shirt or sweater.
What are the steps for Snow Dyeing?
Prepare fabric as for any other dyeing project. In a plastic bin or container, scrunch the dampened fabric.
Add a layer of snow, approximately 2″ high, making sure that all of the fabric is covered.
3. After the fabric is covered with snow, begin to sprinkle with dye powder (my choice is Dharma Procion dye).
4. Use a tea or other small strainer to assist in spreading the powder evenly and to avoid clumps which would cause spotting on the fabric. Spread one color at a time, trying to have spots of dye in similar sizes. (Note: I use 3 or 4 colors).
5. Prop up one end of the bin so melted snow will drain away from the fabric.
6. Place the cover on the bin and wait 8-24 hours. Obviously, more time is better if you want deep colors.
7. Rinse and final wash the fabric as with any other dyeing project.
8. Enjoy your creation – or if it’s not to your liking, dye it again.