Monthly Archives: August 2008

Creating Customs

I’ve slacked in updating my blog but I have been busy creating custom orders! Yea for getting back into the creative groove. Try as I might sometimes I am just not feeling it. I can’t force myself to sew. No, I take that back, I can’t force the muse. She only visits on her terms!

First let me start by saying I think this is by far my favorite creation to date!!! I have a deep rooted…no pun intended 🙂 LOVE for trees! I was always climbing and hanging out in them as a child. Hey, I didn’t get the nick name dd bird for nothin! Anyway this dress will be worn during a wedding ceremony due to take place on the Autumn Equinox in Canada. How very exciting and quite and honor to be asked to create someones wedding dress. I also made her husband-to-be’s wedding pants. They both feature fall inspired Seminole patchwork. I decided to incorporate some of the same fabrics into both pieces as a way to represent their new shared union. The bride really liked this idea as did I.

I decided to use a cotton twill for the base of the pants for several reasons. 1. Men are a bit harder on their clothes and 2. Canada is cold so I figured the extra weight would come in handy. All seams were not only straight stitched and serged but top stitched as well. Man did that take a while! But it is so worth the extra invested time!

This is another custom I recently finished. For those readers that check my website this top may be somewhat familiar. It was based off the Woodland Patchwork apron top that I sold at the Rothbury Festival. I will not recreate an item exactly. I don’t like doing things twice…what’s the fun in that? Also I usually do not have the same fabrics left over so I couldn’t even if I wanted to. I told her I would create something similar. Same style different fabrics. Looking back the only thing I wish I had done differently is fabric placement on the bodice. I placed two similarly…is that even a word??? shaded fabrics next to each other. So when photographed it translated into what looks like a large cream strip. The fabrics are really different you just can’t tell in the picture.

Here are a few pictures of summer customs past…

This skirt was made from hand dyed hemp and corduroy. She features strawberry and tangerine appliques. The mama who ordered this has been called Tangerine her whole life so this skirt was very special for her!

This was a Summer Solstice wedding dress based off the Mini Dot dress I created last summer.

And finally a random patchwork summer length dress.


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Dork of Dye

Last weekend I spent some quality time with my washing machine. I dyed two batches of bamboo jersey for a custom order that I am working on. I grabbed my camera and decided to snap a few pictures of the process.

**Disclaimer**
I am in no way a dye master nor do I claim to be. 🙂 There really is no precise method to my madness. I tend to shake things up a bit and change my variables because I am curious as to how it effects the final outcome. I’m what you call a dump and dye kind of gal. I don’t measure the dye which is a big no no. So if I ever had to recreate an exact shade, well I’m pretty much screwed!

Step 1: Rounding Up the Supplies
Here I have my soda ash which sets the color, synthrapol a professional textile detergent, my dye fixative, fabric softener specially formulated for dyed fabrics, salt, gloves, face mask and of course the star of the show…procion dye in a lovely Olive Drab color.

Step 2: Adding the salt
Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble. Yes, I am totally aware of how much of a dork I am! 🙂

Step 3: Adding the Dye
I use procion dyes because it bonds with the fiber at a molecular level, becoming chemically part of the fabric. I love how the dye in no way looks anything remotely close to the actual shade I am attempting to achieve.

Most often people mix the dye into a paste, then add more water until it becomes a slurry and then add it to the water…not me baby. Here I am oh so carefully *measuring* out the dye! 🙂

And remember…Safety First!

Step 4: Agitating the Dye Bath


Step 5: Adding the Fabric


Step 6: Soda Ash
This and the salt I *kind of* measure. Soda Ash tends to cake up once water is added so you really have to mix it up good. It is used to raise the ph of the water.

Step 7: Agitate, Soak, Repeat, Agitate, Soak, Repeat, Agitate, Soak, Repeat…
This goes on for hours folks!!! Usually I remember to have a timer attached to my person but every once in a while I put it down and forget to clip it back on. Then I hear the buzzer going off and panic shoots though me as I franticly run through the house trying not to loose my dye bath down the drain…which sad to say I’ve done! Total Pisser!

Step 8: Wash, Rinse, Repeat
In this step I use synthrapol, which pulls out the remaining loose dye and helps to prevent back staining. Then I add the dye fixative and fabric softener. The final product….

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