Sunday, July 29, 2012

I gave up!

I have been working very hard on Danny's Project and the end is looming. I need to have it complete to deliver to his parents when I attend a wedding out of state in two weeks so that has been the total focus of my sewing lately. It is not so interesting posting about something that evolves in ways I hadn't planned. As it is being completed I am getting pleased with what it will look like, I hope. I want this to be so special for his parents.

Oh, that dress I was making for the wedding taking place in two weeks? Fugetabotit! It just isn't going to happen and I so wanted to make it but it's definitely not the priority right now. Once I officially decided I couldn't pull it off I made plans to go shopping for a dress instead.

I live in the boondocks, the land of plaid and denim, cowboy weddings, and Kmart Couture. I am attending a wedding that will be just the opposite out of state. Oh, what to wear?

If you are a sewist, and I know you are, you have to do what I did yesterday, even if you don't need a dress for a wedding. It was enlightening to say the least and I think will greatly contribute to the success of your sewing endeavors. Hear me, Newbies?

I went to the big city yesterday, pop. 15,000,  and hit our gold standard of retail, TJMaxx and JC Penneys. Ok, you can stop laughing now, but it's true. It's also the only two places where I can pick up petite clothing. At Penney's I struck out dress wise, just mostly too old lady-ish or street chic looking. I needed something more in between. It was off to TJ's.  I had no plan in mind for my outfit. I went to the racks and pulled out every dress that would fit, no matter what the style,  a la Stacy and Clinton. Then I took my heap and started trying on in front of the the 360º  mirror. Very, very informative experience, vacillating between near tears of disappointment  and wow, that really looks pretty good. This went on for 2 1/2 hours! There were dresses that were totally wrong on me like the very full horizontal stripe number with long puffy sleeves. I did figure out that my arms weren't that bad since I lost a few pounds the past few months so decided to give sleeveless a go. That helped broaden the offerings. Here's a few things I figured out:

* Try on everything in your size, even if ugly or you think it won't work.  You will be totally surprised by what does and doesn't look good.  If I made my judgements on the rack I never would have ended up with my final choice or the bit of education I got.

* I can get away with a short skirt and it actually looks much better proportionwise than the longer length this aging hippie tends to favor. Try the short skirts. It will look much more youthful and your legs don't have to be long and perfect. Mine sure aren't.  Five years taken off there!

* Be amazed by color. This was the most enlightening aspect of the whole game. I tried on a dress that stylewise was totally inappropriate for my body. Think of Carmen and the cigarette girls in Verdi's opera. But man, the colors made my face literally light up. My hair coloring is different now so this refresher course needed to happen.  I have learned that a combo of turquoise, pale grey and white is probably better with my hair and skin coloring than anything any seasonal swatch has ever told me. If I were doing a SWAP, and I won't be, those would be the colors. I didn't know this before my try on binge.

* Lace is good. The sweet little lacy dresses with the gathered skirts looked cute and worked great style wise for a petite,  but alas, the scoop necks nearly guaranteed an accurate belly button measurement. That happens when you are five feet tall.

* I found great dresses that in a former life I would have bought in a heartbeat. They weren't formal enough for this wedding however. You have to get what you need, not what you want. Isn't that the problem with a lot of society today? People get what they want, not what they need. So this was an exercise in self restraint as well.

* Bring an admirer. The little teen leaning on the dressing room door helping her mom pick out a swim suit will be of no use to you if you are alone. She could care. Now that admirer must be someone who will totally tell you if it is a go or no go. I almost always shop alone but felt like my bff  Jocelyn would have been a great help. I told her so last night.

My final choice was a sleeveless red knit with this great draping thing off the deep v neck back, rather plain as seen head on. It made my butt shrink and the scoop neck would have been Pope approved. So now it is time to find some great jewelry to jazz it up a bit.

Treat yourself to a day of fun and enlightenment. Bring a good friend. Try on everything that fits, not just what you like. The next time you pick out a pattern or fabric you will be much more educated. Going on line to fashion sites help but nothing works like actually trying on clothing. Make no judgements. No diet or weight thoughts are allowed, spoken or thought. Just look at what is working on you. Have a ball...Bunny

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What is a Master???........



***********************************************************************************

Ah, the Masters of the Sewing Universe......

First, what is a Master? Well, tomes could be written on that topic and I am sure controversy would ensue. For me these are people passionate about stitching, craftmanship and design. They have honed their craft in the couture world over years, love teaching  others their passion, and are the go to source for anything  that needs the perfect solution to a sewing challenge. Their careers are marked by couture history,  superb teaching credentials, inpressive clients, and great talent in design. They are often published as well, either in print or cyberspace. In no great order here are the three I have chosen.

Susan Khalje

Susan Khalje got her couture chops working at Chez Cez et Bez, a couture salon in NY city. Her 25 years as a couture dressmaker have given her incredible skills which later translated  to a position as fashion designer and manufacturing supervisor on Seventh Avenue in NY city. In 1993 she started The Couture Sewing School, making the learning of these fine skills possible in many  other areas of the country. She can be found teaching from Baltimore to LA and internationally as well. She offers an annual trip to Paris which would certainly be the ultimate sewing experience for any serious sewist. Ms.Khalje is also currently teaching a course on Craftsy on sewing "The Couture Dress" at a VERY reasonable price. This Craftsy course is a terrific opportunity for newer sewists, heck everyone, to dip their toes into the Couture water. There are rave reviews all over the internet for this class so no matter your level of expertise, sign up and count yourself taught by the best! You will be able to proceed at  your own pace and have an incredible learning opportunity.

Susan  is also  a contributing editor to Threads magazine bestowing upon us the finer points of Chanel jackets and much more. Don't we all have or covet Issue #121, the one with the black boucle Chanel jacket on the cover?  Her knowledgeable writing and sewing skills make it  probably the most coveted Threads issue published. Seek this one out if you don't have it.You will be glad you did.

Ms. Khalje has written extensively on sewing and many a bride has walked down the aisle stunningly dressed thanks to her book "Bridal Couture".  She has also written "Linen and Cotton", an essential guide to sewing these two universal fabrics. As a newbie, you may not feel the need for her couture skills yet or if ever (that will change, trust me ) but her "Linen and Cotton" book will definitely serve you well. It is currently available in PDF form from Taunton Press.  Newbies, if you seek higher sewing ground, read her books and seek out her classes.  A Sewing Master's skills will never let you down and will only enhance your own capabilities so count on Ms. Khalje to only supply you the best of knowledge available in the sewing universe.
Photo Courtesy of Threads Magazine

Photo courtesy of Ms. Khalje's website

******************************************************************

Kenneth King

Kenneth King's experience as a  couturier  is evidenced in his wonderful website. I love how it explains his aesthetic and of course there is that amazing gallery to peruse. You can also read numerous publications lauding his abilities. He has sewn for the Stars and is a Professor of Haute Couture at Fashion Institute of Technology in NY city. As impressive as his resume is he appears to really enjoy reaching out to us mortal sewists with his classes and fabulous books. They are essentials in my sewing library. His latest,  "Cool Couture" covers everything from accordion pleats to zippers all  clearly, concisely and with great photos.

Mr. King  offers Sit and Sew classes along with Susan Khalje this August and October. Can you just imagine?  I know from those that have attended that he is one incredible, highly entertaining educator! He also occasionally offers on line classes at very reasonable fees through Pattern Review. These are perfect classes for newbies so make sure you are following Pattern Review to see when his next class starts. Mr. King's ability to totally think outside of the box when faced with a sewing challenge is what makes him a great teacher. He supplies information you just never would have thought of and that's priceless. You can count on King to supply many more tools for  your sewing tool box!
 King also publishes frequent articles in Threads magazine and in Threads on line in his capacity as a Contributing Editor, the likes of which are often teaching mastery of amazing embellishment ideas. He makes it all so clear and easy. And his techniques are! You can also catch a wonderful class with King on Craftsy right now as well. It teaches how to capture the great fit of your favorite pair of jeans.  I think we all need that one!


So once again, with Kenneth King, Like Khalje,  we have highbrow clients, Haute Couture history, impressive teaching credentials, publication and a passion that he enjoys passing along to sewists. Newbies, seek him out! He is a Master!
 
Photo courtesy of Kenneth King



Photo courtesy of Kenneth King
***************************************************************

Claire Shaeffer

Ms. Shaeffer ran away from home at 17 to join the circus, really!  Her initial matriculation at Florida State University had her studying the circus curriculum. She soon had a change of heart and graduated with a degree in Art History. Her thin physical stature, while perfect for a circus acrobat, was not conducive to well fitting clothing so she decided to start sewing her own. A natural progression to pattern making courses ensued followed by a lifelong devotion to the study of couture techniques right at the source: couture workrooms in Paris. She has been in the ateliers and has cultivated relationships with some of the most renown Parisian Couturiers.  


Claire Shaeffer was a sample maker at the very  beginning of her career. Her teaching ability later enabled faculty positions at Kent State University, Colorado State University, College of the Desert, Palm Desert, Ca., Eastern Michigan University and more. She has developed curriculum and  juried many a sewing/design competition.  She has consulted with numerous museums regarding their collections of couture.  Shaeffer teaches only two workshops a year in her lovely desert home in Palm Springs. She is booked far in advance and can be contacted at sewfari@earthlink.net. if  you are interested in further information regarding her "Sewfari". Classes are usually concentrated on either Haute Couture Techniques or more specifically Chanel.
Ms. Shaeffer is well published having contributed many articles to Threads Magazine over the years. If you are a Threads Insider you have access to many of her couture techniques at your fingertips. DVDs and books fill out her repertoire. Her books ARE CLASSICS! Her Fabric Sewing Guide sits  close to my machine and is consulted with most new garments I make. In it's latest edition there is updated fabric  information as well as an encyclopedic amount of knowledge regarding needles, threads, interfacings and more. You can "study" this book. I have gone through it cover to cover three times at this point. Or, you can use it as a wonderful reference. Making a silk gazar garment? Look up Silk Gazar and you will find out what needle to use, thread to use, interfacing to use, etc. Nothing is left to chance. It is definitive knowledge. Newbies, this book is a must have for your sewing library. No where else will you get all the information on all the fabrics and how to sew them all beautifully. You've got a fabric, you look it up, simple as that. Ms. Shaeffer has a new DVD, The Tailoring DVD,   that will be released early next spring so keep your eyes open for that.  Her "Basic Couture DVD" was released this spring and is available through Taunton Press. 
Vogue Pattern Magazine has also been graced with her knowledge and she currently has a 6 part series on the Chanel jacket you won't want to miss. If you are lucky enough to have all the Threads issues on DVD or just a huge collection in your closet like I do, in issue #23, 1989, Ms. Shaeffer writes a great article on making a Chanel skirt to go with your jacket.


Ms. Shaeffer also has a very popular line of patterns she designs for Vogue. Some of her patterns are distinguished  by having both the  Haute Couture way of making the garment and the high end ready to wear method of making the garment, all in the same envelope. You choose how involved you want to get with  your garment. Her designs are very classic fashions that will give you years of payback for your efforts. The couture construction is amazing. You can take one of these patterns and teach yourself so much.  I highly recommend them to all sewists. Her latest design, the classic Chanel jacket with the three piece sleeves, vented cuffs, and all the other signature Chanel techniques is Vogue 8804.  Even if you are not at this skill level yet, get this pattern and save it until you want to be. Her first Chanel jacket pattern was disco'd and became a hot commodity out there on Ebay due to it's scarcity. I had to borrow and trace one from an internet friend.  Thankfully we are blessed with this latest iteration and don't have to go to crazy lengths to get the quintessential jacket pattern. 


In conclusion, Ms. Shaeffer is a Master. She has a  passion for sharing couture skills, knows many a couturier as a friend or a not so friend (Chanel refuses her entry to their workrooms.) She is well published and in essence has a lifetime of  credentials qualifying her as a Master in the sewing world. Your sewing library is not complete without at least one of her books but I would recommend all, for sure.  Every sewist, even our Newbies, needs "The Fabric Sewing Guide".

                                                           Photo courtesy of Claire Shaeffer
                                             Photo courtesy of Threads Magazine
**************************************************************************


I would like to thank Susan Khalje, Kenneth King, and Claire Shaeffer, all of whom have been more than gracious in helping me publish an accurate post. While they stand on the top of the sewing mountain, they are more than generous, kind and lovely in real life. I am grateful all sewists have such honorable, gifted, and generous stars shining down on our sewing universe.
 *****************************************
 Based on some private emails and lots of recent personal conversations I've  decided to do some posts specifically designed to help out our more newbie stitchers. These are my totally subjective opinions and you may differ in yours but that's OK. You know I welcome all healthy comment. I will tag these posts with the Newbie Label so that they can be easily searched. There is a logical progression to what I want to say here and there will be  more posts so while you may think I have left a lot out it will probably be coming in the next post on the subject so bear with me.

My goal is to help newer stitchers know who can be relied on to have quality information, books, PDFs, patterns, tutorials, etc. I will do  a series of  posts specifically meant to help enlighten the many that have asked me, "how will I know if it's good information if I don't know what that is yet?" These posts will give you a head start on all that information. I hope it brings you a passionate desire to learn this craft as well. If there is anything I can do to help that along please let me know................... Bunny

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Smocked Sand Dollar Top


Pattern:
"Flower Power" from "Designer Smocking for Tots to Teens", a Country Bumpkin publication. This company is located in Australia and subscribes to the highest standards of publication as well as sewing.   It is a beacon in the ever depleting world of publications devoted to heirloom sewing. Sadly, issue 100 of "Australian Smocking and Embroidery" will be the last but I think you can still order it. It will be a compilation of some of their best designs. In the meantime they have other great magazines and books devoted to the craft of sewing and embroidery.

As with all of the AS&E designs, the pattern is very clear and easy to follow. Nothing is left to chance and with some focus  a beginning smocker could definitely pull off this particular design. The requisite flower on the strap was my own addition but what little girl's outfit is not naked without a flower on the bodice somewhere these days? I want this to get worn and the flower is a big draw to my granddaughter. This is a simple summer top meant to be worn with jeans or maybe some white leggings. It is not particularly long for a top.

Fabric:
It appears to be 100% cotton that I picked up somewhere, no clue. I just love the beach sand dollar design. Don't we all just love sand dollars? The back of the top is self lined with a curved bottom.
  It's sadly draping on the hanger but will be lovingly filled out by my grandaughter. You can see the vintage buttons from my inherited collection on the back and in the center of the flower.  Did you catch the matching sand dollars? Up there with bad or no pressing, unmatched patterns are a Becky Home- Home Ec-y clue for sure. My PPP. (personal pet peeve) It takes more time and effort but is so worth it.


Construction:

This is really a great simple project that I think any beginning smocker could handle. Simple trellis stitches are all that are used in the smocking design provided in the pattern. As always with smocking, finding that center  pleat is critical as well as carefully counting so you can line up your stitches perfectly. For the uninformed, smocking provides very comfortable elasticity. So this top can be worn for quite some time stretching a bit as the child grows. 

All in all I think it is really cute, cute to the point of a modern little girl eagerly wearing it. Not long ago my eight year old Sophie said to me, " Bunbun, can you make me some clothes that aren't so old fashioned?" I think this one will fill the bill. Right after that she and her little girlfriend went in to her closet, dressed themselves up in a couple of smocked "special" dresses, put on crowns, and played Princess all afternoon. Be still my heart.  


************************************************

In my commitment to bring quality information to our latest generation of stitchers I am going to do a series of posts covering everything from introducing you to the "Masters" (with my definition of the term) to where to get quality tutorialsand much more. Stay posted. I am going to tag these posts with a "Newbie" tag so they will be easily searchable but the information will be  for everyone as you will soon see. While I am sure many of you have your own opnions on the subjects that  I will bring up,  keep in mind that it will be my subjective opinions expressed and it will all be positive and hopefully very helpful to the Newbies out there. Mo' lata'...
*************************

 My darling hubby is a sure keeper! At a yard sale the other day he spotted this vintage beauty in perfect condition, spent one dollar, and brought it home for his loving wife. It is made in Ohio. When's the last time yo saw that printed on something? It is in pristine condition, has a burly maple ruler with a beautiful varnished finish. The weighted box on the bottom keeps it standing and in the front is a recessed felted little area for your pins. I would assume this was circa 1950s, the time I took my first sewing classes at Singer at the age of ten. It brings back fond memories and will have a place of honor in my little studio. Thanks, Ern......Bunny 

ETA: Blogger will not let me alter the print size no matter what so sorry if this is difficult to read. I will reload later and fix hopefully. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Kenneth King Hem

A recent visit to the Threads website had contributing editor and sewist extraordinaire, Kenneth King, offering a tutorial on how to hem a curved, lamé hem. First, lamé is the fabric from hell. But to sew a tiny hem on a curved piece of lamé is work only intended for the deepest depths of Hades. I was really intrigued with his technique and anxious to give it a try.  The Sand Dollar top gave me the perfect opportunity. I tweaked the process a teeny bit  but have to say it is brilliant.

I needed a tiny hem on the front skirt of this smocked top, per the directions from AS&E. I have a tute on the right for baby hems that has worked for me quite well, particularly with sheers but this method is so fast and easy. Here's how I did it on the Sand Dollar top:



The first thing you do is find the right stabilizer. He suggested adding machine tape or Solvy for sheers. What I used is a roll of paper stabilizer I bought at least 20 years ago that is thinner than adding machine tape and I felt it worked perfectly. I would love to be able to tell you exactly what it is but I haven't a clue. I just know that it is like manna from heaven in that I never run out. I have used miles of this stuff. Anyhoo, get your strips of stabilizer and line them up and pin them with a perfectly sharp edge on the garment fabric. This is a tweak. He sewed his first and then cut back the stabilizer. My hem was a straight line so I cut the garment edge fresh with the rotary cutter and then lined up the edge of the stabilizer and pinned. Now to the machine.



I adjusted the stitch length to 2.0. The smaller the stitch the easier to rip out the stabilizer. Then I put on my trusty edge stitching foot and clicked it 6 clicks to the left (Pfaff). I did a trial run on some stabilizer and you can see above the measurement is right at 1/8 inch. Gotta remember that. Six clicks is exactly one eighth!I stitched the hem  SLOWLY making sure the blade butted right up to the edge.

Next it was to the ironing board. I found it easier to make the next step happen if I first pressed the tiny seam toward the garment away from the paper. (Tweak) Now you roll the hem over so the tiny hem is tucked behind the rolled edge. Press flat like you see above.

   Back to the machine! Place the blade of your edge stitching foot in the ditch between the paper and the rolled hem. Click your  needle two clicks to right of center if you have a Pfaff. This will give you the specified 1/16th inch edge stitch. Now stitch the hem in this ditch, S L O W L Y. This is not rush time.
Back to the ironing board! Just press it all nice and flat on both sides. Lookin' good, heh? Now pull your paper stabilizer and watch it magically come off with no effort or fibers left behind, easy easy peasy.
Here is your hem on the wrong side.

 And here is your hem from the right side. Not too shabby,  huh?  I think it is slightly perfect if I may say so myself! But here's the best part:  Truth be told I put the hem in and forgot that I hadn't measured the skirt length yet. So this perfect little hem went in 3 1/2 inches beyond where it was needed. I cut my hem again and redid the whole process but for the heck of it I timed myself from start to finish. 11 minutes!!!! That's all it took to get this great little hem beautifully done on sixty inches, yup, of fabric. THIS IS FAST. I love it. I can't thank Mr. King enough for continually sharing his expertise with all of his adoring fans.  Check out his tute on the Threads site. We are so lucky to have him feeding our passion.....Bunny

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Little Somethin' Somethin' ...


Well, I did manage to get a little sweetness done this weekend. I found this UFO while cleaning. I think I was working on it when I started back to work and it just slipped through the cracks somehow. It is for Sophie's AG doll and is a little nighty. The pattern is the "Emily" from Genine over at Etsy.

Genine's shop is called GennieWren.  I have made her patterns up before and they are a delight to sew. Genine goes to great lengths to have various testers try out her patterns before she commits them to sale. It shows. They match up beautifully and the instructions are very clear. NAYY, just want to help out another sewist, particular when her efforts are so exceptional.

The fabric used for the nightgown is what I would call a dimity, something inherited from my elderly neighbor and certainly vintage. It is just lovely. It is like a brushed heavier version of a voile with a tiny diamond texture to it. It's way too soft for any sort of regular clothing but perfect for a dolly's special nighty! The pattern comes with this lovely smocking design too!
********************************************************************************

The Danny Project keeps evolving and I made major headway today. One facet of this project is a real stickler and I am trying all sorts of methods to see what works best. Once the sticky part is worked out it will be home free and on to my muslin for the wedding outfit. Of course I found the absolute most perfect shoes today but hesitated buying as the dress isn't even cut out yet.

Thanks for the comments on the "Hijack" post yesterday. It was greatly appreciated. I appear to be home free now but went to a blog today who also had the same thing happening. I wondered if she knew and left her a message. I went to lots of blogs and such today but only that one had the same issue. ....Bunny

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Hijacked!

First, an apology! I am sorry for the links to ads that have suddenly appeared in my blog. The blog appears to have been hijacked, IMO, and key phrases and words now have links connected to them that show popup ads that I have not authorized. Please do not click on any links that seem to be just regular words, not things linking to an actual other post, blog or pattern number or such.

If anyone can tell me what this is and how to get rid of it I would surely appreciate it. Did I inadvertently click on the wrong thing on Blogger? Thanks for any assistance offered....Bunny

Friday, July 6, 2012

Vogue 8630

I have a wedding to attend in August, not a super formal affair, more a nice summer wedding. I've chosen my fabric and pattern and sure hope to get this dress done by then. It is a really simple design. My fabric is a heavier weight rayon with a very "linen-y" look. It is crisp with the darkest browns and whitest whites and lots of brown in between. I think I got it at Fabric Fix some time ago.

I will order the silk organza today to underline it and the lining as well. While waiting for that to arrive, a muslin will be made. Vogue 8630 is a classic waisted sleeveless sheath with a large portrait collar. I intend to make the collar out of a white pique. My long neck and narrow shoulders make portrait collars a style that flatters. I like how the collar overrides the shoulders a bit too. Portrait collars bring the attention up to the face and away from other areas.  I have been doing lots of weight exercise for my arms, really lots, and it finally shows so I am feeling confident about wearing a sleeveless dress, something that has bugged me in the past.
I am also thinking some sort of adornment where the collar meets off center, maybe a big brooch, or a flower or something, not sure yet. There's the belt to think about too.

The big issue with this dress is TIME. I have to finish Danny's project first and then will get started. The muslin should go quickly and I might even get a go on that this morning. I think it will be pretty when done, fingers crossed.

*********************************************************************************
My bee balms are spectacular this year. They were specifically planted to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, which they do! I managed to catch a pic of one of our little hummers last night. Took quite a few clicks to get one where he was still enough to photograph.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Danny's Project


Things are under control in the garden and the chicken house so I decided to take the holiday and bury myself in the studio and work on Danny's Project. Here you can see my efforts at making water. There will be many layers of embellishment here so don't judge this as the finished product. You can see how I've cut strips to give that sparkly, wavy water effect. They each got pinned as I placed them with lots of later moving around again till I was happy. Then I layed a layer of light blue tulle over the fabric and carefully unpinned each piece, putting the tulle on top and replacing the pin on top of the tulle. A good squint of this will show the tulle across the top of the pic.

Then it was off to the machine. First I stitched the top and sides, leaving the bottom open in case I needed to poke my hand in to rearrange a stray blue sliver. Then I used various blue and yellow threads to add some more "sparkle". I'm happy but feel there is more I need to do. With projects like this you sometimes need to let the piece marinate a bit before taking the next bite. So it will sit till Saturday and them I am on it again like red on meat. My vision is taking shape and it is very colorful. That's how I am with color, though. I've always called my flower beds the "Gawdy Garden" as I plant with abondon looking for bright happy colors, like zinnias, roses, rubekias and such. Bright colors make me happy and I want this piece to make the giftees feel happy and light as they think of their son. It is a way to show Danny out of the darkness of mental illness....Bunny

Monday, July 2, 2012

Dye Job!

Yesterday, after the gardening chores were complete and I backed out of painting our little barn, I decided to have some fun playing with some dyeing. I had read a couple of techniques recently on Pinterest and wanted to give them a try. Here's my review with a rather unexpected ending.

 The first technique I tried required Sharpie permanent markers, rubbing alcohol, and an eye dropper. The technique came from The Art Girl Jackie on Pinterest.  It seemed easy enough, avoided a lot of mess by using the markers, and gave a permanent finish without any further treatment. 

I used silk dupioni  that had been washed. It was then soaked in a half water half vinegar solution for half an hour as a mordant process. Then the piece was ironed dry. Keep in mind that this was just a fun play project for me and if it worked, well, I was on to something new for the toolbox. 

First you draw some vague designs with your Sharpies. Only prob here was that all I had were fine points. This would have been much more effective with regular Sharpies. Then drops of good ole rubbing alcohol are dropped on the marker scribblings to do their thing. The ink will disperse and blend. It continues from what you see above but again would have been better with the heavier tipped markers. Opinion: metza metza, and bette with the right Sharpie. Not a total waste of time however. I have found when I do these tiny dye jobs that further embellishment can totally change their look so this is no loss here. 


The next technique came from Pea Soup of the Day.  She wanted to do some dyeing with her kids that wouldn't be toxic and this really appealed to me. Seemed simple enough. I pulled out my Wilton paste dyes for this and used her wool dyeing technique on more strips of dupioni. These strips will eventually be smocked and I like the edges to have more definition.

 I followed her directions more or less. I dipped a damp Q tip into the paste and rolled it and dibbed and dabbed it around the damp strips. I liked the effect. Now it was time for the microwave. I layed my strips on some paper towels which was on top of a dinner plate. I didn't want the dinner plate to get all yucky so I wrapped it in plastic wrap. DON'T DO THIS! I have dyed with food coloring many times before and found it to be quite safe and fun. The issue became the plastic wrap. She has you put the textile into the microwave for five minutes and check now and then that it continues to be damp. Towards the end of the five minutes I could smell a slight plastic-y smell but barely. I took the strips out of the micro, sprayed them with water to remoisten and nuked them FIVE MINUTES MORE! Does seem like a too long time, doesn't it? At about 3 minutes into the second nuking the plastic smell became very strong and I figured I needed to remist the the strips. I opened the micro door and in a flash I went down for the count. With the help of some cabinet knobs I pulled myself up and got to the front door where I called my husband. My legs could barely hold me up and I felt horrendous. He came over, smelled the smell, and helped me to fresh air. We nearly called 911 but with fresh air I was slowly coming around. After about twenty minutes I was back to myself with a huge lesson learned, HUGE. Don't nuke anything with saran wrap for ten minutes unless you want ot visit your good friends at the local ER. The plastic wrap was melted INTO the dish which we threw out, of course. DH aired out the house with fans and all doors and windows open and life got back to normal pretty fast.

Here are my results. Not sure it was worth losing my health over!

I changed course and decided to smock some silk velvet. This was a play date with myself and other than the plastic wrap incident something I found highly enjoyable. I've always loved dyeing things and like the intensity of playing with small efforts. It will be interesting to see how these get worked up into something. Hope your efforts aren't quite as exciting as mine....Bunny