Monday, March 3, 2014

A No Sew Refashion

Hello again! First things first - here are the results of the Sew Grateful Week Giveaway:

The winner of the Victoria Blazer pattern is Mary Maryall from Maryall Made.

And the winner of the Swarovski stitch markers is Chrystal McKay from Seams like Chrystal

Congratulations, ladies! May they bring many happy hours of creative satisfaction :) If you can email your postal details to daniellekrivan@gmail.com I'll send your parcels to you asap.

I've got a pretty basic refashion to share this week, with no sewing involved at all. Last year a friend of mine started up as a consultant for a party plan clothing company and I hosted a party to help out. Now, I normally haaaaaaaate these kind of things, and so does every one of the friends I invited (I invited people who were fun and who would still speak to me after receiving said invitation). But to my amazement I ended up with a free pair of jeans out of the deal, because Consultant Friend is a born saleswoman.

They actually fit really well. But they were a pale neon yellow. I make no claim to being a fashionista, so can comfortably say I'm not personally on speaking terms with the whole neon trend at all. And I didn't know you could have pastel neon colour (an oxymoron, surely??), but there you are.


They were quite hard to photograph actually; imagine a bit more fluorescent than that.

Even though it's not a great colour on me, I really do love golden yellow. It'll never be a staple in my palette, but every now and then I like to inject a bit of it in there. And you may remember in my list of goals for this year I mentioned I wanted to start experimenting with natural dyes. So since these were already a light yellow, I thought I might give turmeric a try...

I'd seen a tutorial on using turmeric to dye fabric here. I didn't take photos of the process, but basically:

1. Wash and dry fabric/garment
2. Simmer garment in large pot on the stove top in a mix of four parts water to one part white vinegar. (This acts as a fixative for the dye.)
3. Fill pot with fresh water and add turmeric (I used two 25g packets). Let dye bath simmer for ten minutes then add fabric/garment.
4. Ensure fabric/garment is completely submerged and simmer for 15mins, stirring occasionally.
5. Turn off heat and let garment sit in dye bath until it reaches desired colour (bear in mind it will be lighter once it's dry). I left mine about an hour.
6. Remove from dye bath and rinse until water runs clear.

So how did it work? Well, here's Attempt One:


In parts, they were the exact deep yellow I was hoping for. But I was hoping even more for a solid colour. And that was too streaky a result. Since the colour (in parts!) was what I was after, I wondered if a second attempt would even up the saturation...Below is Attempt Two:


Better, but still streaky. I think possibly a few more dye baths would achieve the solid colour I was after, but I have to confess I caved at this point. :/

 Enter Rit powder dye... I just followed the instructions for dyeing in a bucket or basin (I can't quite bring myself to use the washing machine - I keep imagining the rest of our clothes turning shades of the dye colour forever after...)


Even though I really wanted the natural technique to work, I have to admit I LOVE my new jeans!


Especially with my Rowe top...


So, the evaluation? Turmeric does make an effective fabric dye. But I think it's best kept for deliberate variegated effects like tie dye (which is how the original tutorial used it). And I'd actually really like to try it on spun wool, where a heathery effect looks beautiful. (Incidental Aside: I have attempted spinning! I'm somewhere between Absolute Novice and Extreme Beginner, but I've made a start. And I think I'm going to love it :)  So that's two more 2014 goals underway, hurrah!)

This project got me thinking. I've been really enjoying the Wardrobe Architect series, and think it's a fantastic way to make sewing more efficient, personal and less "hit and miss". Now these jeans only go with about three other things in my wardrobe...but I love them and feel happy every time I wear them. It made me realise that while I love to sew to a plan and genuinely aspire to sewing a complete wardrobe rather than disparate garments, every now and then I should make room for a "just because" kind of project. Just because I love it. Just because it makes me happy. Just because I want to!

How about you? Do you have any stand alone projects like that? Do tell!







17 comments:

  1. They look so cheery! I used turmeric to dye some pus coloured yarn mustard and it worked a treat, but a much smaller volume of fabric or yarn makes it easier to get a consistent colour! My mum had a spinning wheel, way way back in the early 80's when I was a wee thing. Weird because she never knitted anything! Anyway I believe I have a 'makes me happy non-sensible in fact bordering on ridiculous' make coming up soon - I hope mine makes me as happy as yours! :)

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    1. Ooh, looking forward to seeing it! Is it as satisfyingly perfect as your cat top??
      I've actually borrowed my mum's spinning wheel - I guess spinning was a real 70s/80s thing!

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  2. I love how happy they look!!! I'm rather hoping that I'll adore my striking print dress that I'll make this month ;) Mind you, most of my creations make me happy ;)

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    1. How fantastic to be able to say that!

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  3. Those look great! I actually did that recently to some pants as well. I did it in my washing machin, with black dye no less!, and when following the instructions to clean the machine had no stains after! And did use a rag to do a little extra wiping of my drum before finishing the cleaning cycle.

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    1. Thank you! I really will have to try the washing machine for dyeing - it's good to know it's dependable :)

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  4. That new color is wonderful! I am such a sissy when it comes to pants. I always end up with black or denim of some kind... It is a rut I guess. When I can muster the skill to sew pants I want cheery ones like yours ;)

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    1. They're actually a bit of a departure for me too!

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  5. I agree with the others, the jeans look so good in yellow, and they do look wonderful on you! I love yellow, I used to have a yellow blazer (how about that? ;) ) in my highschool years. I loved wearing it with black pants, and a black top - simple, but effective.
    And thank you!

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    1. Thanks! Love the sound of that yellow blazer :)

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  6. They are a very successful refashion. I'd wear them.

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  7. Great refashion. They look so much better, and more flattering in the brighter shade.

    I haven't tried Rit, not sure it's available here, but I have used Dylon in the machine, and as long as you do an empty wash afterwards, it's fine. And I used black!

    And if these go with 3 things, they have more than justified wardrobe space.

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    1. Well, thank you - I hadn't thought of it like that! I will definitely have to try machine dyeing...

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  8. They are such a great colour now - happy jeans. I love yellow but it's not a colour I can wear easily, these are perfect. I agree, sometimes you need to sew 'just because' - just because the idea popped in your head, just because that fabric spoke to you - with no plan but a happy heart :)

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    1. I just love the way you've phrased that! Thanks :)

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  9. I WON I WON I WON! :D I NEVER WIN! THIS IS SOOOOOOOOO AMAZINGGG!!! THANK YOUUU!!

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