Thursday, February 5, 2009

Silk length to match skirt

It is often said that things come in threes. Well, in the case of my being requested to dye fabric for people, this is definitely a proven fact. Last week it was the silk georgette for bridesmaids. This week it was fabric to match a purchased silk skirt that was difficult to match with a top; and next week will be overdyeing an existing garment.
For this week's fabric blended colours had been decided. I bunched the fabric, poured over orange, blue and purple dyes all laced with the appropriate fixing chemicals, and left it overnight. Next day I felt the resulting colours were too strong, so reduced their depth of colour with discharge. This always produces a more subtle blend of colours and usually some nice surprises.
I then decided to add a repeat motif of dots to tone with the skirt. The fabric was laid out on my printing table and I used my 'no frills' plumb line to centre the repeats. My plumb line consists of two river stones each in plastic bags tied to the ends of a long piece of string. This drapes over the table and tensions itself. I have two plumb lines and together they work well to line up patterns.
I wanted to space the dots 20cm apart and gauged this with a strip of paper. The registrations were marked with small pieces of stick-on paper. I then eye-balled each dot into the space between the paper markings.
The fabric was then cold-batched and washed.

Fabric bunched, saturated with dye, and left to cold batch

Cold batched piece washed, discharged and washed again

Plumb lines, paper gauge and stick-on papers

Dots painted inbetween stick-on papers

The completed fabric next to the skirt

Next Blog: Over-dyeing an existing garment


  1. WOW! Diana,
    It looks great! I like the plumbline idea too - how simple! I presume you have to remade it each time - or the string would contaminate the next item with yesterday's dye, wouldn't it?

    What discharge material do you use - bleach neutralised with vinegar? Something much more sophisticated I'm sure. Does Dylon "Dyegon" work?

    Thanks for the inspiration - I can think of things in my wardrobe that would be improved by a judicious application of dye!

  2. Hi Virginia. The plumb line is used only when setting up registration for repeat patterns. In this case the stick-on papers were used and the plumbline removed before painting on the dye.
    Oh yes, I use Thiox discharge (thiourea dioxide). I never use bleach for anything - it may work on some fabrics eg cottons (definitely not silks as it will 'eat' it), as bleach is a cleaning agent, not manufactured as a fabric-colour-removing product. Thiox is specifically manufactured for colour removal and used correctly is very safe, and versatile to use, although one must wear a mask and have good ventilation because of the fumes. I have never used Dyegon which may well have a similar content to Thiox. Unfortunately Thiox is not available here in NZ. Thiox is the brand name and is sold by Pro Chemical and Dye, USA. I will be writing a blog (or three) about discharge in due course. Diana

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