Thursday, February 12, 2009

Over dyeing an existing garment

I often get asked to over-dye existing garments. I am always very hesitant about this because (a) the fabric content has to be determined, (b) the sewing thread will usually be a synthetic and not over-dye, (c) folds, tucks, add-ons will act as resists, (d) existing stains or fading will not be removed by the over-dyeing process and (e) the original colour will affect any new dye application.
Last week I did accept a silk top and skirt as this did seem a possibility. It had no top-stitching other than the buttonholes, and the applied flowerlets could be removed before dyeing.
The original lime green colour would obviously have an influence on any over-dyeing. My client was relaxed about the new colour and my thoughts were to over-dye it with a purple as this could result in a rather nice aubergine.
Now my purple dye always turns white silk into a cerise. Sometime ago I discovered that a mixture of navy and turquoise, surprisingly, produces a purple on white silk. Purple and green do make a nice aubergine (are you with me so far?). The result however was the darker green. This was not unpleasant at all. I had removed the lime green flowerlets from the top before dyeing and once stitched back, helped to justify the lime green buttonhole stitching. My client will probably change the buttons to something more sympathetic to the new colour.
My third photo today is of one of my WholeCloth Banners which has been accepted into Changing Threads, an exhibition of contemporary fibre and textile art at The Refinery Artspace, Nelson, 14 February to 7 March. This exhibition is organised by the Arts Council Nelson.

The original colour of the silk top and skirt, flowerlets removed at this stage

Flowerlets stitched back on; all done!

NESTING 131cm x 99cm; Silk/linen blend; Procion MX dyes and pigments; dye painting, over-dye, discharge

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