Friday, February 4, 2011

a little bit of stitch

The figures in my latest pieces have gained some extra colour this week. I could have played safe and done this in some compatible colour but instead felt I needed to add a zing and there is no better way to do this than by making an unexpected choice. So I used an apricot / orange colour. I think it works.

And I have added some stitch! I do very little stitching (actually none) these days but getting out the needles and threads seemed very familiar. Not much, but a couched cord on top of each of the steps. The cord is appropriate for the eventual final application, when everything else is completed.

This week I have finally got to mount my previous piece 'Dis-cord' which got completed, except for the mounting, just prior to Christmas. After getting it applied to a painted canvas backing, I took it to a local canvas manufacturer to get the eyelets / grommets done. They were able to do this while I made a lengthy visit to my dentist (yes, another capping!). When I collected my piece the receptionist commented that she, and her work companion, found this piece very 'spooky'. This did not offend me, but instead I felt it was a compliment. This piece is not a 'nice' piece, it was not intended to be such, so her 'spooky' response confirmed to me that it was working. If you wish to re-visit this piece, and my comments about it, you can do so by clicking on Dis-cord.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Over-dyeing a garment

During last week I have over-dyed a silk garment for a client. I am always very hesitant when asked about such an activity as it is mostly unsuccessful. First, the type of fabric needs to be determined (I will only dye cellulose fibres and silk). Second, the stitching thread, zip and of course buttonholes (if any) will remain the original colour. Third, any tight tucks, gathers and folds will act as a resist preventing even distribution of dye colour. And finally, it is common belief that over-dyeing will disguise any fading. Unfortunately this is not the case, the over-dyeing will spread evenly across the previous colour, and the fading will still be evident.

Despite all the above, I decided to give it a go. This garment had been hung amongst others on a rack of clothing, and the narrow shoulders and sides, which had been exposed to the light, had faded. It also had metal and glass bead decorations but because they were stitched, not pasted, I felt they should be okay.

The garment before dyeing. Not easy to see the fading but it is there.

After over-dyeing. The new colour I felt was much more appealing, and the fading was almost eliminated unless you knew where to look.
However, the silk georgette overlay on the skirt took a sad and shrunk, about 10cm/4"! The bodice overlay did not seem to shrink at all. Fortunately the lining dyed the same colour, and both my client and myself felt this shortening of the overlay made a feature, and is actually quite elegant. The beading came through the dye bath well and appeared a lot more refreshed and sparkly.

I have now added shrinkage to my list of reasons why not to over-dye a garment!