Saturday, 23 July 2016

Summer Activity Day 1: Tie dye tutorial and workshop.

So it's the summer holidays here in the UK. Most schools have now broken up for the summer and parents are seeking activities that will entertain and engage their children without costing the earth.
Tie dye is fun messy and yields brilliant results for minimal cost. You might want to try some of the techniques shown here. I've included instructions so you can have a go. It's all about experimenting - so have fun.

I ran a workshop for 20 Children at my school as part of our activity days towards the end of term. Photos are from this workshop. As well as tie dye we also experimented with batik and fabric painting.

There are primarily two methods for tie dye. Traditional dip dye and space or galaxy dying.

Traditional method:

You will need:
Dye: such as Rit or Dylon - at least one colour.
Salt/ dye fixer
white or light coloured cotton cloth or clothing items - natural fibres work best, mixed fibres will result in a paler result.
Elastic bands or string.
Beads/ pebbles etc.
Rubber gloves

1. Pre-wash your cloth, especially if it is a new item and dry.
2. Prepare the dye according to the packet instructions. I used cold water dye but you can use this technique with machine dye or the type that you boil on the hob. Wear gloves when dealing with dye.
3. Tie up the fabric -here's where you can experiment. tie the fabric around beads or pebbles to create small circles; concertina fold the fabric and tie in bands to create a stripy effect; pinch the fabric in the centre and tie bands along it to create concentric circles or just scrunch it all up and tie string or bands around the bundle for a more random effect. You do need to make sure that the bands or string are really tight as this forms the resist. if they are loose the dye will seep under them and the effect will not be as striking.
4. Wet the fabric.
5. Place in the dye and stir occasionally. leave in for at least the recommended time.

6. Take out and rinse in cold water until the water runs clear. Remove the string/ bands and rinse again. The design should be evident.
7. Leave to dry.

Space dye method:

You will need:
Salt/ dye fixer
Dye: You can use the same sort of dye but will need several colours. I used Procion MX dyes and a dye fix.
Rubber gloves
White or light coloured cotton clothing
String/ rubber bands
Beads/ pebbles
Clean jam jars or small bottles with nozzles (clean hair dye bottles work well here).
Pipettes/ droppers/ syringe
Plastic bag

1. After pre-washing your fabric tie the fabric as for the traditional method.
2. Make up a fix bath. I used the fixer that came with my dye. If using Dylon you can use a salt solution.
3. Soak the pre tied fabric in the fix solution until thoroughly soaked.
4. Make up concentrated dye. Mix the dye powder in a small amount of hot water so that all the power is dissolved. Store in jars or small bottles - this will keep for a few days and can be used again.

5. Place the soaked fabric on a protective surface, plastic bags are perfect. Wear gloves as this gets messy. Use droppers or nozzles to drop small amounts of different coloured dye onto the fabric. Colour mixing rules apply here - so if you put red next to yellow you will get orange etc.

Make sure all the fabric is covered by dye and then place the item in the plastic bag so it doesn't dry out and leave so the dye can develop fully. At least 4 hours or overnight if possible.

6. Take out and rinse in cold water until the water runs clear. Remove the string/ bands and rinse again. The design should be evident.
7. Leave to dry.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Off the shoulder top

I thought I'd jump on the cold shoulder top bandwagon; after all it is summer! Even if it doesnt feel like it.
This is style #104 from burdastyle 02/2014. It had caught my eye at the time and has a nice retro feel.
I made the size 38, but feel it's a bit big. I'm loathed to go down a size as it might be too tight acorss the arms.
I do like the drafting and its not low enough to be revealing, it feels secure and modest,  but also shows enough shoulder to be on trend.

I have some red spotty fabric to make another version. This black cotton has a tendency to crease rather a lot and it would be better in a fabric that has body, but does not crease. A stable knit or scuba fabric might work well with added bonus that it would not need a zipper.

The pattern could easily be adapted to include a ruffle at the neckline. I might try this with my next version.

I think this is going to get a lot of wear over the summer. I've worn it here with a full skirt (refashioned) but it would also look great with capris or skinny jeans. how would you wear it, and what would you do to improve the fit?

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Megan Nielsen Reef top and shorts

Hi All,

Last week Megan Nielsen released her top and shorts pattern Reef . I tested this pattern and made the top and version 2 shorts for my daughter.

She loves them and has begged me to make her a couple more pairs before she goes on holiday in August.

For the shorts my daughter chose a mint green lace and silky poly underlining. She wanted the lace effect, but obviously not see through.

The pattern was soooooo easy to follow and the fit is great. these have been in heavy roation since I made them for her back in April. The top is also a great make. It's super easy and a beginner could handle it. My daughter's version was in a satin fabric, which she wears as a PJ top. but she's keen to have more for the holidays.

The top is super easy to make and there are no tricky bits so it's perfect for a beginner. If you wanted to you could extend the facing and include an integrated bra.  I might give this a try.

I think this pattern is going to be a favourite. I might make some of the shorts for myself, but I will lengthen them as they are a bit short for me.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Butterflies and bits of art

Over the half term holiday a few weeks ago I spent a little bit of time doing a bit of painting. A few years ago I did some butterfly inspired work and wanted to do a bit more.

In Progress - can you see the PVA glue?
These pieces are mostly acrylic paint and ink with a few mixed media bits thrown in too, such as netting, plastic and PVA glue.

Where I left them!
One of them has already found a home and you can see the image of it in situ in its new home at the top of the page.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Cute Culottes

I made culottes and the fit (kind of)!
I had seen the curved yoke culottes in the May issue of Burdastyle magazine, and thought they would be perfect for the summer.

I bought a cotton and linen mix fabric from 1st for Fabrics in Longbenton, which was a very well behaved fabric and comfy to wear.

The pattern is quite easy to sew up, as long as you know what you're doing with curved seams and only has 4 pattern pieces.

I made the size 38. I would normally go for a 40 at the hip and grade down to the waist, but these are wide and the 38 is fine. In fact it could do with just a smidge off the waist as I founf that the culottes teneded to slide down a little (as you can see in the picture) and a couple of cm off at the waist would prevent that from happening.

I've already made the adjustmwnt to the pattern and will be making at least one more pair this year.
I also think they'd be great shorter or made as full length wide trousers.

There is a side zip on the left, but I think a pocket on the right side would be useful, so will add one in next time.

The top is also Burdastyle cap sleeve crop top from 2015

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Saturday Printmaking

 This weekend I had the privilege of joining some of my year 7 students at a printmaking workshop at the High School. The event was run by one of the High school teachers and a local artist Theresa Easton.

The students had opportunity to create a range of prints and then using the theme birds, collage the prints to create a 3D bird. The students also worked to create a flying bird style sculpture.

They had a fab time and also had opportunity to meet other students from the local feeder schools. Next time it will be the turn of year 8.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Crazy Cambie

I made a Cambie - yeah I know I'm a little late to the party, but I did get there in the end. This is my Crazy Cambie. It's actually a wearable muslin - as the only thing I actually bought was the zip.

A friend had given me the fabric a couple of years ago when she'd seen it in bargain corner at Ikea. The lining is a cotton sheet and the pattern was a gift.

The fabric is a thick cotton fabric, heavier than a normal cotton with a good texture, curtain weight I think. Pre washed at 40 as I know Ikea fabric does shrink.

I made the Cambie in size 6 and followed the instructions for the bodice. I made a couple of small chages to the skirt - pleating to reduce bulk at the waist and putting the pockets at the side seams rather than princess seams - the skirt is a bit less full than the gathered version, but the structure does give plenty of body. I also used a regular rather than an invisible zip. I didn't even try to pattern match as the pattern repeat was so large and quite a random design. I'm quite pleased with the over all effect.

I thought that the fit might be a bit tight, but after following the instructions exactly the bodice is actually a little big. It needs a couple of cm taking out of the waist and a bit off each side seam. I also found the sweetheart neck gaped a little. I'll be adjusting the pattern to pinch out a couple of cm from the neckline just where the sleeve joins.

My only issue with the instructions are that it is almost impossible to adjust once complete (without unpicking a huge amount). The waistband is in one piece. I may seam it at the sides to allow for adjustment next time.

I wore this to work today - not sure it was a good idea when doing ceramics with year 7 all day, but it survived, was comfy and despite the weight was cool to wear. The photos were taken after a day of work not too creased either! (iphone, so not really the best quality) Shoes are from ASDA - emergency purchase!

Soundtrack to the Cambie making:
Placebo, Clean Bandit, Alt-J, Broken Bells (well it was an all day epic).

So would you wear something this crazy? I love having something a bit unique - no one else has a dress quite like this?


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