Monday, April 5, 2010

Impromptu / Boohoo

Ben didn't want to clean his closet today, (he never does,) so I started ironing my clothes. I love whites, but I have a hard time keeping them so, and some of my T-shirts were looking tired from repeated bleaching. So on impulse, I put them aside, and got out my Japanese indigo dye book, (a book with some shibori techniques,) Connie Rose's sample fabrics, and my sketchbook. Because I don't have any PVC pipes, (the "wrinkly leg warmer" technique is the one I'm most attracted to,) I stitched the smallest T-shirt. I used polyester sewing thread, because I heard polyester doesn't dye, so I hoped it would be easy to pull out.

That's as far as I thought I could go without reading up on cotton dyeing, until I remembered I had some Dylon cold dyes. It's not "proper" dyeing, but nevertheless, this is my first shibori experiment.

The blue looked far less blotchy when I was rinsing, and I was disappointed to see the shirt come out of the washing machine. I think I made it worse in the very last step, hot wash with regular detergent, when I didn't wait for the washing machine to fill up and the detergent to dissolve, but dropped the shirt, turned on the machine and poured the detergent, like a regular hot wash. I am mighty disappointed because I was so very careful up until then. And at this moment the shirt is still damp, so I expect the blue will be lighter tomorrow morning.

I had more dye solution, so I could have done another round, but I was in such a rush to see the stitched part, so I ripped into it. The polyester didn't dye and was easy to see, but in some sections, it broke too easily, and I wondered what caused it to be so brittle, if it would withstand multiple dyeing or stronger chemicals should that be needed in "real" non-Dylon dyes.

I have three more white shirts and two darker tops I can play with. They are all either a bit worn, or have stains I can't remove; they are not new or hand-woven so there is no pressure, but if I am successful, I can wear these around the house. I'd like to try, also, dyeing more than once in different colors.

All that after I get new gloves. And more Orvus.


  1. I actually really like the 'blotchy' effect, and until you mentioned it, thought it was supposed to be like that! It gives it a handmade feel but as it's a manufactured tee, it looks professional. Don't be so hard on your mistakes, it works! :)

  2. Aw, thanks, Shortcake! If I knew how to make the blotches intentionally, and did that, it would be great. As a T shirt, it's not bad, I think, but I would like the option of doing it "nicely" if I wanted to.

  3. I think it looks great and I wouldn't hesitate to wear that out in public.
    Of course I'm not known as the sharpest of dressers, but seriously, that T looks better than many others I've seen.

  4. Oh and I forgot to say, file that blotchiness away, it might be a technique you want someday. I too thought it looked planned.

  5. Theresa, I'm not a sharp dresser, at all, so maybe I can get away with it. I'll see how it dries - the blue is bound to be a bit paler, so maybe less noticeable?

    Then again, I could always be the blotchiness specialist, you know.

  6. Wonderful first go at it, Meg. You did a great job. I love that patterning -- that's the overcast stitching, I think. Can't wait to see what else you do with shibori!

  7. That is really great, the background compliments the shibori line. Wonder if we'd be brave enough to try it on a woven scarf?

  8. Thank you, ladies.

    Connie, in the book, this was called the "military" stitch! It wrapped around the two layers round and round, and the bundle became too bit to deal with at the fat end of the shape, so I couldn't stitch all the way to the end of the fabric. The book says you can manipulate the pattern inside the bundle to create shapes I like, but that'll take practice, and I think I need to stitch one layer at a time for that.

    Dianne, no, not yet. No way! But I am ready to try out on woven swatches, and I've got two tiny pieces. And more T-shirts.

  9. I liked it...I thought the blothes were part of the design.

  10. Not exactly, Holly. :-<

  11. Also liking your shirt!

  12. Thank you. It now lives in the closet. And I've began doing an all-over stitching on another shirt, so if it blotches, it won't matter too much. I need better needles, though. I think...

    The stitching has become my favorite thing to do in the evening while we're watching mindless telly. And since we're heading towards the cold season, this is a wonderful gift!


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