Tuesday, August 23, 2011

... Picnic sneak peak: tunics & things

Holy cow, August has flown by – it possibly has something to do with moving to another state, wrapping up the busiest month at work, and getting ready to be a vendor at Picnic on Saturday (THIS Saturday, for reals!). I'm taking a quick sewing break to preview a few other little bits and bobs I'll have with me on Saturday at Picnic. First up is a lightweight tunic made with a fun cotton voile:

I'd wear it with jeans, but you could also pair it with leggings (or jeggings, if you are indecisive about pants). I've got a few other great prints that I wanted to use for this design, but I'm basically running out of time. So I'm thinking I'll bring swatches with me on Saturday and if anyone is interested, I can custom-make more on order (or sell them on my sweet Etsy site).

I also wanted a few smaller items to take with me to Picnic, so I've sewn up a few different little zipper bags. I seem to accumulate these little bags like crazy – I have them in my purse, in the car, everywhere. I just find them super-useful. So I made a few out of linen with cute little ruffles:

And some with printed twill and poplin:

I was thinking of doing something fun with the pulls, but I haven't quite decided yet. (Clearly I have to decide pretty quick).

So if you are in the area, definitely come say Hi at Picnic this weekend. And for the love of all that is holy, cross your fingers that we don't have a hurricane! Otherwise I'll be sitting there in a poncho, and you won't be able to see my cute dress. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

...adventure in dip-dyeing fabric

I spent most of last weekend at Filia's temporary Maine HQ (aka my parent's house), getting an huge assist from various family members on projects for Picnic. One project I was really excited to try was dip-dyeing fabric that I would then make into skirts. Dip-dying gives a lovely sort of ombre effect, going from light to dark. I was using white 100% cotton gauze and a mix of red and pink dye, so my ideal result was a dark, fuchsia red fading into a lighter pink, with a band of white preserved at the top. I had never tried this before and prepared by doing really the barest amount of research on the internet and basically winging the rest - which probably factored into the results. But more on that later.

It took us a while to figure out what our process was going to be. Because I wanted to use the fabric for skirts, it had to be oriented in a particular way. My mum also cleverly pointed out that all the fabric for one skirt should be dyed at once, since it would be hard to replicate the intensity of color or the exact fading pattern in two subsequent batches. The plan was to dip the fabric in the dye, leave it in there briefly, then raise the fabric up a few inches (so that the bottom of the fabric was still sitting in the dye) and let it soak for a few more minutes. We settled on a characteristically elaborate/MacGyverish set-up involving safety pins, dowels and bricks.

Eye of newt, toe of frog
We started out by making the dye bath according to the instructions on the box (as any of my friends who have played board games with me can tell you, I always read the directions). I used half a box of scarlet dye and half a box of fuchsia. Then we took our pre-cut pieces of fabric (cut a bit bigger than I would need for a skirt) and pinned the top of them evenly to a dowel, two at a time. We also decided in advance how low we would dip the fabric and where we would pull it out to in the second phase of the dyeing, and put safety pins on both sides of the fabric pieces to mark those spots (you can just see them on the picture below).