Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wedding Dress Progress

I realize that I am making this for a challenge for the magazine Alter Couture and they would not want me to publicize this. So this will be my last post of the progress. This is after I cut it and dyed. I am documenting it and after I deliver the dress to Stampington and hear back whether I'm accepted or not I'll decide when to publish my journey with the dress.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

An Artful Journey Ends and Begins

The world is a looking glass and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face.
~William M. Thackeray

I'm home from An Artful Journey where I stayed in a cabin that felt like a tree house. The little sunroom had a large paned picture window looking out at bare oaks and evergreens. We gathered here in the morning for tea and coffee and in the evening after class for a glass of wine.

I was pleased to learn several new techniques in three days of classes I took with Nina Bagley even though I chose not to attempt the wire wrapping and metal parts. I had the tools and I bought the wire but remembered my last attempts and thought "I don't think so". Nina was gracious enough to give me some clues on how I could work around not doing the wire wraps and I am very grateful.

Learning to crochet beads is something I know I will be getting hooked on (pun intended) and knotting silk cord and making these little stuffed hearts that are so precious. Everyone in class did such wonderful work!!!

I took a little valise full of dyed and vintage ribbons wrapped on cards and practically sold out. Now I will need to have some dye days to color more ribbons for Etsy.

My big project I'm starting though is for this challenge from Altered Couture magazine: Altered Wedding
 For those of us who have bridesmaid’s dresses we don’t know what to do with, we challenge you to take the occasion out of the dress and make your wedding attire into something usable. Everyone in the wedding party can get involved. Consider revisiting a flower girl dress or bridal wear and accessories as well. There’s no better way to keep a memento from such a big day than to incorporate it into wear for any day. Or, if you are an ambitious bride and have recreated your dress out of another one, we’d love to see that too. Save the date and alter away!
 Deadline: March 15, 2011.

Here are some pictures of the wedding dress I will be altering. It is dupioni silk with an organza top that has ripped a bit and a full nylon petticoat flounce. It is in the washing machine as I am writing this. When it's washed and dried I'm going to cut it up. I do have a plan but I'm not telling. The deadline isn't very far away so I have hopes of getting it finished but I'm not making any promises. I will post my progress if it happens.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Artful Journey

I have been gathering supplies for a class I will be taking at An Artful Journey retreat beginning on Thursday. I'm taking Nina Bagley's class and while I know I'll be challenged with the metal part I'm looking forward to working with the fabric bits and learning how to crochet beads and buttons on a chain.

Friday night at the retreat is vendor night for the instructors and on Saturday attendees can vend. I plan to have hand dyed ribbons, wayward blooms, scarves, stoles, and some garments for sale.

I haven't been as productive as I'd like to because my back has been so bad. I've tried not to whine and complain nor write about it here but dammit all, aging pretty much sucks and I'm not even that old. I've had a fractured vertebrae at sometime in my life in the thorax area so over the years two vertebrae have become wedged and the effect trickles down. It's a chronic ache and somedays I just can't stand over the dye pot, or sit at the sewing machine, or much of anything but lay on a heating pad. Last Thursday I had an epidural steroid injection and so far it hasn't improved and initially I felt worse. I'm told it could take 1 -2 weeks to feel any difference so I'm trying to be hopeful (trying is the operative word here) and not get depressed. Okay enough of that. (WAH!).

I'm going to work on some more flowers today and maybe finish a garment I've been working on if I can find the black piece of burnout velvet I want to use on it. I knew right where it was until I cleaned up my studio. sigh.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tea Dye

Tea dyeing is a simple way to get a tan/ecru color when dyeing fabrics, ribbons, and laces. Remember that only natural fibers will take the dye. Tea contains tannic acid which is what colors the fabric. I like the aged look that tea dyeing creates but I find while silks dye beautifully and a richer color cottons can be pale or show almost no color. I think in the future if I'm dyeing cottons I will use an alum mordant first to see if it produces a deeper shade.

Tea is a natural dye so is not good to use on items that will be washed a lot. The dye will fade with time and definitely be removed if using detergents with additives such as stain removers.

Dyeing with tea is simply steeping tea bags (5-6 per gallon of water) in boiling water. I found tea on sale at Ross so the expense was not great. I added the fabric pieces, ribbons, and lace and let them set over night. I did notice that the silks could have been taken out of the bath in a couple of hours and been just as deeply colored but the cotton laces soaked up a little more color by leaving over night.

The term tea staining is when you brush on the tea solution as opposed to immersing in it.

Here are my results from this batch. (click on picture to zoom)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Class Opportunities

Registration opens on Feb. 8th for "Create". A new mixed media art venue from the Cloth, Paper, Scissors people to be held in Southern California. I am very excited to be teaching 4 classes in May. Three of them are new and of course my popular ribbon dyeing class is the 4th. I'll be teaching "wayward wrist wraps" which is a nuno felted and embellished bracelet wrap, "wayward blooms" is silk ribbon and fabric dyeing and creating those into wonderful flower adornments, "the perfect cord" a 3 hour class of dyeing silk yarns and ribbons and twisting them into unique and colorful cords, and ribbon dyeing. I hope you can join me.

Other opportunities to take a class from me are "Art Unraveled" in Phoenix, AZ in August

"Art is You" in September in Petaluma, CA

click on the buttons you'll find to the right of this blog to take you to the site pages and see more info about these wonderful retreats.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Passel of Silk Ribbons

This last weekend was rainy and dismal so I found myself in the studio and got inspired to dye ribbons. I solid dyed, dye painted for a watery, heathered look, and tea dyed silk of dupioni, charmeuse, chiffon, crepe, habotai, velvet, and silk cord. I dyed rosy pink, deep red, cobalt blue, mermaid green, ecru, chestnut, dusty teal, and burnt orange spice.

Yesterday I measured the ribbons, wound them onto cards, and printed the information on each. Next I had to photograph each card with different views. This all takes a bit of time and I have just now finished listing them in Etsy. Please take a look.