Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Reveal

Well, it turns out that my white knit fabric has some poly in it. I can tell because the darkest the fabric is is dark gray. It's okay, I like the colour.

 I hope you all appreciate the photos I took outside, it was freezing. Literally, -3 C, 26 F.

1. This is the crystal scrunch pattern. I was hoping for more white on this, I added too much dye to the fabric, but it is still useable, maybe a sleeve or the back or both.

2. Bullseye.  I like how this pattern turned out. I had never done this tie method before, and this is what I was hoping it would be. I am planning on cutting the front with only a portion of the circle. This may will most likely change.

3. Vertical stripes. A few of the white portions were tied wonkey donkey. It's okay, I am sure I can work around it/them.

4. Donuts. You can see in the photo that I had the fabric doubled when I tied the billions of elastics. There are a couple of strange amoeba shapes in the center of the fabric. And if you squint you can see faces looking at you. No? Maybe it's just me.

5. Close up of the fabric and the colour is pretty much dead on. Which is why I froze for these, the colour is accurate when photographed outside.

By the way, the fabric is 150 cm/60" wide, and the shortest length is one meter/39". So I will have enough fabric to make at least two long sleeved t-shirts.

Overall I am pleased with how the fabric turned out. What you do think? Do any of you see dyeing fabric in your future?

This post is sponsored by the metric system.

Friday, November 22, 2013

It's Dyeday Friday

Today is the day to dye. I have destroyed my hands the last couple of days tying, or more accurately elastic-ing my fabric. At one point my hands were cramping, so I had to take a break. When doing this you have to have the elastics really tight or the dye will creep under them and the point of tying the fabric is lost. Hence the cramping hands.

from left to right, top to bottom
1. a crystal scrunch fold 2. vertical stripes
3. circles 4. sort of bullseye
5. soaking in soda ash and water 6. circles after dye is applied
7. bullseye after dye is applied 8. the mess after 

If you start dyeing, be sure to have dedicated tools for dyeing that you will never ever ever ever use for food. You need measuring spoons, a funnel, something to stir stuff with, buckets, measuring cups, rubber gloves, and very likely some other stuff I can't think of now ziplock bags

I only use Procion MX dyes, made by Jacquard Products, Dharma Trading also sells Procion dyes, but I prefer to support local businesses when at all possible. Also, shipping to Canada is a little pricey sometimes. Procion dyes are almost completely colour fast when used on cellulose fibers, cotton, rayon, linen, tencel etc. I tried Rit dyes once and was profoundly disappointed with the results, in my opinion, Rit is Sh*t. It will continually wash out over time.

I am dyeing my fabric using the direct application method, so the first step is soaking the fabric in 1 cup soda ash mixed with one gallon of water. Soda ash alters the PH of the fabric making it "take" the dye more successfully. If you forget to soak your fabric the dye won't bond with the fabric and the results will be less than optimal. Ask me how I know. Very important- soak ash is very alkaline and not nice to your skin, so always always wear gloves. Soak the fabric for 15 minutes up to 1 hour.

While the fabric is soaking, I mix up the dye. I save dish detergent bottles and similar bottles for this purpose (my favourite ones are the ones from Smuckers Plate Scapers, they work really well). I used to buy plastic bottles at the dollar store, but I found they leak and the recycled bottles don't, and besides they are free. Free is good.

I am using black dye, and black takes twice as much dye as most colours, so if you want black, buy more dye than you think you will need. Of course, in the spirit of do as I say not as I do, I had to make a run to the store to get more black dye.

Always wear gloves when handling dyes, and if like me, you don't always take your own advice, and you get dye on your hands, a pumice stone works well for removing the dye. Washing dishes also helps. Ask me how I know.

I like to apply the dye in a shallow container, I found plastic containers at a thrift store for 10¢, they have just enough of a lip so the dye doesn't get all over the everything, and shallow enough that I can put the dye where I want it. Once I have the dye on the fabric, I then put the fabric or t-shirt or whatever in a ziplock bag, and keep them in a warm place for 24 hours.

Tomorrow, the reveal.

If you want more information about dyeing your own fabrics, the websites below are great resources.

Paula Burch-all about hand dyeing
Dharma Trading-also a supplier of dyes, and fabric and everything for dyeing
Jacquard Products-maker of Procion MX dyes

Monday, November 18, 2013

dyeing some fabric

I have mentioned in passing that I live in a fabric desert. One fabric store, and a chain one at that, doesn't make for fun fabric shopping. Sure, there is always something you want, but when you want to make a t-shirt in the style of the Tilton sisters with 3 or more coordinating fabrics that aren't polyester or plain poly cotton interlock, fuhgeddaboudit.

So after watching The Ultimate T-Shirt Craftsy course, of course I went out looking for fabrics. Uh, no. There was nothing that got me. There was however this.

it is white, not gray, and the wrinkles are permanent

It was in the discount/mystery content/el cheapo section for $3 a meter. It appears to be a cotton blend, possibly with rayon and maybe a little polyester. I love finding knits in the discount section, especially when they aren't of the petro chemical variety, so I bought it. All of it, 9.2 meters of it. I would have bought more.

The plan is to dye the fabric, using tie dye and shibori methods. I plan on dyeing the fabric three or four different ways, but all in the same dye colour. A different method for each pattern piece. I still haven't decided on which tying/resist pattern for front, back, sleeves, and neck band. 

I only use Jacquard Procion MX dyes, which only work on cellulose fibers, and as I don't know what the fabric is made from, I had to do the most boring of all things and actually test. Sigh. 

forgive the crappy iPhone photos, with all the water and soda ash etc my DSLR wasn't getting near this mess
I played around with chip clips, tying beads into the fabric (donuts), thin elastics, fat elastics, and just plain tying the fabric in knots. None of which helped me make a decision, but was fun nonetheless. 

the finished test samples, chip clips on the right
As you can see the fabric took the dye pretty well, I'm thinking at most it has 10% poly. So this means I get to move forward on my plans. Stayed tuned.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

drum roll please

They were all sooo excited about the draw.
Apparently there was more than 13 people who hadn't made a Minoru yet, there were 20.

Everyone was assigned a number, in the order of which they commented.

1 Seraphinalina
2 Katy
3 House of Pinheiro
4 Jilly Be
5 Robin
6 Barbara
7 Country Girl Couture
8 Sox
9 Carolyn
10 Kate
11 t Sedai
12 Dracualsh
13 KC
14 Summer Flies
15 Rainjerette
16 Prettynpink
17 alizee
18 Judith
19 Andrea
20 Gmarie

Barbara  Robin is the winner! Congratulations Barbara Robin! Email me and let me know your address so I can get it to you.

Edited. OMG I am a complete idiot. As you can clearly see, I made a mistake and it isn't Barbara that is the winner, it is Robin.   Robin please email me with your info. 

Barbara, I am so sorry, please email me and I will find something to send off to you. Again, I am so sorry.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My Minoru (sung to the tune of My Sharona) and a giveaway

I finally made my first Minoru. I have loved this jacket pattern since it was first produced. I have been looking for a suitable casual jacket for years. Yes, years. I either don't like the style, the fabric, the price or whatever. I have an ugly old Gore-Tex that works perfectly well for what I need, so I wasn't going to buy something I didn't love, or at the very least, like.

The changes I made to the pattern. The usual pockets on the outside. This is almost a given. The interior pockets are intended to have Velcro closures. There is almost nothing that I hate doing more than trying to sew on Velcro. Instead I redrew the pocket pattern, making sure there was room for my iPhone and credit card holder,  and added zippers, and spent about six times as much time as I would have if I had just used Velcro. I consider it time well spent. Velcro is evil.

Updated: I forgot that I straightened out the waist a little lot, as I don't have much of a waist. If you are a square instead of a pear you may want to do the same.

I am also a touch bigger than the largest size and so I had to grade up the pattern. I used up the last of my Swedish tracing paper. I can't figure out if I like this stuff or not. I don't like tracing with it, because every pen I use bleeds through and the pens sometimes catch on the paper. On the other hand, I like that when I am marking the fabric with Frixion pens, the ink goes right through the paper, and I don't have to use a tracing wheel etc. I usually use plastic table cloths from the dollar store. Hmm, something to think about.

For those of you who are screaming at me not to use Frixion pens because of the ghosting, I have had 100% success with removing the ghosting marks with my standard stain remover of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and Dawn dish detergent (not safe for silk or wool), but YMMV, always be sure to test on your fabric.

My outer fabric is thrifted stuff and I think is cotton, possibly with some linen, the lining is that insane Home Sewing is Easy fabric. I love this fabric, and couldn't figure out what to do with it. It is too silly for me to wear a garment out of it, but a lining is perfect. I couldn't find zippers close enough in colour to satisfy me, because I live in a sewing desert with only one useless chain fabric store, so I used black. I like the look.

I wrote all of the above quite awhile ago when I was still in the infatuation stage with the jacket. Since then I have sewn and ripped and sewn and ripped. I have never in my life screwed up as much as I have on this jacket. I can easily state with no danger of exaggeration that I spent three times as much time ripping out stitches as I did actually sewing. I have to state it is in no way the fault of the pattern, or my choice of fabric. It was me. All me me me me. At one point I was considering setting fire to it in my driveway and then driving over it in my car and lawn mower and snow blower. So I wisely decided to take a break from it. For a month and a half.

Canadians, notice the piece of Canadiana memorabilia.
To make it all worse, I don't like the jacket on me. When it isn't zipped up it looks okay, but with the zipper done up it is like it is designed to draw attention to my worst features. I have a short neck, and the collar makes me look like my head is attached directly to my shoulders. I have a protruding belly, it couldn't be more obvious if I had appliqued on an arrow pointing to it. Don't get me wrong, I WILL wear it.

UPDATE-since writing all the above.

I have worn the jacket quite a bit and have had a few unsolicited compliments, also the few people that I told I made it were very complimentary. So now I like it, making it clear that I am very easily swayed and have no firm opinions of my own.


And now for the giveaway. Recently while indulging in one of my favourite hobbies (thrift store shopping), I found a brand new, uncut, unopened Minoru pattern. So my find is your potential gain. If you are one of the 13 people who haven't made a Minoru yet, leave a comment and I will draw a name on Sunday, November 17.