Duck and Denim

Dyed and Denim Jacket

Dyed and Denim Jacket

My new dyed jacket is a combination of hand-dyed duck* cloth and upcycled denim*.

The dyed part uses a shibori folded method…it’s a two part process.  The first dye gives the color splotches and the folding gives the blue lines.

It’s made using Vogue pattern 9153.

*Duck is from the dutch doek or “linen canvas”.   And denim?  That’s jean material, aka serge de Nîmes or twill from Nîmes in France.

Silk Striped shirt

Silk Stripe

Silky Stripes…uses a fun of silk fabrics and a lovely chambray shirt that I promptly cut up for (part of) the sleeves and the collar.

I used Butterick pattern 5218 for this shirt.

Both of these (jacket and shirt) were made with french/flat felled seams.  Sometimes, I line the garment. Or I serge.  With the number of pieces of fabric that I put in the crazy garments I do something to stop the fabric from fraying away.



Zippy Jackets to De-Stash

De-Stash!!  That’s my new mission.  Pull out that fabric and use it.  Some fabric is hand-dyed/printed/tied and some is commercial.  Some big pieces and some small.  Most are pieced–like a quilt, I combine fabrics helping them play well with others!

Indigo ikat woven

Peppy Blue

Two zipper-front jackets used different fabrics for different effects.

Peppy Blue was made with a combination of cotton fabrics.  The body of the jacket was handwoven using ikat-indigo dyed yarn.  Ikat gives the white areas–that’s where the yarn was tied so the indigo couldn’t get in.  The handwoven is soft and has a nice drape.  The sleeves are commercial, also indigo dyed.

The jacket is zipper front–the white zipper works well with the ikat white spots.

Marcy Tilton V8779


The pattern that I used was from Vogue-Marcy Tilton.  #8779  It’s a great pattern–looks boxey, but with the right fabric it makes a fun, jacket with different fits/drapes.  Unfortunately, it’s now out of print (:

Because of the loose structure of the Bias Bindinghandwoven fabric, I finished some of the Peppy Blue seams with bias binding.


Print and Upcycled denim

Basic Shapes

Another jacket with a different look is Basic Shapes.

I had a good sized piece of a fabric that I had printed in a workshop.  It sat in the stash box for years–too fun to throw, but not right for any project that was at hand.

I used the same pattern (V8779) and paired the printed fabric with denim.  I have a project that needed lots of denim–so I purchased used jeans from my local consignment/thrift store.  Now I have a big pile.

So, they’re going into clothing.  Cut and pieced.  One of the fronts I sewed with “outie” seams that I clipped.  After washing, the seams fuzz up–like chenille.  I modified the jacket a bit.  I like longer jackets (to cover my butt when I’m wearing leggings) but it was a bit long in the front, so I made a circular cut in the front.  Yup it’s shorter in the front–but not so visible in my pic.

This jacket is lined–that’s my choice when there are lots of seams.

Switch Gears

Time to switch gears.

Indigo patches

I’ve been posting about dyeing and using natural dyes.  I’ve searched my backyard and I’ve walked the neighborhood.  I’ve purchased dyes that were sustainable, and shipped from the other side of the world.  Fun to see what plants and some critters (cochineal) can do on fiber.  Here’s a shirt that’s pieced using indigo dyed fabric.

But after a while, I realized that most of what I was getting from my backyard was backyard yellow.  Yup, nice colors and fun to collect.   Combined with other dyes they give greens and oranges.  But, mostly yellows.

One day it occurred to me that I missed that burst of color that synthetic dyes give.  Bright colors.  Instant gratification.

So, I’m back to using synthetics.  Bright colors.  Combining lights and darks.  Mixing and matching.

Catalyst for Change

Catalyst for Change

And, along the way I got into t-shirts, especially upcycled tees.  I’ve been rediscovering shibori–folding, tyeing, pressing to get patterns.

That’s fun.  And, the words and pictures on tee-shirts.  What fun to combine the words and graphics.  More funky!

Here’s one that is most appropriate–Catalyst for Change.

So, onward to new fun!

Indigo pieces become a jacket

Sampling techniques and colors, I end up with a collection of small bits.  When the bag gets big enough, my quilting/piecing genes take over and I make something from the small pieces!  Using a run of indigo-shibori, I pieced a jacket:


Indigo-shibori pieces

Indigo-shibori pieces


Indigo-shibori pieced

Indigo-shibori pieced


Here’s the front of the jacket, with a fetching peplum!!  The stitching was random shapes.





And, the back, with fold and pole-wrapped.  The darker color was an overdye–indigo over backyard (pale) yellow.








indigo piecesHere’s the collection, pre-piecing, complete with pre-pressing wrinkles


Pieced pieces, naturally!

More pieced pieces…using small shibori’d squares dyed using natural dyes–many  from my backyard.

I call this one my Dandy Blouse because it’s dyed with dandelions.  I must be the only person in my neighborhood who welcomes the bright yellow sign of spring!

Dandelion, indigo and coreopsis shibori blouse

Dandelion, indigo and coreopsis shibori blouse

There are various shibori/folding techniques dyed with dandelion flowers on the left side of the Dandy Blouse.  Mostly “spider circles.”  One square is dandelion over-dyed with indigo to give a light green color.

The right wide is bolder, indigo dyed.  Mostly from folded piece, with squares and triangles. The folds give great contrast with the dark blue and white.  The collar was done with a scrunchy fold, called the donut; that’s one of my favorite folds.



How about this for an urban cowgirl!  Rarin’ to go!

Honeysuckle and indigo jacket

Honeysuckle and indigo jacket

The pieces for this jacket were dyed with honeysuckle (the leaves) and indigo.

The right side is a different version of the folded technique–squares and triangles.

Indigo with clamped resist

On the left sleeve, there are white marks remained after using small clamps.  And, the collar and right sleeve were pole (arashi) wrapped.

The fringe has beads–to give some bling and weight!


And, of course, Happy appears when the camera comes out.  Her shadow looks like a terrier!! But, she’s pure “Happy dog!”Happy's rarin to go, too!




Odds and Ends 1, Coreopsis and Indigo

Coreopsis is my all-time favorite back yard dye plant.  It’s a great flower in the garden–all sunny yellow and carefree.  And, it gives a wonderful orange dye color.  Very unexpected from the yellow flower.

Coreopsis and Indigo dyed, with shibori techniques

Coreopsis and Indigo dyed, with shibori techniques

I took some pieces that I’ve been dyeing and made up a shirt-Odds and End 1.  I started the summer with a series of shibori pieces, using different plants.  Some small (6 x 6) and some larger–1/4 yard.  And, the pieces were posted on my wall.  A nice collection and in my mind, the start of a pieced quilt, but, they never left the wall.  So, things changed and evolved into garments.  Here’s the first one…

Since it’s a collection of smaller pieces, I named it Odds and Ends 1.  Indigo was added to the mix — it’s not from my backyard.  (But technically it COULD be!)   Using shibori techniques.   There was bunching to get the pieces that make up the diamond.  And the blue stripes was a pole wrapped piece.  The top of the shirt was a larger piece that had the spider circles that made tie dye famous or infamous!

Coreopsis and Indigo dyed, with shibori techniques

Coreopsis and Indigo dyed, with shibori techniques

The back of the shirt has a better view of the spiders.  And, the left side has a piece that was folded and folded and then dipped so the edges took the indigo color.

(And, of course, Happy, is in the project–her ear (well a shadow) is captured in the lower left corner of the pic of the front!)

Beet it!

Yesterday, I cooked up a pot of beet waterbeets and that red/purple water was so inviting.  Not for a swim-dip, but for a dye-dip!  I put in a piece of treated cotton (treated with aluminum acetate.)  And, yum…the fabric turned a lovely pink shade.

Great!!  I’m loving this!

For the final step, I rinsed the excess.  And.  Aaaargh…the pink went down the drain.  Leaving my fabric barely colored.  This is what they mean by fugitive color–it runs away!!

Ah well, I dipped it again, dried it, without a rinse.  I’ve been working with beeswax/encaustic to preserve fabric collages.  This will be a great candidate.  Anyway, the beets were great eating!!

My friend Deb suggested using eggplant–the nice purple one.  I’ll be trying that for dyeing soon!


Yellows and gold

I made up a yellow pot, yesterday to get a subtle, mottled cloud look.  I started with some crown vetch (CV)…that large pink-clover that’s Crown Vetchused to stop erosion on a hill.  CV grows fast and provides quick coverage.  Once planted, it’s almost impossible to get out of the garden.  I know gardeners who reserve special swear words for this pushy plant 🙂  I used a piece of cotton that had been treated with aluminum acetate then crumpled in a ball and tied with twine.

I put it in the pot of CV that I had heated in water.  After a bit, I noticed that the fabric was gold on one side only.  I turned it in the pot, and left it in the dye liquor, hoping to get more color.  But, no, after more minutes, there was LESS color.

Dye lesson relearned.  Heating hotter and heating longer won’t add color.  I assume that there’s a fragility to the natural dye–a botanist/chemist would have the real answer.  I think that the sugars giving the color are lost with too much heat.

So, then I added some white ash leaves to the Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 5.45.20 AMdye liquor and heated them.  I tested the white ash “fruit” and found that there was no available color.  So, I just added leaves to the dye pot. Usually this gives a deep gold/yellow.  I put my fabric into the pot and got very little added color.

I remember one time, later in the summer when I used  white ash leaves and the color was very strong.  Might be that it’s too early???

Queen Anne's LaceSo, next, I gathered some Queen Anne’s Lace (QAL).  Just a small amount, heated (lightly) in a small pot.  I crammed in my two bundles of fabric.  At last, success, I got the color that I wanted.  QAL gives a bright yellow.



Yellow clouds

Too funny…backyard yellow is the most common color in MY backyard and yesterday, I had to work hard to get it!


Honeysuckle (hybridized) and Holy Basil

It’s spring and the garden is blooming with old and new favorites.  Even the weeds are welcomed after the long winter that we had this year!



The honeysuckle bush/vine in my garden is different than the one that grows all over. The wild one has a white flower and it’s so prolific that it seems like one GIANT plant.

The one in my garden has a pretty orange bloom and is better behaved.




The color that it gives is similar to the wild honeysuckle.  In the same backyard yellow vein.




Holy Basil

Holy Basil


A new visitor to my garden came from a local farmer.  They call it Holy Basil with a bloom like the tall phlox.  And in the peak of it’s bloom it was covered in bright yellow/gold blooms.  A standout at this time of year.  After enjoying it, I harvested some of the blooms and dyed with it.


Holy Basil

Holy Basil

A nice bright yellow…a bit more golden.

And, the plant has many seed pods. Maybe filled with many, many seeds.  Left to it’s own devices, I could have a garden full of this gold visitor!  HOLY BASIL!!