Monday, July 23, 2012

Week 4: Ombre

Whoo... that was a close one. I squeaked by in 5th place. But the upshot is that I squeaked by and am moving on to week 5: Boy themed crafts.  I have to admit, I was feeling pretty confident about my crafting this week... until I saw the other entries! This competition is getting fiercer every week...
You really ought to take a look, there are some pretty crafty ideas.


Of course, I'm hoping that you'll vote for mine. :)

Ombre Dyed Silk Cowl

This week's theme has been the most fun! I started out by dying some fabric for a skirt.

What you'll need to dye, minus the clothespins. They did not end up serving any useful purpose...

My first attempt:
Or, what I did wrong...

1. I used too much dye. The whole bottle in fact. I wanted to make sure I got a vibrant color, but I know now that I could have gotten the same color without washing half the bottle down the drain. 

2. I attempted to rig up a system to lower the fabric slowly in sections. (Notice the aforementioned clothes pins?) Yeah... did not work. I think for this to be successful you'd need to be able to have your fabric be spread completely flat so that you would get straight lines. My tub of dye wasn't big enough, and I wasn't about to fill up my whole bathtub with dye. It was also awkward to get the pole out at the end, since I wanted all the fabric to be dyed, and not left white. 

3. I really loved the colors I got at first. What I did not take into account was how much more dye would be washed out when I ran it through a cycle to set the color in my washing machine. I learned to dye it darker than I want the finished product to be. (i.e. I should have left it to set longer in the dye bath.)

Okay, let's be honest. Wearing a skirt made out of this a person would end up looking like a giant candy corn...

The lines between the different shades didn't come out as straight as I wanted, but the color was gorgeous and the dyeing process had me hooked!

I quickly went out and bought a few (ahem, five) more colors and started dying every piece of white clothing I could get my hands on. 

$9 dress from Wal-mart, now I won't look like a giant marshmallow...

A dress, some tee shirts, my daughter's stained cardigan. I even dyed some shirts for my son. Just plain, not ombre. (Because he's a boy and he looked at me like I was crazy when I suggested it.)  I was seriously debating whether or not my husband would wear ombre colored socks, when I stumbled across a bolt of antique silk that I was given by my grandmother years ago. It's almost 65 years old and has yellowed with age, but I thought that I would try to dye some of it and see what I got.

My lines still aren't perfectly straight, but they are getting better. And yes, the color looks really off here because I have fluorescent lights in my laundry room.

It came out so beautifully. I took three yards of the silk and dyed it in three concentrations.

 After I set the color and the fabric dried I cut it in half and then into 8 1/2" strips. I sewed two strips together, matching light to dark on both ends, with a french seam. Then I did as small of a rolled hem as I could on both long edges.

The silk is so light and airy it's a perfect summer accessory, and the pink is a great punch of fresh color.

Ombre dying isn't difficult, but it does take some playing around to find the techniques that work best for you. And be forewarned, once you start dying you may not be able to stop!

I did another piece of silk in a teal color. This time I went for a much subtler gradient of color. I dyed this piece in 5 minute increments, so the darkest part sat in the dye bath for over half an hour while the lightest part only sat for 5 minutes. 

So pretty. 

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