Category Archives: experiment

I did another tie dye t shirt

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This one came out more colorful on the back. I’ll take 3″ off the length and cut a 4″ fringe then bead it on the bottom.

See those orange circles surrounded by blue? I did a little experiment. I put rubber bands over beads inside the shirt. Then I put orange dye on the little bead bumps I made. and then put squares of plastic wrap on top of the orange dye with more rubber bands so the blue dye wouldn’t flow into the orange. Then I scrunched up the rest of the shirt and banded it up and used the ice dye technique to add color to the rest of the shirt.

That was fun. I bought another t shirt. I might try to do more contrasting circles using beads and plastic wrap. I’m excited about how bright my shirts are coming out.

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tie dye bathrobe for my daughter

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Sarah told me she recently purged her wardrobe and gave away a ton of clothes she doesn’t wear. She also put a moratorium on herself not to buy more clothes for the rest of the year. That’s a bold anti consumerism move from a career woman! So I told her if she wants something sewn or tie dyed to get me while I’m hot. She knows sometimes I don’t sew for years. She said she’d like a tie dyed bathrobe, so I said ok, I’ll give it a shot.

I got white terry cloth. It’s cotton and I thought it would take the dye well. I decided to cut the pieces out first but not sew them together till after I had it dyed. I thought that might make it more manageable to rinse in the sink. After I had the pieces soaking in the soda ash solution for 20 minutes I put them in the dryer to get out most of the moisture. The guy on the “crispy” U Tube video says to have the fabric only slightly damp when you tie it up to dye. (That guy is a real inspiration with the beautiful shirts he makes.) Well, my pieces started to fray in the dryer, so I sewed French seams on this to stop it from fraying more.IMG_1873

How do you like this draining mesh I rigged up? Good thing I saved those old stretcher strips every time I moved. I knew I’d use them one day. And that roll of waxed button twine I bought long ago finally got used for this project too. I stapled the twine to the stretcher strips.  I used a scrap of black mat board to make my collars to hold the ice on top of the fabric. I just had black on hand, any cardboard will do. That’s all my cuts for the robe scrunched down and banded up in the collars.IMG_1874

This photo shows my ice on top of my scrunched pieces with dye sprinkled on top of the ice. When the ice melts the color goes through the fabric and you get that water color look. You have to wait for the ice to melt then turn it over and put ice and more dye powder on the other side too. The excess dye drips into the plastic tub underneath. The ‘crispy” guy says to wait 24 hours before untying and rinsing the fabric. You can’t tell how it will come out. And kind of hard to wait 24 hours to see what you got!

I’m not finished with my tie dye experiments. I have another idea in mind, something big.

the Mondrian top in colors I like

IMG_1872This is my second try on making the Mondrian top. I like this one more because these are colors I enjoy wearing. The first time I made the top I was only trying to copy the original, but I don’t enjoy wearing red, gray, white and black. The monotony of the colors in the stores is what I’m trying to escape.

Quilting Adventures has the most beautiful cotton prints but I’ll have to iron this every time I wash it. The fabric  stores don’t have as great a color selection in polyester. Maybe I could make a Mondrian sweat shirt though, because they do have nice bright colors in fleece. That’s a project for the future.

Another reason I like this version more is because it fits better. After I used the pattern 5 times, and made a few alterations to it, I got it to fit just right.

So, it took 2 tries, and it was difficult, because I’m not very experienced at piecing, but I finally made a Mondrian top that will be fun for me to wear. And I hear the style is making a comeback.

tie dye t shirt with beaded fringe

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That was FUN!

My first 2 attempts to tie dye didn’t work out as well as I hoped, so I watched a few U Tube videos and got some good tips. This is the ice dying method. You scrunch up your shirt and put rubber bands all over it, then put it on top of a rack so the dye can drain. That way the shirt isn’t sitting in dye getting too dark and mucking up your colors. Instead of mixing the powdered dye with water and squirting it on with the squeeze bottles in the kit, you cover your t shirt with ice cubes and drop the powdered dye on top of the ice. When the ice melts the dye soaks into the shirt and gives this water color look.

The instructions on the kit say to wait 6 to 8 hours before untying the shirt and rinsing it, but the U Tube videos say to wait 24 hours, so I waited until the next day to rinse the shirt.

Also, the videos recommended you use soda ash to set the dye better and make the colors come out brighter. I got a pack of the soda ash and followed the instructions. I think it  did help keep my colors from washing out in the rinse part of the process.

I thought this one came out ok. I wanted to put a fringe on it because the shirt is long on me, but I wasn’t really sure how to add the beads and had to try a couple times sewing them on. Finally I got the hang of sewing the beads on, but it took a long time.

My wardrobe wouldn’t be complete without some tie dye. I need to do more.

 

top with neck facing trim

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I saw this top on TV and thought it was so cute I stopped the show to look at it. I liked the 2 rows of contrasting trim around the contrasting yolk. It looked like the neck facing was on the front instead of inside the top! I was so happy I figured out a way to make it!

I have a Simplicity pattern 8061 that looks like the style I saw on TV, and easy to sew. I made it out of muslin first to check the fit and was glad I did the muslin because the top fit ok except it was too high on the neck in front, like it was practically choking me. Then I tried again with some polyester fabric and cut the neck edge down about 3/4 ” from the original pattern. It was more comfortable to wear, but still could go lower. The pattern also has a low scooped neckline, a V neck and a square neck, but I wanted the higher round one. A lot of times the piece I sew doesn’t come out looking just like the picture on the pattern.

After I changed the neckline on the front pattern piece, I also had to draw  new facing pieces to fit my alterations. Then, do the bias trim on the facing top and bottom, sew the front of the facing to the wrong side of the top. When you flip it, it looks like a pieced yolk with trim, but it’s really only a facing.

I’m going to do it again with the facing on the front in contrasting colors, and alter the pattern one more time. This time, I want to lower the neck edge a little more and lower the armholes about 1″ too. Then it will be perfect for me.

Then I want to do the Mondrian top again in my favorite colors with this pattern.

microscopic star dust life form, reproducing

IMG_1862gold leaf and beads on oil paint

This is another experiment using masking fluid on oil paint. They say it doesn’t work. They say masking fluid beads up on oil paint. I think they are misinformed about that.

I started with a red tinted canvas and painted the masking fluid on my Spirograph design blocking out a red line. Then painted the blues and greens over top of the masking fluid. I added quick drying medium to my paint but still had to wait a couple days for the it to dry before taking the masking fluid off . Then I put gold leaf on my red lines and put beads on the canvas.

I used 2 different sized lids to stamp the violet circles in the background. For the larger beads, I cut little slits in the canvas and pushed the beads half way in, then hot glued them on the back. I sewed the small beads onto the canvas.

The most difficult thing about using masking fluid on oil paint is opening the bottle. You have to press down on the lid and turn it. I hear a click but the lid doesn’t unscrew. After trying to open the bottle for a while, my hand gets tired and I get out some tools because I want to break the freaking lid. Then finally I can open it after much frustration.  I mean, COME ON! Winsor Newton. Can’t they make a better lid?!

About the life form; It fell out of the sky into the ocean. Now it is reproducing and will probably choke out all life on Earth !  Are you scared? I just scared myself! hahahah

Mondrian top

img_1860Dang, mine doesn’t look as chic as the original by YSL. I’m wearing it. no one else in town has it and there will be a show of YSL styles at the VMFA in May.

I don’t have much experience with piecing, and was wondering how to do this. Our fellow blogger Linda, of Nice Dress, Thanks, I made it, gave me a good tip, and I looked it up. It seems there’s more than one version of this design from the 60s, and more than one way to make it. Any way, it looked like it would be difficult, and it was. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, but I finished it.

Maybe I shouldn’t have used cotton, because it wrinkles too easily. I don’t know what fabric YSL used.img_1855First, I made it out of lining, because patterns don’t always fit as well as I hope they will. When I tried this on, it was a little too snug to reach my arms forward. I drew charcoal lines on this, where I thought the black stripes should go. It’s just a rough marking, because I was wearing it and drawing on myself. I was glad I took the time to make it out of lining first, because it would be disappointing if I did all the work of piecing it then it was too small. Then I took this one apart and decided where to mark my paper pattern for the color blocking.

I saw some Mondrian dresses online made like a straight shift with no darts. I considered that style, but decided to use and A- line dress pattern, so it would fit me better. And I need sleeves because in the summer I get an uneven tan on my arms, from painting outdoors wearing T shirts every day. I saw the old Vogue pattern had the vertical line in the center of the dress, but I wanted mine off center like the original, so I didn’t want the Vogue pattern even if I could buy it, which might be hard to find.

I did the piecing before cutting the pattern.img_1857

When I got to this point, I knew I made a mistake. The lines match up at the side seams laying flat like this, but after I sew the darts, it will shorten the front red block and the black lines on the back would not match the lines on the front at the side seams. I had already put a lot of time into it and didn’t want to give up, so I had to take the black line off the back pieces and move it up about 1 1/2″ . So that might be the reason for making the dress as a straight shift, to eliminate that problem. I got it to work so my black lines meet at the side seams ok, though. It was just another sewing problem to figure out, and that kind of thing happens if you experiment. There’s a way to fix every mistake.

I wore it with jeans today, but it would hang better over a skirt. So a skirt is my next project. It will be a simple straight skirt.

Distelfink Walks Labyrinth

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This is my 3rd experiment with masking fluid on oil paint.  I masked off the dark red border on the labyrinth and the gold leafed lines on the bird. The 24 carat gold leaf came out looking real warm on top of the dark red outline but it shows up a cool gold in my photo.

It’s a difficult, time consuming process making the masking fluid  work on oil paint. I wouldn’t recommend other artists try it. It takes a lot of prep time and patience. I’m still working out the bugs. I’m not sure if it’s showing in this photo, but you can see the weave of the canvas  through the dark red lines. If someone examines the paint closely, they’ll know I used some kind of stencil when they compare the thick textured paint to the lines.

I don’t have a lot of experience with gold leaf. It’s something I tried to do long ago and had the gold leaf all these years in my art supplies. I remember hearing you need a smooth surface for the leaf. That’s why I masked off the lines for the gold leaf. The paint can get thick and textured on the rest of the canvas, but should be smooth under the leaf.

The Distelfink is a folk art bird from PA. They mean good luck. Distelfink is PA Dutch for Thistle Finch. They’re native in Europe, not PA, but their images are all over Southeast PA.  I’ve always enjoyed drawing them. And I  enjoy the challenge of drawing geometric designs like the Greek key and Celtic knots. Making the labyrinth work out on the size I want is a math problem and takes me a while to figure out, even with the picture of a labyrinth in front of me. These are two designs I have used since I was a kid, so they’re a fall back design for my experiment.

So,  while the weather isn’t good over the winter, this is what I’m working on. My ultimate plan is to make an icon with oil paint and gold leaf, using a portrait of Edgar Alan Poe. The more practice I get, the better my chances are of success with the icon for a show in the spring at the Poe museum.