Lots of sewing time and lots of projects!
For this top I used the Georgia top pattern by Elizabeth Suzann Studio. The fabric is linen and the flowers were stencilled with thickened dye for the blue and screenprinting ink for the grey. As a general rule, I use dye only when I must for the vibrant colour and the soft hand of the fabric, because it is a pain to work with. When I can get away with it I prefer the ink.
I used an Ikea curtain for these culottes, a heavier weight cotton with a nice herringbone weave. It was a creamy white originally, now dyed blue. The pattern is a variation of Vogue 8712 and the details are on PetternReview. The top is an older one, hand painted with dye.
Very happy with this grey linen top, love the geckos. Although I am always careful when using animal motifs, trying not to make them too cutesy, I don’t want to look as if I am working in a childrens ward at a hospital. (No offence intended to nurses, we are all very grateful for what they do.) BTW, this is straight off the clothes line, no ironing!
For the next couple of projects I am using a set of linen sheets, bought at a steep discount which worked out at $8/m. Great price and allows for a relaxed approach with my experiments. I do like the colour, a sort of muted pinky greyish mauve, but king size sheets yield a lot of garments and I can’t see myself with a whole wardrobe of this colour. It is also not that easy to combine with another colour either, grey is all that comes to mind, both for outfits and for painting. I tried to think outside the square with using pink, but wasn’t impressed with the result.
Not that great. I am really fussy, if I don’t love it I won’t wear it. I then tried to save this by dyeing the background purple, but let’s say that it was only a very modest improvement. The photo is actually kinder than the reality.
The purple turned out far darker than intended, and again, this is likely to languish at the back of my wardrobe. While it doesn’t look too bad, what do you combine this with? Pink pants? Purple pants? I tried black and didn’t like it much. I think I will continue to experiment with this top, removing the dye with a discharge agent. There is nothing to lose at this point and I might as well get some experience with discharging.
But I did learn something valuable from this disappointment: it seems that this linen, and possibly linen in general, takes the dye much more intensively than cotton. I have not done much immersion dyeing with linen, usually I paint on thickened dye with a brush. But with this immersion dyeing I used 3 teaspoons of dye powder, a third less than recommended in the recipe I have been using for cotton, and it turned out way darker than anticipated.
So I dialled the dye back a lot with my next project and that was sooo much better.
This time I used a plastic baby spoon to measure my dye (repurposing what’s left from when the grandchildren were little rather than throwing more plastic into landfill). The baby spoon is much smaller than a teaspoon and I used only 1 spoonful. That small quantity over-dyed the original colour really quite spectacularly. Dye is transparent, so when you dye you expect the original colour to show through and influence the result. This is why you can’t dye a darker colour lighter. But the fuchsia is really quite clear and untainted from the rather murky original.
I am too traumatised for now to try purple again, but I have already tried light blue and that was successful too, a nice mid blue denim colour.
Good to know as I work my way through many metres of this linen, although for a change I left the original colour intact with my next project.
But surprise, I used a new pattern! Doesn’t happen very often, but the Assembly Line, a Swedish independent pattern maker had a sale and i bought their cuff top. Normally they are too expensive for me and i would have just altered one of my patterns to reproduce the style, but their discount tempted me and I thought that I really need a new style for my tops. The Athina is great as a canvas for painting but we all need a change now and then.
There will be more of these tops and I might even make a skirt to go with this one, the top seems to be asking for it. Maybe a box pleat number? Or an A-line? This is what the pattern maker suggests, looks like a quarter circle with a gathered waist.
The sewing details for the Cuff Top are on PatternReview .