Fabric Paint. A whole new world!

I’ve really love the unique look of painted fabric, however I’ve been too timid to try for a long time. After reading Alabama Channing’s books, and seeing the way she paints fabric, I began researching it again the other day, really meaning to do it this time. I spent a dreadfully long boring hour looking at stencils at JoAnn’s and eBay that clearly had not been updated since the 1990’s, they all looked so blah and drab, I just could not stand it, so I moved on and kept searching styles of fabric painting. When I came across a blog article at Craft Critique, I realized that I’m not bound by typical store bought stencils, and suddenly remembered that the wonderful point of Chain’s chapter on stenciling was that she made her own! And that is something that I can easily do with Photoshop, so I got to work! I tried out of the stencils on a simple black skirt, and it turned out okay, I think you used the wrong brush, but more practice and I think I’ll get it, I’m just getting started!!

Here is a free pattern download: Stenciled Skirts Patterns

10 Easy Steps to Dip Dye Fabric with Fruit!

 One of my favorite things to look for when clothes shopping are things that are dip dyed, where the color fades from dark to light. I’ve never even considered that I could do it myself, when I accidentally came across a tutorial while searching for something else. I was unbelievably excited!!…until I discovered how chemical, and plastic laden, the process is :( As I researched it more, finding other tips and tutorials, I learned that it uses harsh chemicals, some suggest that you wear a face mask, all suggest that you use heavy rubber gloves, and I’d need to buy a big plastic bucket that could be bleached after, and a plastic drop cloth that I could throw away after, and… I started to lose my excitement. Then, just at the end of my researching, I clicked a link for “natural dyes”, hoping for something that would be less toxic to myself and the environment. I was instantly thrown back into enthusiasm for the project as I watched a YouTube video of a girl dyeing yarn with onion skins: How-To Make Your Own Natural Dye with the EtsyLabs. But could this be done with fabric? Yes! But could it be used as a dip dye! Double yes! I was most influenced by this fabulous tutorial: Brittany Makes – DIY natural dip-dye

Making a Fruity Dip Dyed Skirt!

Supplies
$2.00 for a 2lb bag of frozen mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries)
$1 in non-iodized salt
$2 for a white 100% cotton thread
$4 for 2 yards of white 100% cotton muslin (it was on sale)

Instructions
I sewed the cotton skirt with the cotton thread, using my usual skirt pattern.
(click here to view the Effortlessly Earthy Skirt Pattern)
(Also, I forgot to pre-wash my fabric, I do suggest doing this first)

Based heavily on the above tutorial, this is how I dyed my skirt:
Day One…In the evening…
1. Filled large stockpot over halfway full of water, add one cup of salt, and boil the skirt for one hour.
2. Right before the skirt is done boiling, use a blender or food processer to puree the thawed mixed berries, with a half cup of salt, and roughly two or three cups of water. Then boil the mixture in a saucepan for less than five minutes.
3. Place a tarp down and put two mixing bowls on top of it.
4. Pour the skirt and extra boiling water from the stockpot into one bowl. Leaving the top of the skirt in bowl one, stretch the end of the skirt, into the other bowl. (see photo below)
5. Pour the berry dye into the bowl with the bottom of the skirt, and make sure it is submerged.
Day Two… the next morning, roughly 12 hours later…
6. Briefly boil one cup of salt with four cups of water.
7. Poured the newly hot salted water into the mixing bowl with the fruit dye, and very carefully stir around without splashing.
8. Next drag in another portion of the skirt, make sure it is submerged, and leave it alone again.
Day Three…
9. While soaking in the mixture this whole time, the water and dye have slowly climbed up the skirt. Ever so carefully lift the top half of the skirt out of the bowl that was only salted water, and taking care not to let any of the white part of the skirt drop into the dye, take the whole mess to the bathtub.
10. Shower the skirt off, making sure the top stays at the top and gets no dye on it, while washing and wringing the bottom to get all the fruit and seeds gone. From experience, I discovered this is easier with four hands, so have a friend handy if possible. Let the skirt hang dry, then iron it out.

The fruit dye was a deep red, but as the dye came off, the skirt became purple, and as it dried it faded to a lovely light purple/grey. I love this skirt, and can’t wait to wear it out! I plan to wear it first on Halloween as a part of my costume, it’s just too good to pass up, to be wearing a fruit dyed skirt for a fruit fairy costume!

Another great tutorial can be found here: itty bitty IMPACT or simply google “DIY Natural Fabric Dye” for tons of ideas! I can’t wait to try more experiments in organic fabric dyes!

Don’t Forget Seam Allowances…like I did.

My post earlier today was all about the new pattern that I’m in love with, what I failed to mention, and also failed to do, was take into account seam allowances when I made it the first time, so I ended up with a skirt way too small around for me. Meg grabbed my disgrace, pulled it up to her armpits, and announced “I’ve always wanted a dress like this!!” Somehow she talked me into turning it into a play dress for her, we took out one of the six panels, added spaghetti straps, and eureka! It’s rather shabbily done, but then I think that is what we were going for, a sort of renaissance peasant child plus woodland elf… meg was immensely pleased with the result and ran around it for almost the entire three day weekend!

Meg the Elf & Kate the Gerbil