Today I’m sharing my hand stamped, dip dyed organic cotton maxi dress tutorial for the 30 Days Of Sundresses Series at Melly Sews, a month long bonanza of sundress tutorials for those looking for summer sewing inspiration! You can visit Melissa’s blog to enter her fabric giveaway and see all of the month’s sundress projects.
A couple of years ago, I bought some wooden stamps at The Rose Bowl Flea Market. Recently, I was sent a few yards of beautiful natural colored organic cotton with lycra from Organic Cotton Plus. It was an undyed, organic cotton jersey with just a hint of lycra, in a perfect weight for dresses. I absolutely love the quality. Being organic, as well as cotton, it was a perfect canvas to hand dye and stamp. Polyester blends don’t take dye very well. This was the perfect opportunity to finally try out my Indian fabric stamp! To make the pattern, I simple traced a store bought maxidress I already had.I ironed the cotton lycra and then pinned the red dress to it. I traced around it and added 1 inch seam allowances.
Whenever I copy store bought clothes little things surprise me. For instance, this dress was quite expensive for a simple cotton/ poly ruffle fabric maxi dress. I can buy this exact same fabric in downtown LA at Micheal Levine’s for 5 dollars a yard, yet the dress retailed originally for around 150 dollars. I bought it at the outlet for more than half off in a moment of weakness. Yes, I love to shop sometimes, too!
But, I was surprised that this Max Studio dress had serged necklines and armholes, a sign of shoddy in my book. Maybe that’s OK for a Forever 21 throwaway dress but this higher end dress? Back in my day…yadda yadda yadda…
When copying store bought clothes to make patterns, it’s a good idea to add extra ease. Not all knits stretch equally and some need a bit more room than others to be comfortable and look good.
Once I got the fit down on my dress, I finished it off with a self faced neckline and armholes and got busy with the fun part. Stamping!
After a bit of experimenting, I found that rolling fabric paint onto the stamp with a sponge roller worked well. A fresh coat had to be rolled on after each stamp, making it a bit time consuming to do the whole dress.
Once the stamps were dry, I used Coca brown RIT Dye and added some to a pot with hot water, until it was about 8 inches high. I got the whole dress wet with plain water, then I dipped the bottom of the dress in about 1 foot deep , then took it out. I poured out most of the dye and then added more water so the dye was really diluted. I quickly dipped the dress back in a bit deeper. I used pins to pin across the dress so I would have a guide to dip evenly across the hem .