Shibori hand dyed button front jumpsuit with drawstring

jumpsuit1It’s been quit a week! But somehow I managed to get my jumpsuit done last night in time to enter it into the Pattern Review Sewing Bee. You should see my house! I should be cleaning it right now instead of blogging, but I just want to eek out my shiftlessness a tiny bit longer before I tackle the mess that is my dining room after the last two days of sewing and drafting. Because although i had ten days to make my project I didn’t get started until Sunday afternoon. And also, I’ve been glued to the TV and radio, watching and listening to Pope Francis on his visit here in the US .IMG_1982Eeek!!

I often find that taking on a time consuming project is a way for me to deal with uncomfortable emotions. All week, we’ve been getting Isabelle ready to drop off at college, and when the day came on Monday, I had a total breakdown. Sometimes you get so irritated by your older kids, you think you can’t wait for them to move out. This is the third time we’ve sent a child off to college, but somehow I was just bereft at the thought of my girl going out into the big, wide world. Had I done a good enough job with her? There is always so much more that we could have done and so many mistakes made, but somehow we need to just let go and let God, as they say. And let them know how much we love them.

Making her drab dorm room fab! #bohostyle

A photo posted by Justine (@sewcountrychick) on

And then I’ll be turning 46 this week. Not a bad thing, but nevertheless, the passing of my mortality on this earth continues ever faster. One day you wake up and find yourself middle aged. Because there is only one other alternative, right? At 41 and 42, and even 43 I told myself, ” Well , I’m not that far out of my thirties, really, so I can just pretend I’m still younger. For me, turning 46 is about embracing my age and thanking God that I’m healthy. So I am trying to get both my body and my mind into shape this year. And my home. Clearing out the old stuff to open the doors to newer things. Getting rid of my excess material possessions, losing the weight I gained in middle age, and trying to deal with some of my inner demons.

You can own your age and be the best you can be for your age, or you can chase the past. OK. Enough philosophy. Because Lord know you came for the sewing, right?

shibori jumpsuitMy entry to round 2 of the Sewing bee is my Shibori print jumpsuit
Sewing Bee Round 2 – Make the Fabric Your Own

What type of fabric did you start with for your project?
I believe this was a silk cotton fabric or perhaps a rayon, I’m not sure as I bought it a few years ago to use as a lining. I also used a cotton batiste to underline my main fabric because it was too see through.
What techniques did you use to modify your fabric?
I folded the fabric, all three yard , so it took awhile, into 4 inch sections, trying to make sure the folds were along the grainlines as I wanted to make a geometric print and the print would need to follow the grainlines in order to look right. It was quite a chore, as I had to precisely measure and pin each four inch fold as i went and my ironing board was too small, really! Once i had a long 4 inch strip of accordion folded fabric, I then folded it up in the other direction in the same shape.
I used a Shibori dye kit, also bought a couple years ago and never used. This was great excuse to finally try it. I was a little nervous as I have never tried Shibori dye or folding techniques, and wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I wrapped the wood blocks on the outside of my folded fabric square and bound it with rubber bands. Then, I mixed up the activating agents for the indigo dye. It is definitely a lot more complicated than using normal dyes, but I love the effect. I dipped the square into the dye for a few minutes, then I removed it to let it oxidize in the sun. It’s green when you first take it out. I did this four times to give a stronger hue.
When I finally removed the bands and unfolded my fabric , I was pleasantly surprised at the overall design and thought it looked quite sophisticated. I was expecting the fabric to have a lot more blue color, actually.
What pattern(s) did you use for your garment, or is your entry self-drafted or draped?
I created this pattern with my own dartless shirt block and an altered version of some basic elastic waist pants, Simplicity 1377. I tapered the pant legs in quite a bit at the bottom. I drafted a shirt placket so it could have buttons, and I sewed a waistband with an elastic casing but also a drawstring, which I trimmed with some wooden beads. The entire jumpsuit was under lined with cotton batiste. The neckline and armholes are bound with bias tape. I was planning on doing some Japanese embroidery on linen bias strips I also dyed indigo, but this week was really hectic. We were sick, my daughter went away for college and we drove there twice, just the usual stuff! The buttons were found in the garment district of LA. I thought they looked very ready to wear, and haven’t seen any like this at other fabric stores.
How does your garment show off your fabric modifications?
I like how the lines go down the front of the jumpsuit. It really goes with my personal style and i can’t wait to wear it out somewhere.




Of course every project I make has at least one mistake. In order to match the stripes at the front, I neglected to match them at the sides. ‘m stil using my hand made fringed bag, though!detail

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  1. Patty says

    This is fabulous, Justine! I know just how you feel sending your daughter off to college…I’ve done that four times πŸ™‚ And this year 3 of them got married within 9 months time, talk about being an emotional wreck! Very blessed!

  2. says

    Insane- I was just talking about fabric dying, and indigo specifically…on white fabric. Then this popped up in my feed! I LOVE this jumper. Just everything about it. I get you get a lot of wear from it. Btw I didn’t miss your blue finger, lol.

  3. says

    This jumpsuit is amazing! It looks really great on you and you did a super job with the dye. And by the way, I’m watching the Pope address Congress now. I’m recording it for my daughter so I’ll watch it fully later. She is a senior in high school so I’m feeling anxious already about what will happen next year when she leaves.

  4. says

    I LOVE this look. I learned dying in school and can’t say how much I enjoy changing stuff with come dye it even paint. You did a great job on this one.

    As for letting them grow, my son got married in June and up until the big day, I went through all kinds of crazy uncontrollable emotions. He was my last child in the house. Although, he wasn’t living here before marrying, it still felt like I was “loosing” him for good. Of course we know better, it’s just still the attachment of not being able to able to fix everything for them or correct the wrong the “world” dishes out.

    Hang in there.

    • justine says

      I know them getting married will be another reason to buy a box of Kleenex. Hugs!

  5. says

    Big hugs to you! I can’t even imagine how tough it is to let them go! I am holding on to them still being young. πŸ™‚ The jumpsuit is simply amazing and you look fabulous. You certainly make 46 look good!

  6. Elizabeth says

    Love the jumpsuit — I’ve always wondered how shibori dye works.

    The photo of your daughter in her dorm made me laugh — yesterday I was telling my 9yo daughter going away to school (as her cousin just left for Cal Poly last week). I told her about my supercool freshman dorm room wall-hanging (circa fall 1989) and it was almost *exactly* like the one in the photo. I think I even used the word “boho”. It all comes back around…

  7. Brenda says

    Wow, I love the jumpsuit. It reminds me of a certain jade-green jumpsuit that Ioved in in high school — it’s probably the only outfit I DON’T regret from the 80’s! And I hear you on the birthday — I turned 45 last month, hard to accept that my “early” 40’s are pretty much over.

  8. says

    This looks stunning! Very modern and creative at the same time. I am really impressed with this design:) Have a nice day, Sophia

  9. says

    May I just say, 46 looks incredible on you. I hate focusing on numbers – with a husband a little younger than me, here at home we split the difference πŸ™‚
    Loving your tie dyed jumpsuit. I just used this same technique to make a dress, but did not go to the trouble of lining up the grainline – looks fantastic!

  10. Justine says

    I hope you had a wonderful birthday this past week, Justine! I really appreciate your thoughts on life as well as your sewing. Such a cute bra on the dining room dress form. I feel inspired by the grace with which you include your real life . . . your tender thoughts about your dear daughter going to college, the beauty of the outfits emerging from everything. Thank you so much for letting the real you be. Love it!! πŸ™‚

  11. says

    I just discovered your blog. This is so gorgeous and you look great in it! I am just entering the world of sewing for myself and this is certainly an inspiration.