Things have been quiet in my sewing studio lately. I was lacking inspiration and motivation to sew. Frankly, I’m a little bored of making everyday clothes, and I don’t really need any. Also, I haven’t found a lot of the new pattern designs out there that interesting. Lots of boxy and shapeless designs and dresses that look like a toddler might wear. Give me more sexy and fitted! Cleavage even!
So much for my 2018 Ready To Wear fast. I have come to realize that I will never be able to last through one of those challenges. But I applaud those of you who are sticking it out! As much as I would like to blame the patterns out there, the truth is I just lost my wardrobe sewing mojo. I have plenty of patterns that I love in my stash, and are waiting to be sewn up. Vintage ones and newer ones, both.
So due to my creative drought, I decided to take a costume design class at the local community college. Although I’ve worked as a costumer at the local theater and have done some film stuff way back when, I never took an actual class on costume design, which is so different than my major of fashion design was.
So far, I’m really enjoying the class! The class actually started over a month late, because the teacher was on a long trip. She wanted to retire, but she agreed to come back until they find someone new.
The first day we sewed samplers to demonstrate our sewing skill. A couple of the girls in the class had no experience sewing, so it’s been kind of fun watching them develop this new passion. Also, it made me remember when I was learning to sew myself and how long everything takes. I’ll admit that project was kind of way too easy, so I was worried that the rest of the class would be too simple, but it’s not at all.
My sewing sampler
Our next project was to dye and then hand paint a silk scarf with Procion fiber reactive dyes, using a pre 20th century garment as our inspiration. I chose a beautiful 19th century dress with a butterfly print. I’ve never used these types of dyes and it was a very time consuming process. These types of dyes are what professional dyers use. and the results are so much better than using RIT. I used to write blog posts for RIT, so I have a lot of experience with it. Rit can come out very mottled and blotchy. But Rit is easier. With Procion dye, there is a lot of stirring and precise measuring and more stirring and then rinsing the fabric with synthrapol.It takes about forty five minutes to complete the dying process. Also, you have to wear a mask and gloves so you don’t breath in the dust from the dye, which is toxic. So it’s not really something to get into if you just want to redye some old black clothes. It is for the stalwart dyer! The serious dyer!
I dyed my scarf a very light dusty mauve color, and now I’m in the process of drawing the butterflies onto it. I will then have to use fabric markers to trace my pencil lines and fill them in with watercolor paint. I laid the silk directly over some butterfly illustrations I found on the internet and printed out, making it a cheaper process than making stencils or buying graphite paper. Hopefully it will turn out!
The next two projects after this are really going to be interesting. We will be making a hat from buckram and a corset based on an 1860’s style. Fun!