New Year Plans: Make Nine 2017

Over the past few weeks my social media feed has been filled with fellow seamstresses making plans and goals for the new year. Rochelle, of Lucky Lucille, started #2017makenine and is encouraging the sewing community to pick nine patterns that they want to sew this year and set the goal to make that happen. I started thinking about what projects I would pick and it is harder than your think narrowing it down to just nine! Here is what I settled on, along with a possible fabric choice for each. Plans may change but I think this is an excellent start!

No. 1 | Papercut Undercover Hoodie

Since our Fall Style Tour this past September I have wanted to “copy” Abbey’s Undercover Hoodie. I pretty much live in sweatshirts and hoodies when I am hanging around home and I love these two fabrics together! I think this will become a new go-to pattern that I make in a whole variety of French terry and sweatshirt fleece. (Pattern | Fabric)

Style Maker Make Nine 2017 | Papercut Undercover Hoodie

No. 2 | Named Esme Cardigan

Sometimes fabric just tells you what it should be sewn into. When I found this chunky sweater knit I knew it needed to be a long over-sized cardigan just like this one from Named! This project is in my near future… I can feel it. (Pattern | Fabric)

Style Maker Make Nine 2017 | Named Esme Cardigan

No. 3 | Closet Case Kelly Jacket

Since it’s release early this fall this pattern has been near the top of my to do list. I even have out ready to go and the fabric washed. My goal is to have this jacket done for spring. Perfect for the rainy weather here in the Pacific Northwest. (Pattern | Fabric)

Style Maker Make Nine 2017 | Closet Case Kelly Jacket

No. 4 | True Bias Roscoe Blouse

I sewed up this blouse last summer and will definitely be revisiting it this year! I love the drape and style and I can’t wait to add many more to my handmade wardrobe. With so many fabric options it will be fun to play with different colors, patterns, etc. (Pattern | Fabric)

Style Maker Make Nine 2017 | True Bias Roscoe Blouse

No. 5 | Hey June Cheyenne Tunic

This is one pattern where I love every version I see! From Adrianna’s button up version she made during our Spring Style Tour to Kimberly’s tencel tunic, shown below, I don’t know what I have waited so long make my own. Well, it is happening in 2017 and that’s a promise! (Pattern | Fabric)

Style Maker Make Nine 2017 | Hey June Cheyenne Tunic

No. 6 | Megan Nielsen Sudley Blouse

Another pattern on my “wish” list, the Sudley blouse is a gorgeous tunic style dress or top that has a bit of feminine flare without being too dressy. I definitely want to try it in a fun floral or ditsy print rayon for this spring (Pattern | Fabric)

Style Maker Make Nine 2017 | Megan Nielsen Sudley Blouse

No. 7 | Closet Case Ginger Jeans

Since sewing my own jeans last year I have wanted to try a couple other patterns, including the Ginger skinny jeans. In reading this blog you know that I live in jeans (no, seriously!) and I can never have too many pairs. This year I also want to branch out and try adding some other handmade pants to my wardrobe. They might all be “jean-style” but I vote that that counts! (Pattern | Fabric)

Style Maker Make Nine 2017 | Closet Case Ginger Jeans

No. 8 | Cali Faye Hampshire Trousers

This pattern had been waiting patiently on my computer to be sewn up and added to my wardrobe. This year I am excited to make a muslin and hopefully a whole range of these trousers. I hope they look as good on me and that they fit the way they do in my head! (Pattern | Fabric)

Style Maker Make Nine 2017 | Cali Faye Hampshire Trousers

No. 9 | True Bias Hudson Pants

This Christmas I sewed up matching Hudson pants for my friend and her 2 year-old daughter. Now I need to make some for myself, don’t you think? I’m dreaming of a cozy version in sweatshirt fleece! (Pattern | Fabric)

Style Maker Make Nine 2017 | True Bias Hudson Pants

That wraps up my Make Nine List for 2017… now to just get sewing! If all goes according to plan I should have a pretty nice capsule wardrobe by then end of 2017. I’d love to hear what you all have planned for 2017! Any of the same patterns? Maybe you have some other suggestions for my 2017 list. Leave them in the comments below!

Happy New Year and Happy Sewing!

Michelle

Cozy Holiday Pajamas to Sew, Give and Enjoy

One of my favorite holiday traditions is spending all day Christmas day in my pajamas! For many years Christmas Day at our house has been off limits to visitors— is all about enjoying the day, munching/snacking and lounging in our pj’s watching movies or playing games that were under the tree. Since cozy lounge wear and pajamas plays such a key role this time of year, between Christmas and the cold winter days, I thought I would share one of my favorite patterns and a few tips for sewing your own this holiday season.

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Pajamas and pillow cases are two of my favorite things to sew! Not only are they relatively easy, they also get used ALL the time and then normal wardrobe rules don’t apply. There are so many fun designs and colors that I would never wear out of the house but put them on an adorable set of pajama or a cute pillow case and I am in! Last Christmas I shared my go-to pillow case tutorial, so this year I thought I would sew up a couple new pajamas sets to help get you inspired. Since it’s release a couple of years ago, my favorite pj pattern is Closet Case’s Carolyn Pajamas— a modern take on a classic button-up pajama set. I love the fit and the kind of retro look and Heather makes construction a delight with her clear, detailed instructions. I sewed up my first set a while back in a soft cotton lawn and they are so comfy and cool, I wear them all the time! For this season’s set I decided to try a thick cotton jersey. I know the pattern doesn’t call for a knit but we recently got some left over fabrics from the Bedhead (RTW designer) so I thought I would create my own (less expensive) version of their adorable pajamas.

Finished Carolyn Pajamas in Bedhead Jersey Floral

Finished Carolyn Pajamas in Bedhead Jersey Floral

Even though I was using a knit, I decided to keep everything the same on the pattern. I didn’t size down or make any changes, I merely swapped out the fabric type. This plan worked perfectly! Construction I think may have been even easier as knits are a bit more forgiving with easing. My pajamas are the perfect fit, loose but still stylish and over the top comfortable! I highly recommend it! Oh my gosh it is like being wrapped in those cozy t-shirt sheets but even warmer!

Cozy Knit Carolyn Pajamas with the Official Blog Dog, Toby

Cozy Knit Carolyn Pajamas with the Official Blog Dog, Toby

I decided to pipe this set in a fun emerald rayon jersey to bring out the pop of color in the butterfly wings. Although I did cheat a little bit— I cut 1-1/2″ strips, folded them in half and included this in each seam. So much faster and didn’t add all the bulk the traditional piping can add. I questioned the color choice as first but it turned out to be the perfect complement.

Floral Jersey Carolyn Pajama Set

Floral Jersey Carolyn Pajama Set

I couldn’t stop at one new set of pajamas so I added another pair of Carolyn pants to my sewing list along with a matching jersey knit top. For this set I was mostly inspired by the fabric— these fun metallic starts were just too cute to pass up. I used some silver metallic for the piping accent as well as on the neckline on a basic black Hemlock tee. To tie things together I used the pocket pattern from the Carolyn top and added that to my black tee for an extra pop of the fun print. A really quick sew and almost as cute as my jersey floral Carolyn set!

Star Carolyn Pajama Pants and Matching Knit Top

Star Carolyn Pajama Pants and Matching Knit Top

Hopefully both of these have inspired you to sew your own pajamas this season, and not just for yourself! Pajamas and lounge wear make amazing gifts for the holidays. They are typically very forgiving with their relaxed fit and let’s face it, the comfier the better, right! You can also make each piece unique to the person you are gifting them to or make matching pjs for the whole family. The options are endless— with fun prints, bright colors and different fabrics types to choose from you can’t go wrong! For my next pair I’m thinking flannel

bedhead

Other Pajama Fabric Ideas – Find more HERE

There is still plenty of time to sew up a few pieces for the holidays and here are a couple of tips to make it fast and painless.

  • Assembly line sewing is your friend! Get everything cut out and then put the machines to work. This will save time reading directions between steps and let you get everything done in about the same amount of time it would have taken to sew one set.
  • Pick a neutral thread. Save yourself from changing threads by picking something neutral for both the machine and serger. Lucky for me black was a perfect choice!
  • Be sure to label all of your pieces with the size or who it is for. That way if you are sewing multiple garments in the same fabric you won’t get mixed up.
  • Want another time saver? Skip the piping and just hem the pants. This will save you a couple more fussy steps and they still look great!

In the shop we put together a fun collection of fabrics and patterns perfect for holiday lounge wear sewing! Be sure to check it out— lots of unusual knits, cozy French terry, sweatshirt fleece and a few other surprises. Take a look HERE.

Now time to get sewing! The holidays will be here before you know it!

~Michelle

Classic Take on Grainline’s Tamarack

Fall always puts me in the mood to sew jackets, sweaters and lots of other cozy layers. Maybe because I am always cold or maybe because layering is totally my style— whatever the reason I always have lofty goals to sew up a whole bunch of jackets and coats so that I have the perfect one to go with any outfit. Outerwear is also one of the hardest things for me to shop for, so making my own seems like a win-win situation.

Outerwear Inspiration Pinterest Board

Outerwear Inspiration Pinterest Board

I know for a lot of people coats and jackets are the last thing on their sewing list. They really want to make them but might be too scared to tackle the project. I was one of those people! Am I skilled enough to take this on? Won’t it take forever? What if it doesn’t turn out? Time to stop asking all the “What ifs” and just do!

Earlier this year I took a big leap and sewed up my own Clare Coat from Closet Case Patterns. Definitely the most intense project I have ever sewn but the results were so worth it! Between online tutorials and the very thorough instructions I think I hit this one out of the park and conquered my fear of coat making.

Tamarack Jacket from Grainline Studio

Tamarack Jacket from Grainline Studio

Now that the cooler weather is back, the urge to make a new jacket is too! I decided to get my feet wet this season with a pattern that is a bit more approachable for any level of seamstress, Grainline’s Tamarack Jacket. Simple and straight forward, this quilted jacket has limited pieces, is unlined and looks so warm and cozy!

Tamarack Jacket Supplies

Tamarack Jacket Supplies

Now to pick the fabrics… This is a great pattern to have some fun with fabric choices. Since I knew I wanted a more staple piece that would go with anything, I selected a solid black brushed fine nylon twill. To pair with it I wanted something warm and cozy and decided on a black and red check plaid flannel. A few people said I should do the flannel for the outside but the twill will wick away the rain better and fit better into my wardrobe. Sometimes it is okay to be a little more safe, besides that is what fun lining fabric is for! Rather than create my own binding I decided to add a leather accent to my jacket with some faux leather bias trim. Great look and it saves me all that time and probably some aggravation too!

Using the plaid pattern as a guide for quilting.

Using the plaid pattern as a guide for quilting.

In putting together my Tamarack Jacket I pulled out a few skills from my quilter’s tool box. To start, rather than cut out each piece and quilt them together, I cut out larger rectangles for each piece and quilted those instead. Once all the pieces were quilted then I cut out the pieces. As a quilter I know how much pieces move around, shift, shrink, etc and thought this would be a better approach. I quilted each piece in a diamond pattern that I created by using the plaid pattern of the lining as a guide. This saved me so much time from having to mark everything and gave me a crisp clean look. I did admit to myself early on that I would NOT worry about matching the plaid in the lining but that I WOULD take time and match the diamond quilting on the right side of the two fronts. This is probably the only place it really mattered and the only place it would be noticed.

A Couple Tips for Quilting:

  1. Work from the center out and try to only stitch in one direction.
  2. When stitching lines that cross over a previous set of lines, make sure everything is nice and flat and maybe even create a bit of tension so that you don’t get puckers at the cross- quilting gloves help a lot!
  3. If using dark colored fabrics, use a dark colored batting. This will prevent any batting fuzz from showing up too much in the seams.
Lengthened Tamarack Sleeves

Lengthened Tamarack Sleeves

The quilting honestly took the most time. Once all five rectangles were quilted and my pieces cut out (my fronts included the extra inch for the button placket) it was time to sew them together. The only change I made to the pattern pieces was to lengthen the sleeves 2-1/2″ based on the finished garment measurements given in the pattern. Construction started with the welt pockets, something I still am working on perfecting. The pattern instructions were a bit confusing but as you worked through them one step at a time it all made sense and they came together beautifully. My second one even better than the first so there is hope with more practice… The rest of the jacket went together really quickly. I finished all my raw edges with the serger and on the bulkier seams (shoulders, underarm and side) I finished each side and pressed them open.

Stitching TO the corner across the binding.

Stitching TO the corner across the binding.

Now to finish off all the edges. The binding gets added to the front and the back separately before you sew up the side seams. I thought this was a bit weird but everything turned out just fine. I attached my faux leather bias binding just like I would on a quilt. They give great instruction in the pattern and I made one slight addition. Rather than just stopping 1/2″ from a corner, I turn and stitch at a 45″ angle TO the corner, then fold my binding and continue stitching down the other side. This gives me perfect corners every time! A side tip from a quilter! I also hand stitched the other side of my binding down— I personally like how this method looks the best, clean and neat with no extra stitching lines. Totally worth the hand sewing time!

My last change came on the sleeves. Rather than bind the hem on each sleeve with the bias I finished the edge on the serger and hand stitched a 1″ hem. This decreased some of the bulk and gave me a nice soft finish. Last but not least I added 5 snaps up the front of my jacket for an east closure. Now for the results!

tamarack-2

I’m loving the fit! Roomy enough to wear other thick layers underneath but not too over-sized. The quilting also is perfect on this black twill, it stands out beautifully and will be a great pair to any outfit. The pockets are also very handy, the welts turned out great and they are large enough for both my hands and my phone! A plus for sure on those cold days running errands.
tamarack-phone tamarack-lining-3

Finished inside, pockets are all serged and tacked in place. Isn’t the red plaid fun! A secret pop of color!

tamarack-back

I love the length of this jacket! Just enough to keep me nice and warm with out being too big and bulky. And the high-low baseball hemline adds just a bit of interest and style.

The Tamarack Jacket pattern is a great one for any seamstress to try. Maybe you haven’t ventured into coat making yet? This is a great confidence booster and let’s you learn a few new things along the way. Huge plus if you have quilting experience, but if not, it is just straight lines or you could even skip this step with pre-quilted fabric! I also love how you can make this jacket totally your own with different fabric choices for both the experior and the lining. Try some new quilting techniques or go wild with your bias binding- so many places for your style and personality to shine!

Now time to go sew!

~Michelle

Fall Style Blog Tour 2016 Recap

Earlier this month we wrapped up our Fall Style Tour 2016 and we are so inspired for the new season of sewing and fashion. The first fall storm is hitting here in the Northwest and we are loving the excuse to hide inside and sew (finger-crossed the power doesn’t go out!).

We thought we would take a look back at all thirteen stops on the tour and give everyone a recap of this amazing journey. If you missed a stop or wanted to revisit one of the posts, here is a handy reference to all of the stops as well as links to the patterns and fabrics used for each.


Day 1 – Style Maker Fabrics

We kicked of the Fall Tour with our ode to plaids and a new go-to pattern. One of our favorite trends this season, plaids are a lot of fun to sew with. Yes, some matching is involved but you can also play with the pattern by putting it on the bias for a different look. Read more about our favorite new fall shirt HERE.

style-maker-fabrics-day-1-stop

Pattern: Bruyere Shirt by Deer and Doe Patterns

Fabric: Rayon Blend Plaid Shirting


Day 2 – Inside the Hem

Day Two took us to our first ever video stop! Lindsey from Inside the Hem shares two amazing fall garments in her favorite fall color- burgundy! Her pattern choices were spot on as always and both pair perfectly with the fabrics she chose. Click on the image above to watch her post or view it HERE.

Patterns: B6375 by Butterick | B6388 by Butterick

Fabrics: Floral Rayon Crepe | Jacquard Double Knit


Day 3 – Allie Jackson

Next up we took a walk on the wild side with Allie Jackson. She has a not so secret love affair with leopard print and shared two stunning animal print looks. We love these “neutrals” and their timeless style. Learn more HERE.

allie-jackson-day-3-stop

Patterns: Vintage Simplicity 6820 | Wrap Elmira Cardigan by Seamwork

Fabrics: Leopard Rayon Challis | Leopard Sweater Knit


Day 4 – Erica Bunker

We headed down South for an edgier look with Erica. Her “chic meets street” style is perfect for this season and we can’t get enough of her lace bomber and flirty suede skirt. Erica also shared a ton of helpful sewing tips and tricks we can’t wait to try. Check them out HERE.

erica-bunker-day-4-stop

Patterns: Bomber Jacket 7210 by Burda | Skirt 6418 by New Look

Fabrics: Lace Fused Knit | Faux Suede Black


Day 5 – Gray All Day

Helen continued this look at edgy feminine style on Day Five. She used her stop as an excuse to try a new to her fabric, double gauze, and she quickly became a fan just like the rest of us! She completed her look with this luscious suede moto jacket and we want to copy her immediately. Read more HERE.

gray-all-day-day-5-stop

Patterns: Saiph Tunic by Papercut Patterns | Moto Jacket S8174 by Simplicity

Fabrics: Japanese Double Gauze | Faux Suede Olive


Day 6 – True Bias

For Day Six, Kelli of True Bias shared two amazing looks in rayon crepe. The perfect piece to help us transition into the cooler weather or into the warmer weather next spring. We love these bold colors and how they pair together. Learn more about both pieces HERE.

true-bias-day-6-stop

Patterns: Tate Top by Workroom Social | Winslow Culottes by Helen’s Closet

Fabrics: Black Rayon Crepe | Tribal Rayon Crepe


Day 7 – Lindsay Woodward

For us, fall is all about layering and based on her stop for Day Seven, Lindsay is on the same page! Her button up top and cozy cardigan are the perfect fall wardrobe additions. And those colors! Read more in her post HERE.

design-by-linday-day-7-stop

Patterns: Driftless Cardigan by Grainline Studio | Melilot Shirt by Deer and Doe Patterns

Fabrics: Cable Sweater Knit Twill Weave Rayon


Day 8 – Sew Charleston

Next, we headed to Charleston to check out Abbey’s two looks. First up, a flirty long sleeve shirt dress in the cutest zebra novelty print. Next, a cozy hoodie in one of our favorite fabrics, French terry. Both looks suit her perfectly and are making us jealous. Check out her post and lots more great pictures HERE.

sew-charleston-day-8-stop

Patterns: Sanibel Dress by Hey June Patterns | Undercover Hoodie by Papercut Patterns

Fabrics: Zebra Rayon Twill French Terry Dot | French Terry Stripe


Day 9 – Dandelion Drift

On Day Nine, Teresa shared two favorite patterns that every seamstress should own! She thought a bit outside the box on fabric choices and the results are stunning. Learn more about both pieces HERE, including all the details about how she altered them to fit her perfectly.

dandelion-drift-day-9-stop

Patterns: Archer Shirt by Grainline Studio Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns

Fabrics: Eyeglass Rayon Challis | Black Stretch Twill


Day 10 – The Sara Project

Sara from The Sara Project also shared some fall separates that will be great new additions to her wardrobe. She combined a few of our favorite things- pumpkin spice, plaid and denim! What more could you ask for? Learn more about both pieces HERE.

the-sara-project-day-10-stop

Patterns: Button Up M7472 by McCall’s Safran Pants by Deer and Doe Patterns

Fabrics: Autumn Plaid Shirting | Stretch Denim


Day 11 – Sew DIY

Next up, Beth sewed two perfect pieces for her fall style in Southern California. She too tried something new and experimented with layers and we are loving her results. These “neutrals” are a great foundation to mix and match with other new makes or wardrobe favorites. Read her post and pick up a few tips HERE.

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Patterns: Driftless Cardigan by Grainline Studio Nehalem Pants by Sew House 7

Fabrics: Variegated Sweater Knit Japanese Tencel Chambray


Day 12 – Marcy Harriell

For the second to last stop we headed to NYC to check out Mary’s separates. A step out of her normal sewing comfort zone, she hit a home run with this tunic and maxi skirt! Read Marcy’s post HERE for some great tips and a taste of her amazing sense of humor.

marcy-harriell-day-12-stop

Patterns: Gabriola Skirt by Sewaholic Patterns | Tunic S3786 by Simplicity

Fabrics: Distressed Chambray | Floral Rayon Crepe


Day 13 – Girls in the Garden

Our last stop took us to Missouri to visit our friend Lori. She also went for fall layers and knocked our socks off with her suede jacket. Paired with this gathered blouse, Lori looks amazing as always. Be sure to take a look at all the finishing details she added HERE.

girls-in-the-garden-day-13-stop

Patterns: Jacket S1066 by Simplicity | Gathered Tunic B6378 by Butterick

Fabrics: Faux Suede Chestnut | Paisley Cotton Gauze


A huge thank you to all of the seamstresses that joined us on the tour and shared some of their first fall makes. We are so inspired for our own fall sewing and we hope you are too! We also wanted to thank all of you that followed along with us! We couldn’t have done it without you and we appreciate all of the wonderful comments and support.

We can’t wait to see what all of you sew up this season and be sure to stay tuned for our Spring Style Tour coming March 2017!

Arrival of Fall: Fabrics and Sewing

Our favorite season is finally here! The colors, the textures and the warmth- what’s not to love about fall!

After a couple months of preparation and some long hours, we are thrilled to announce the arrival of our fall fabric collection and the start of a new season of sewing.

Over the past few weeks we have added over 150 stunning fall fabrics– French terry, rayon crepe, plaid shirting and lots more in the colors and patterns you love for the cooler months. This year has been all about color and texture for us and these new arrivals do not disappoint. Perfect for layering- it is fun to combine different fabric types and weights for your fall wardrobe.

A Taste of the Fall Fabric New Arrivals

A Taste of the Fall Fabric New Arrivals

The new season also bring new fashion trends! We have organized the new arrivals into some of the key looks we are seeing this season from all the top designers. We’ll be taking a closer look at some of our favorites throughout the season with our own sewing projects and on Pinterest. Follow along with us for lots of inspiration for your fall wardrobe! Looking for something specific? You can always shop by fabric type, garment or color– you never know what you might find!

To give you a little preview and a closer look at some of the newest arrivals, Lindsey and Abbey from YouTube’s Inside the Hem posted a review of some swatches we recently sent them. Check out their video below and don’t forget to follow their great sewing channel!

If new fabrics wasn’t enough, we are excited to start offering a selection of printed patterns from our favorite independent designers from all over the world! Just like our fabrics, we have carefully curated our selection to line up with your favorite looks and fabrics for the new season.

But wait there’s more! Last but not least our Fall Style Blog Tour starts tomorrow. We have 13 amazing stop scheduled and we can’t wait to see what all of these lovely ladies have sewn up!

Style Maker Fabrics Fall Style Blog Tour Line Up

Style Maker Fabrics Fall Style Blog Tour Line Up

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Their fabric choices are stunning and couldn’t be more different. Follow along with us for tons of fall style and wardrobe inspiration (links above)! We will be kicking things off as the first stop with our salute to plaids. We might even be featuring one of the new patterns we just got in the shop, but you will just have to wait and see!

Happy Fall Sewing!

Michelle

P.S. Don’t forget, now through the end of the blog tour, 10/3/16, US shipping is just $5 and International rates have been discounted!

How To: Shibori Dyeing Techniques

Like me, you were probably captivated with tie-dye when you were a kid. Folding, tying knots, mixing colors and not knowing how it would turn out. This summer this childhood fascination resurfaced in the form of Japanese shibori. A trend that has popped up all over in fashion and home decor, indigo dyeing is everywhere and I can’t help but be in love.

Shibori Inspiration Pinterest Board

Shibori Inspiration Pinterest Board

While we have added a selection of ready-made shibori style fabrics to the shop, I really wanted to try my hand at dyeing my own. I started researching the art of shibori and discovered it truly is an art. Totally unlike your childhood tie-dye it is very meticulous and planned, there are specific techniques each used to produce a different look to the resulting piece. I decided to try my hand at some of these techniques to see what worked, what I liked and what I wanted to try in a larger piece.

Natural Indigo Dye Kit

Natural Indigo Dye Kit

To start I gathered my supplies. For the indigo dye I used the Natural Dye kit found in our shop and I prepared the dye vat using the detailed instructions provided. Not only does the kit come with the best all natural components/reagents, it also includes gloves, cotton string, wood pieces and a practice piece (amazing value)! For my test fabric I selected this fine cotton poplin that I pre-washed and cut into various size pieces (roughly 14″ square). With my dye vat ready, my fabric pieces and supplies at hand, I was set to prepare my pieces. I settled on trying out some traditional Japanese techniques and a couple less conventional styles. Here are my methods and results!

Shibori Techniques:

1. Kanoko (Tied/Bound Methods)

This technique covers a wide range of patterns and designs that are tied or bound using string or more common nowadays rubber bands. The combination of binding and folds prevents the dye from spreading and creates some amazing burst and ring patterns.


To start I tried the common burst design- pinch the middle of the fabric and bind however many times you would like, each bind creating a ring.

Comparison of Tied Dyeing (Cotton String vs. Rubber Bands)

Comparison of Tied Dyeing (Cotton String vs. Rubber Bands)

To add a little interest I experimented with the difference between using string (top) vs. rubber bands (bottom). Which do you prefer? I think I am leaning towards the rubber bands- a bit more of a statement, bolder lines.


I also experimented with folding the fabric first and then pinching and binding. In the piece shown below I folded the fabric in quarters and alternated binding portions on each side.

Folded and Bound Dyeing

Folded and Bound Dyeing

With this method I got lots of smaller burst in somewhat of a geometric pattern. A really cool all over pattern without a lot of work.


Last but not least for the bound methods I experimented with actually tying the fabric! I tied each corner of our sample piece and then decided to wrap tie the center. I pinched the center, secured a piece of string to the end and then wrapped the string up the fabric creating kind of a spiderweb look.

Knotted and Spiderweb Bound Dyeing

Knotted and Spiderweb Bound Dyeing

The knots were a little difficult to get out in the end, next time I might not tie them so tight. But the look is really fun and if you just tied the whole thing, no string or rubber bands required!


2. Itajime (Resistance Method)

This method uses objects to create resistance and prevent the dye from permeating the fabric creating crisp, bold designs. In our experiment I used the wood pieces and diamond pattern instructions included in our kit.


Pretty simple, you simply accordion fold the fabric in quarters and then accordion fold it in quarters again the other direction. Place a wood piece on either side of the fabric at an angle and tie them tightly together.

Diamond Pattern Resistance Dyeing

Diamond Pattern Resistance Dyeing

The results are really striking! Next time I might try some different shaped wood pieces or I have even see where people have used keys and other found items to create unusual designs. One tip I learned, for really crisp lines let the fabric dry completely before removing the wood pieces to prevent bleeding. Although the slight bleeding does give it more of a authentic look.


3. Nui (Stitched Methods)

Rather than binding the fabric on the outside as in the kanoko technique, this method uses various length basting stitches to create the gathers and designs. Pulled tightly these stitches create a different sort of internal binding that restricts the movement of the dye. I tried two different nui techniques, mokume and karamatsu, creating lines and bursts respectively.


For mokume, I created a 1″ grid of dots on our piece of fabric with a washable fabric pen. I then stitched the length of each “line” using various length basting stitches. When pulled tight these strings gather the fabric up into really interesting, intricate folds. Tightly secure each end of the string, trim and it is ready to dye.

Stitched Lines Dyeing

Stitched Line Dyeing

Looking at our sample above, the far right shows what happens when the basting stitches have the same length and placement creating more structured gathers. The left side is how it looks when the lengths are all random creating more of an organic look. Moral of the story- the more random the better! Use the grid as a guide to keep your lines nice and straight but change up your stitch length.


Karamatsu is a very similar technique just a slightly different style. For this I folded portions of the fabric and drew a series of half circles on the fold using the washable pen. I then stitched long basting stitches on each of the half circles, pulled the strings tight and secured them place.

Stitched Bursts Dyeing

Stitched Burst Dyeing

The result gave me these intricate bursts, much more detailed than the tied bursts we saw earlier. While these are rather small scale (about 4 inches across), can’t you just imaging them with 5 or 7 rings on a much larger scale!

By far, these stitched methods are my favorite- Sewing + Dyeing = Amazing!


4. Folded and Bound Method

Last but not least, I wanted to try another stripe method to compare with the mokume stitching technique. Really basic, I accordion folded the fabric in eighths, rolled it tightly and secured it with a rubber band.

Folded and Bound Dyeing

Folded and Bound Dyeing

Not as impressive as the mokume stitched lines but still a great look. I love how the dyed portions kind of have an ombre effect due to how it was bound.


Overall, I love how my first experiment in shibori dyeing turned out! It was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. Although it does take some time (and patience is key!), it was a ton of fun and so exciting to see each result! Since finishing these I have dyed a few larger pieces, each a couple of yards, that I can use to actually sew up some garments. Watch for another post with all my lessons learned- same principles just on a much larger scale!

Until then, happy dyeing!

Michelle

P.S. Here are a couple other posts that you might find helpful! DIY Shibori and Seamwork’s Shibori Dyeing

New Linden Twist- Knit and Woven with 3/4 Sleeves

Lately I have been on a mission to find more ways to combine knit and woven fabrics into the same garment. With so many amazing knits, rayon challises, crepes and lots more, how could I not want to mix and match them? With a few ready to wear (RTW) items in heavy rotation in my wardrobe and other ideas from various boutiques, I started a new Pinterest board to gather my inspiration and figure out where to start first. Replacing whole pieces with a woven or knit, “blocking” with different fabrics or simply adding woven trim or accents- the possibilities seem endless.

Pinterest Inspiration Board: Knits + Wovens

Pinterest Inspiration Board: Knits + Wovens

I decided to tackle one of my favorite warmer weather pullovers that combines a polyester woven body and a light weight rayon/poly sweater knit for the sleeve and bands. I love this combination of a small geometric print and the soft solid in a raglan style pullover. In looking at pattern options I immediately decided on Grainline Studio’s Linden Sweatshirt. A staple in my wardrobe already, this pattern already had the same kind of look and style as my RTW top- a little slouchy but classic- and will make the perfect jumping off point for my new top.

A favorite RTW garment- ready to assist on a new version.

A favorite RTW garment- ready to assist on a new version.

To get started I traced all of my pattern pieces for my size 8 Linden (View A). I have made this size in the past and know that is fits great. I was not sure what changes needed to be made to accommodate the woven fabric on the front and back so having all the pieces on something that I can tweak/alter was a good place to start. For fabric choices, I picked two similar to those in my RTW top- a soft black sweater knit and a tribal print rayon challis.

This is where having a good fitting RTW reference came in handy-I was able to match up the corresponding pieces and see where there were dramatic differences is size and shape. Lucky for me there was almost no difference in the pattern width- maybe a 1/2″ but for the slouchy look I decided that wasn’t an issue. The biggest differences came in the length- the Linden was an 1″ or so longer. This happens to be my one issue with the RTW top, it is too short, so this is a welcome change and saved me a step from having to lengthen the pieces. With the woven figured out, I went ahead and cut the front and back out!

Next, on to the knit sleeves and bands. My preferred sleeve length is three-quarters which is also the length on my RTW pullover. As it not one of the options in the Linden pattern, I had to do a bit of experimenting to create a new pattern piece. The dilemma was, do I shorten the long sleeve (View A) or lengthen the short sleeve (View B)?

Unaltered Linen Sleeve Pattern Piece

I posed the question to the sewing community on Instagram and got mixed results- although most people said shorten the long sleeve. I decided to start there, shorten the long sleeve. With my RTW reference I knew I wanted the sleeves to be between 18 and 19″ before the cuff.

Determining the Sleeve Length and Altering the Pattern

Determining the Sleeve Length and Altering the Pattern

First, I cut along the Lengthen/Shorten (L/S) for the long version and slid the bottom piece under the top until the sleeve was the correct length. As you can see this difference is quite drastic taking almost 7″ off the sleeve length. I also became concerned about the narrowness of the bottom of the sleeve- perfect for your wrist but probably too small for mid arm.

Results of Shortening the Long Version

Results of Shortening the Long Version

I decided to see what lengthening the short version would look like. Again cutting at the L/S line and moving the pieces apart until the sleeve was the correct length. This was only a difference of about 3″, much less drastic. I slipped an extra piece of pattern paper underneath and taped the pieces in place. I thin filled in the missing lines by lining up my ruler with points from both pieces.

Now how did this change the cuffs? The cuff were originally designed to go at the wrists so the pieces are a bit to short. Again, I called on my RTW version to help estimate the cuff size. It just so happens that the hem band piece was about the perfect size (not cut on the fold of course). It never hurts to experiment with the pieces you have, rather than trying to create all new! I left the real hem band and neck bands alone and decided to see how they work as is. Since the sweatshirt fits normally, I figured this was a safe bet.

Determining the Size of Cuff Pieces

Determining the Size of Cuff Pieces

To test things out I sewed up one half of the garment to make sure I wasn’t completely off base. In the raglan style I attached one sleeve to the woven front and back at the angle. Sewing the woven and knit was surprisingly easy. I did carefully pin everything to make sure the pieces stayed in place. Next I sewed down the sleeve and side seam, turned it right side out and tried it on. I was pleasantly surprised about how well it fit and decided to continue onto the other side.

Finished Linen Pullover Styled with Vintage Jewelry

Finished Linen Pullover Styled with Vintage Jewelry

The most time consuming part of this whole process was pinning ALL of the bands in place- all four of them. You now pinning each quarter of both the opening and the band and matching them up- it takes forever especially when you are anxious to get things done! I sewed every seam of this top on my serger and didn’t have to do any finishing work. Amazing and totally worth the extra pinning time!

Loving My New Linden Pullover

Loving My New Linden Pullover

The end results were better than I ever imagined, especially on the first try at a new “experiment”. My new top fits like a dream- just like my RTW version but better. Plus it’s handmade! Paired with an amazing vintage necklace of my grandmother’s and I am set! The only change I might make would be to narrow the bottom of the sleeve just a bit to take a way a bit off the “puckering”. Leave the cuffs the same but decrease the amount of fabric attached to them.

Woven Meets Knit Linden Pullover

Woven Meets Knit Linden Pullover

There are sure to be more of these hybrid Lindens in my future, maybe I’ll try one with French Terry next time? This project has also encouraged me to really go after these knit/woven combo garments- watch for more to come this summer! I’m thinking maybe a new Lane Raglan next…

Michelle

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