Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Reuse, Restyle, Repurpose- Create!!

Along with my love of buttons beads and found treasures, I love vintage fabrics and embroidery. My Swedish Grandmother was very talented in the area of bobbin lace and crochetted lace. I have always loved the pillow caes that she banded with her handiwork and I always am on the lookout for similar sorts of handwork. I especailly love tatting and find that many hankies are beautifully edged with this elegant trim. When I come across pieces with lace edging I snatch them up. In the case of pillow cases, I am often left with a good amount of high quality cotton scrap material after I have removed tha lace work or embroidery sections.
In the most recent issue of Quilting Arts there is a wonderful article by a very talented quilter who uses lots of her own hand colored fabrics in her work. The method that I am about to describe is a result of reading her methods and making due with the supplies that I had on hand.
She collects quality mens 100% cotton shirts and old 100% cotton bed sheets from various sources (mostly thrift stores and yard sales) and uses the fabrics to start her dyeing process.
So I used my left over cotton pillow case scraps. Using strong white thread and a thimble and needle, I gathered portions of each fabric piece into small pleats and stitched with big running stitches to hold the pleats together. My starting fabric piece was about 8x10. After pleating and stitching for awhile in one direction, I changed directions and started pleating and stitching in another direction. I kept going till the fabric was completely pleated and wadded up. This pleating will act as a resist in the dyeing process.

Here I have three "wads " of odd sized pleated fabrics ready for the next step. They are all different weights of cotton, from different sources but they are all 100% cotton. Next I sprinkled each wad with water to dampen the fabric in certain areas. I sprinkled because I did not want to achieve a uniform wetness as the moisture differences would give the colors more movement in certain areas . I hoped to achieve more color interest using the sprinkling method.

I used Ranger Adirondack Color Washes for my dye source and sprayed each piece with different colors in various spots. then I used a paint brush to brush the tops of areas of the pleats with gold acrylic paint. I left the whole colored wad outside to dry completely.
Once dry, I began the task of removing all of the stitching that I had used to hold the pleats in place. I ironed each piece (using a teflon sheet) to set the colors and to flatten the fabric pieces. Here are my results!!
The way the purple and blues and then gold highlights worked on this piece, make it my favorite. I am thrilled with all of them and you can expect to see them all in use in upcoming projects!!
The lavendar and bright acid green in this piece make for a very neat combo!

This project was lots of fun! I will be working with method some more . The pleating and stitching parts are very protable and can be done whereever one has to wait. I will be taking some pleating along with me today when I take the kids to the dentist, for example. Once I get several wads pleated thaen I will do the coloring all at once. This is a great stash builder for scrap fabrics and a wonderful use for recyled fabric pieces!!


Vicki W said...

These are just fabulous!

Elizabeth Seaver said...

The cloth is just gorgeous, E. Can't wait to see those future art projects they get made into!

Talking Horses Arts said...

WOw...awesome...don't you just love the colors from the Adirondack inks?
These came out really COOL!!!
Thanks for sharing!

TracyB said...


Julia said...

Hi Elizabeth,
Oh, these dyed fabrics are gorgeous!...You have got me all enthused about trying this technique, the colour combos are really good.
Thank you for sharing, Love your blog, you always seem to be doing such intersting things!....xx

Beena said...

You know, I wish I hadn't once been in the wholesale tie-dye t-shirt business. It has really put me off from wanting to work with dyes ever again. I donated over 500 dollars worth of dies and chemicals to my local quilt shop, that I had just lying around for more than a couple years.

But I love the end results, and the look of hand dyes. These that you have made are gorgeous! You could make and sell these so easily!

Jude said...

that was a wonderful post,thank you. I love the outcome especially the blues. I'm now going to re read it to make sure I haven't missed anything. Did you just wash the fabric? no soda or anything?

Belinda said...

Wow Elizabeth how stunning did they turn out, they are so cool. I love the purple too. I would love to use this as fabric for a cloth dolls legs and arms or one of the beautiful purses that you make. Love your tea caddy below my mum would adore it (I don't drink tea and she is addicted lol) can't wait to see what you do with your fabric. Belinda

Lisa said...

I love how you dyed these fabric swatches.. very pretty!

Ro Bruhn said...

These are FANTASTIC Elizabeth, I want to rush home from work and give it a try. Thanks for the instructions. Your colour combinations are gorgeous.

Marilyn Rock said...

The fabric is beautiful! I love the results you got! Thanks for sharing. xxoo

Laura Krasinski said...

This is very cool..

Jacky said...

I read this article too and have been very inspired to have a "play". I love what you have done and I can see them integrated with some of your of your other fabrics from your stash.

You're a go-getter Elizabeth. I love how you just jump in and have a play.... I ponder for too long!

Jacky xox

Barbara said...

These are wonderful - I love the designs and colours. I may just have to get some adirondack inks to try them out.

tiedyejudy said...

I have wanted to try this pattern for a long time, and I'm getting ready to start today. Thank you for giving me the basics to start with!

Julie said...

Beautiful results and lovely effects! And such a good idea to have a stitch-while-you-wait pack. I can feel a dye session coming on!

jewelrygirl said...

I love the fabric. Your head must hurt from all the ideas and talent in it. Wow!

As usual, I am impressed.

imquilternity said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous fabrics. Wow, I'm impressed and can't wait to see how you use them.


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