Tag Archives: Shibori

The Dead Sea For Me Cover Up

This is going to be one of those very rare posts heavy on the photos and light on the text. You see, Theatre Exile’s The Aliens starts its first preview in two hours and I work for those people now so I can’t spend all night with the jibberjabber. Oh, not to worry, there will be time enough for chit chat and blabber later, but not right now, you see, there’s work to be done! So I’m just going to give you a little explanation of the garment in question and then go on my way, leaving you to oooh and ahhh at the lovely photos I forced poor Adam, a fellow trip mate, to take for me.  So without further ado, here is me, modeling my fourth (count ’em) incarnation of the Burda Style Tara top, this time made into a knee length beach cover-up and using the scraps of my self dyed Shibori fabric for my Naomi jacket!

Photos can of course be very deceptive. For example, you probably wouldn’t guess, seeing the following, that I was in fact enduring the first day (on my very LAST day in Israel) of a vicious cold. But it was so very hot at the Dead Sea that my sinuses cleared right up, and instead of looking sad and stuffy, I think I look quite fetching, don’t you?

On a clear day, you can see Jordan.

And regardless of the cloud pattern, you can always see the bottom of the Dead Sea, the water is extremely clear.

But you still ought to wear shoes, because the stones are slippery and sharp. I myself am showing off a pair of fake crocs I bought in a mall outside of Tiberius. They broke, like, thirty minutes after this photo was taken. Good times.

It truly is amazing to wade into the clear waters and feel your body floating, weightless, in a way no other water can make you feel. You can literally sit on the water and read a newspaper, it’s a popular tourist photo to take. I didn’t take it. That’s not how I roll.

Another fun fact about the Dead Sea? It hurts like a bitch. Seriously. Any open skin, any sensitive area, your eyes, your razor burn, your mouth, it stings with salt. You cannot, CANNOT swim in the sea, really, you can’t dive, you really shouldn’t get your face wet. It’s something like 33 % salt. Just to give you an idea, regular seawater has 3.5%. Chew on that for a while. And then spit it out. It’s gross.

Well, whatever. Sick, stinging and sad to leave Israel, I still had a good time. And I covered up in style, don’t you think?

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Filed under Burda Style, Clothing, Fabric, Sewing

The 2011 Summer Essentials Sewalong, or why on earth I joined another challenge related to sewing

So even though this may sound like an insane thing to do given that I’m already mired in Me Made June struggles and it’s only the middle of the month, but I also decided to participate in ANOTHER sew-along, the Summer Essentials Sew Along hosted by the lovely and talented Ali of The Wardrobe, Re-imagined. And as she describes it far better then I ever would, here it is:

The goal: Stock your closet with quality summer basics. The benefit: A group of sewers who will encourage and inspire you, not to mention talk you off the ledge when you need it! To me, there are six categories of summer wear. Feel free to add to this, but this is just to start us thinking of what you need/want.

Sounds fun, right? And at least, thank goodness, it’s open-ended. So I can just make the patterns and pieces that work for me, and not follow along some slavish dictates of another sewer. Sewing really is the new fascism, I swear. So I’m going to make a least six items this summer that fit into the categories listed below, and I’m going to only shop my stash, because I really need to not buy any more fabric until the heap of cloth sitting in my home shrinks to an acceptable level. Right now it’s just too much to bear. What with the huge amount my grandfather gifted to me and some pretty things I couldn’t resist, I can’t purchase anything new until at least August. Let’s see how it goes….So what are the 6 categories? They are the following:

Poolside Pretties: Anything that cools or dries you off when there’s lots of sun and water around. One and two-piece swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, surf shorts, sun hats, oh my! One versatile swimsuit cover-up I find lovely is a terry cloth dress. Double-duty, that’s what I’m talking about.

Growing up in the age of Juicy Couture sweatsuits has given me a strong aversion to anything terrycloth, so that’s off the list, and I don’t feel like I’m ready to make my own swimsuit, but I can go a cover up! I’m thinking fabric, left over from my Shibori project, with this pattern, lengthened from a tunic to a dress, will be the perfect couple:

Burda Style's Tara Pattern

Clam Diggers & Co.: Bifurcated bottoms of every style and length, from flowing linen pants to short-shorts and all the inbetweens—clam diggers, pedal pushers, Bermuda shorts, etc.

I just got two perfect patterns in the mail! This lovely 1950’s guy:

And with some black fabric left over from my My Lips Your Lips Tulips Skirt, I think it’s going to make all my Sandra Dee dreams come alive and dance! I have to resize the pattern, and I’m a touch concerned because it will be my first shot at shorts, but carpe diem, no?

And then this 1940’s stunner:

Sweet & Sassy Skirts: Prints and solids, short and long, low-slung and high-waisted. But most of all: Airy, flirty, flattering.

Sure, like I wasn’t going to do that ANYWAY. I have a few projects in mind, including a softly pleated affair from a tutorial by Pattern Scissors Cloth with this fabric:

I love this fabric. Doesn't it scream Ancient Roman Chic?

The Sundress: Need I say more? To me, the perfect sun dress strikes that cord between casual and elegant—arms and collarbones, looking good barefoot or high-heeled. It’s something you can wear to both a barbecue and a summer wedding.

Again, I’m on it. I’ve got too MANY of these in the works. I want to make a couple vintage dresses this summer, or at this least one, that’s my big challenge:

Tees, Tunics & Blouses: Yes, please! I’m finally understanding the worth of blouses as they also strike that balance between casual/formal, totally versatile. I’m also thinking mini-dresses that do triple duty as tunics, dresses and cover-ups.

Mini dress is not a term I ever want to use in life, so I will just do blouses, got it? I’m down for some more Sorbetto tops because I liked it that much, and definitely a few things in white. I need more basics.

Those Summer Nights: Pullovers, cardis and hoodies may be the last thing you’re thinking of with the mercury rising, but there’s those cool summer nights, not to mention every last establishment with the air con blasting. Or: for those of you where thunderstorms are a daily summer experience, a lightweight trench?

It’s hot as hell in Philadelphia. This one might get the ax. That way I can just make another dress….

Are you taking on any challenges this summer? Planning any changes? In any respect, not just sewing wise? I think I’m going to try to read Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, that might be my large summer novel, you know, the one I am “reading” while I read lots of other trashy novels. Like you do.

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Filed under Burda Style, Butterick Patterns, Inspiration, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

The Storm At Sea Jacket

So, a while ago you may recall that I wrote about my foray into the world of DIY shibori, and my plans for the fabric I had dyed. Well, the truth is, I completed a project with that fabric over a month ago, but I had wanted to do a very cool “photo shoot” in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, because they have an amazing Japanese Tea Room fully recreated on the top floor of the museum, and I thought that would be the perfect setting to photograph the kimono style jacket I  had made with my shibori flavored fabric and the BurdaStyle Naomi FREE PATTERN pattern. And it would have been, really, but I couldn’t get anyone to come with me and do the thing, and the one time I made it to the museum last month was for the Roberto Capucci show, and given that I was drugged up on cold medication and looking at something the cat wouldn’t even bother dragging in, I didn’t think that would be the optimal modeling opportunity. But I also didn’t want to wait and wait and drag it out and have you think that I couldn’t get it together to make this jacket when in fact I had already slaved over the beautifully silly completely useless thing for a full week! Can you see my quandry here?

So this morning I broke down and in the beautiful light of the rising sun I had my mother take some photos in our newly green and verdant garden, near our patch of irises. I thought, irises at least are fitting, right? Enough chit chat, you say, onto the photos! Well, without further ado, I present my Naomi jacket with my own hand dyed shibori style fabric. Look, ye mortals, and wonder:

Is what you are wondering, where the hell is she ever going to wear that? Well, so am I….but it sure is pretty….

When I told my friend Victoria that this style of shibori, arashi, is supposed to resemble storms, she said it looks more like a storm at sea. Hence the name.

I really do adore that it has pockets:

Honestly, this wasn’t that difficult of a project to sew, but it was a bit tricky to cut. There are so many pattern pieces and most of them you only cut one of, so I have no idea how you could cut this efficiently, but maybe that’s not the point, it is a rather decadent jacket, after all. Luckily I had dyed two full bedsheets, so I wasn’t worried about running out of material. I still have some left, come to think about it.

Of course, I made it extremely difficult for myself because the nature of this kind of dyeing is that the fabric doesn’t all dye evenly, there are different effects over the fabric and so I tried to cut so there was an omberized look, the bottom being darker then the top. That…KIND of worked…

Don’t you think?

I’ll be honest, I could have gone down a size, or 2. This isn’t exactly a fitted garment, and it’s a bit large on me, but that’s all part of it’s pseudo-kimono charm, I suppose. I do really like this design, it has some lovely details, like the aforementioned pockets:

And side ties:

And a lovely asymmetrical neckline:

I can’t help but adore this jacket. It’s just extremely gratifying to have envisioned the jacket, researched the dye process, dyed the cloth, cut the cloth, stitched up the pattern and then put it on. It just makes me feel like I have complete ownership of this garment, even though I have no idea where/when I could possibly wear it…

That being said, not a day goes by when I don’t get invited to a tea party in Feudal Japan, so maybe I can wear it there. Samurai sword is optional.


Filed under Buttrick Patterns, Clothing, Dye, Fabric, Sewing

You say Tomato, I say Shibori!

I need to let you in on a dirty little secret. I hate tie dye. Like, with a passion. I think it looks silly and messy and reminds me of summers spent in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains where I attended horse ridding camp, like you do. And those summers were great, honestly, except for the tie dye. This isn’t a Grateful Dead revival, people, come on. And I think that it actually does look good on a lot of people, boho chicks with huge bags (to be fair, my own bag is huge, but not all fringey) and long hair and toe rings look GREAT in tie dye. Blake Lively, or as the Fug Girls so aptly title her, Boobs McLeggy, would look amazing in a floor length tie dye business with a braided belt on, like, a horse or something. I feel like I’ve even seen that sort of thing in a perfume ad, “Wind Swept Hippie” by Dior.

But I live my life along the lines of WWJHD (What Would Joan Holloway/Harris Do?). Don’t get me wrong, I love Peggy, I do, but girlfriend has made some BAD decisions. (DUCK PHILLIPS? PETE CAMPBELL? COME ON, Peggy, shape the hell up!). But while bad things have happened to Joan, Joan in general makes really great life choices, and therein lies the difference. Generally, I say, generally, because Greg Harris is the worst, even though the actor who plays him is DREAMY. SEE? But the point is, would Joan wear tie dye? Or would Joan turn up her nose and utter something cutting, cigarette in hand? I think we all know the answer to these questions.

So all of this is here to explain the fact that the craft project I did last weekend was not, I repeat, was NOT tie dye. No, not at all. It was Shibori, the Japanese art of dying with indigo that dates back to the 8th century. See, it’s historical. It’s cultural. It’s foreign. It certainly isn’t tie dye. Agreed? Agreed.

I got the idea from the fantastic ladies over at Honestly…WTF, who post amazing tutorials as well as fashion tips and inspiration photos. If you’ve never been over there check them out, they throw beautiful photos and ideas up there all the time, I love this post on miniature worlds. And they published this lovely and helpful tutorial on Shibori dying, which seemed intriguing to me. You see, I have this FREE PATTERN from Burda Style, the Naomi jacket, and I wanted to make it but I couldn’t find a fabric that I thought would be perfect for this lovely and complicated kimono inspired jacket. So I thought, I’ve got some sheets lying around, why not just MAKE a fabric that works? And so I did. Any then I went a little crazy and dyed myself and my mother and my father some items so that we can all look like Japanese nobility of the 8th century. Like you do.

So I bought this kit:

And followed all the instructions so kindly supplied by Erica and Lauren on their DIY tutorial. I prepared my vat of dye as instructed, which put me in mind of the witches cauldron from Robin Hood, Men in Tights (a highly undervalued piece of cinema, I must say), and the smell is rather terrible, but I let it sit and had a murky bucket of green-yellow dye on my hands. Indigo turns blue when it oxidizes, which I find endlessly cool. Go, science. Here is my vat:

This was a gift I got for my older brother, like, five Hannukahs ago. It was a cooler, but I removed the Styrofoam, so now it’s just a bucket. He left it here when he moved from Philadelphia, so I just assumed he knew I would someday need it for dying purposes. Thanks, brother! The box says this is a group activity, but literally none of my friends had any interest in doing this with me, and my cats, well, they don’t have opposible thumbs, so…they did this instead:

I really loved the Arashi or Storm technique so I thought I would do some experiments with that for the bedsheets turned material:

I folded the fabric in two difference ways and bound it with twine and rubber bands and then dyed it twice. I’m pretty thrilled with the results:

This is actually three different sheets I dyed in different ways. The left and top portion were bound and the bottom right was just wrapped and dyed in a weaker dye solution, giving it a gently ombred effect. The box says the vat will last for days, but in my case it grew significantly weakened after one day and had to be thrown away after my second dying attempt. It probably oxidized too much, oh well. Here is a view of the most Arashi effected area:

Stormy, no? And I ran to H and M to pick up some white garments for my family to get all indigoy. I made a t-shirt using the Kumo method in which you bind the fabric with found objects, in my case pebbles, and wrap twine or rubber bands around it:

And it makes little spider like circles:

And then I did a little Itajime, ” a shape-resist technique”. Basically you fold up the fabric or clothing item and bind it with wooden blocks or boards and see what happens:

This photo is cool because you can kind of see it turning from green to blue. And the results?:

We are clearly a gorgeous family. But I can see now why shibori masters train for 15 years at least to master this art, it’s hard, people! But fun. So if anyone wants in, I’ll give it another go this summer! Any takers, fellow Philadelphians? I’ll even, gasp, take a Jerseyite, but you have to bring wine, that’s the rule.


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Filed under Dye, Fabric