Sunday, June 16, 2019

Experiments with natural dyes and quilting cottons

Donna Brown's "Can you Dig It" natural dye class was an eye-opener to putting nature's color palette on cloth.
Dobby weave cotton cloth hand dyed with logwood and osage orange.

I have some experience fabric dyeing with synthetic dyes, but the time had come to learn about pre-1856 colorants—natural dyes, extracts and pigments—for coloring textiles. So, for the class supplies, I gathered cuts of several quilting cottons that I generally use for sewing, garment making and quilting, along with a few rubber stamps, stencils and brushes, to learn about natural dyes and techniques for applying these colorants to cloth. Here are the results.

Immersion Dyeing
The class spent time weighing and mordanting the fabrics prior to the dye process. Dye pots were prepared and the coloring began.
Osage orange (yellow) overdyed with Logwood (purple) on
a white textured yarn-dyed cotton from Diamond Textiles.

Logwood (blue violet) took nicely to a printed batik from Majestic Batiks.
Notice the flower motifs of the batik design.

Pomegranate (yellow) overdyed with Logwood (purple) on a
pintuck cotton from Diamond Textiles.

Direct application of natural pigments
We learned about mixing natural dye extracts and pigments with tragacanth so the colors could be directly applied to textiles. Various tools can be used to create patterns and imagery to make complex art cloth.

Stencilling on Tweed Thicket, a yarn-dyed cotton from Diamond Textiles.

Rubber stamps and stencils on silk broadcloth.

Initially, the colors were from the pure pigments. However, with a room full of artists, painters and a few experienced dyers, the workshop participants quickly began creating and sharing elaborate and beautiful "custom color" dye mixtures.

Pigments mixed with tragacanth for direct application techniques.

Direct application of pigments with a foam brush
on embossed cotton (Diamond Textiles).

Stamping with a wood block on cotton knit from Art Gallery Fabrics.
The highlight colors applied to select leaves with pigment pastels.

First layer: monoprinting with a Gelli plate
on white cotton [ColorWorks from Northcott].


Silk screen (central motif) and stenciling on a batik from Majestic Batiks.

Silk screen, stamping and direct application on various quilting cottons.

Once cured (about a week for the direct applications), I'll be excited to begin working with these samples!
Natural dyes on quilting cottons. Photo credit: Yvonne Martin-Kitt

Not one "mean girl" in the bunch
Natural dyeing is a combination of history, chemistry, and art. I enjoyed all the ingredients and aspects of the recipe. Thank you to Donna Brown, a knowledgeable and generous instructor, for taking me on my maiden voyage with natural dyes, extracts and pigments! You made me and everyone successful in our creative textile endeavors.
Donna Brown (left) and I at Shakerag Workshops 2019.

And to the fellow artists who graciously shared in this learning experience with me, your talents, friendship and thoughtfulness are without limits. Thanks for a wonderful experience.
"Can You Dig It?" natural dye workshop. 2019 Shakerag Workshops.
Photo credit: Yvonne Martin-Kitt.


Sunday, June 9, 2019

Nearing completion of The Farmer's Wife sampler blocks

My Farmer's Wife sampler project is coming up on the last mile of the block-making process. I have 93 out of a possible 111 blocks pieced. Below are the latest 30 additions to my ever-growing pile of six-inch patchwork mini compositions.
My latest 30 Farmer's Wife blocks made with Art Gallery Fabrics.

I've infused more Art Gallery fabrics into the original fabric mix. The more, the scrappier, right? And I've also been patchwork-liberated with my new philosophy of #myquiltmyrules—making it possible to modify, simplify and get a little more creative with the construction and the machine piecing of the blocks—as I see fit.
93 of 111 blocks from The Farmer's Wife sampler quilt. 

The plan is to finish the Farmer's Wife blocks by the end of the month to make way for the 2019 "100 Days 100 Blocks" Challenge that starts in July. I have the Kinship pattern and I've got my fabric chosen—a lovely array of Tweed Thicket fat quarters and Nikko III from Diamond Textiles (insert angel choir here).
Tweed Thicket (top) and Nikko III from Diamond Textiles anticipating
#100Days100Blocks2019 Challenge.

Yep, I'm a sucker for a good Challenge. What about you?

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Reflecting on my Me-Made-May wardrobe

Now that the calendar page has turned from May to June, I'm doing a brief assessment of my participation in the Me Made May Challenge 2019. [#MeMadeMay]
Patchwork jacket with yarn-dyed textured wovens from Diamond Textiles.
Jackets
High on the list of accomplishments in May was making and wearing this patchwork jacket—my new favorite jacket—and also a piece on my MakeNine list. Started in 2018, this one took the longest to complete and, as with most jackets, it had many hand finishing details: button loops, buttons, burying thread tails and hand sewing hems, facings and bias bindings. It also has an inside pocket that was hand sewn into place. But it was worth all the effort! I'm extremely pleased with how it turned out.

This jacket was completed in time to wear in the Diamond Textiles booth at Spring Quilt Market. Yarn-dyed textured wovens are all the rage lately, so it was fun and appropriate to show and wear this jacket. A well-attended schoolhouse session with Linda Lee about using textured wovens for garments, as well as in quilts, reinforced the versatility of these beautiful fabrics.

Knit Tops
I make and wear a lot of cotton knit tops, both long sleeve and short. They are all made from cotton knit fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics. Art Gallery has at least a gazillion different knits—different designs, colors and also solids. You could make a different one for every day of the year!

The fabric is 95% cotton jersey and 5% spandex, so it washes and sews easily while maintaining shape and stability. My knit tops are soft, comfy, easy-care garments that are great for travel. 
Short sleeve knit top. Fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics.
I have several print and solid Art Gallery knit tops that I coordinate with MeMade jackets or wear by themselves. The versatility of layering is great for unpredictable weather and travel.
Short sleeve knit top (front) coordinates with a Primitive Stars jacket.
Here is one of my long sleeve knit tops that I worn with a MeMade knit vest in early May, when the weather was still cool. The Lolita vest is another of my MakeNine projects.
Lolita knit vest paired with a cotton long sleeve knit top.

Woven Tops
I've made 4 Siena Shirts so far and I'm sure there will be more! I know how this top fits and it gets quicker to make each time because I am familiar with the construction. The Siena and Cortona Shirt pattern is from The Sewing Workshop. My shirts are made from 100% cotton woven fabrics and I'm getting my money's worth with this pattern!
Siena Shirt #1. Fabrics from M&S Textiles Australia.

I have worn each of my Siena Shirts a few times throughout May. Pictured here are various versions using several fabrics.

  • Siena Shirt #1 (above): cotton fabrics from M&S Textiles Australia.
  • Siena Shirt #4 (below left) is made with an Australian aboriginal print M&S Textiles Australia paired with a yarn-dyed woven called Tweed Thicket from Diamond Textiles
  • Siena Shirt #2 (below right) uses more Australian aboriginal fabrics from M&S Textiles.

Left: Australian aboriginal print from M&S Textiles and Tweed Thicket from Diamond Textiles.
Right: Two complimentary prints from M&S Textiles.

Siena Shirt #3 is made with Stonehenge fabrics from Northcott. More details on the hand stitching embellishments can be found in this blog post.
Siena Shirt #3 made with Stonehenge fabrics from Northcott.

Another Sewing Workshop pattern I like is the Nine Lives Vest. I wore this top at Quilt Market and it's made with a pintuck fabric from Diamond Textiles.
Nine Lives Vest from The Sewing Workshop.
Pintuck fabric from Diamond Textiles.

Other MeMadeMay tops were:

I got both of these patterns from TopStitch Studio and Lounge Atlanta.
Wiksten Top (left) made in Tweed Thicket from Diamond Textiles.
Collins Top from In the Folds in Nikko Geo 4708 from Diamond Textiles.

Jackets
This is another well-loved jacket that I made in 2017. I wore it a few times for MeMadeMay and at Quilt Market. Fabrics are from Diamond Textiles.

Primitive Stars jacket.

This jacket is made from the same Raggy Jacket pattern as the patchwork jacket above [Raggy Jacket from Four Corners Designs]. This version has kantha hand stitching on the back. Details about the hand stitching can be found in this blog post.
Kantha stitching and applique patches on jacket back.
See more details in this blog post.

My Me-Made Wardrobe Assessment
You may have heard the latest terminology for the go-to basics you continually reach for from your closet: "core wardrobe" and "uniform" pieces. In reflecting on this month of "Me Made May," I've concluded I'm all about comfort, versatility and functional garments, and my wardrobe and garment sewing endeavors reflect that.
  • The cotton fabrics—knits and wovens—are easy care, breathable and easy to sew/stitch.
  • I re-use my patterns. Once the garment patterns are fitted to my body, style and comfort, the garment construction process gets easier and quicker with each make. There is minimal learning curve with "familiar" patterns.
  • Layering and versatility of individual pieces is important to me. It's imperative for my travel job.
  • Infusing creativity. Even though I use the same pattern multiple times, the choice of fabric, color, threads, embellishments and details will make each garment interesting—to make and to wear.

Did you participate in Me Made May 2019? What did you learn about your wardrobe of your sewing practices? Leave a comment and share what you discovered.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Textured wovens + garment sewing—a hot topic at Spring Quilt Market

Modern garments featuring textured wovens from
Diamond Textiles.  Photo credit: The Sewing Workshop
Plenty of excitement and enthusiasm for sewing and quilting with textured wovens and yarn-dyed cottons emerged from the Diamond Textiles booth at Spring Quilt Market in Kansas City last weekend!

I assisted in the Diamond Textiles booth where Rohni Sandu, owner and President of Diamond Textiles, and her staff entertained a steady stream of quilt shop and fabric shop owners right up to the Market's closing bell! In addition to ordering yarn-dyed cottons, ikats and textured wovens to meet their shop’s demand for quilting, applique, stitching, embroidery, wool and needle punch projects and classes, the store owners were interested in fabrics for garment sewing!

Quilting cottons are doing
dual duty!

Diamond Textiles was right on trend sponsoring a pre-market educational Schoolhouse session with Linda Lee, a nationally known sewing instructor, author, pattern designer and owner of The Sewing Workshop.

Garment sewing is back and on the rise. The significant response to and attendance at the Schoolhouse session was evidence of this! Shop owners were looking for ideas, inspiration, tips and resources for classes and sewing projects and they wanted quilting fabrics that were also appropriate for garment sewing.  

MixIt top and Six Sense skirt.
Photo credit: The Sewing Workshop
The schoolhouse presentation focused on choosing fabrics and textured wovens for various garment types. Linda's trunk show showcased garments using patterns from The Sewing Workshop—tops, dresses, skirts, pants and jackets—and fabrics from Diamond Textiles—yarn-dyed solids, textured wovens, pintuck cottons and embossed cotton fabrics.

The array of garments reflected both classic and current styles and included fun details such as visible “big stitching” and improv piecing—techniques quite familiar to quilters. Linda discussed fabric and garment pattern pairings for today’s sewers and quilters and how fabrics found in quilts shops are not exclusive to just one discipline. 

Shown left is an ensemble using Diamond Textiles embossed cottons. The top is the MixIt Tee paired with the Six Sense wrap skirt with an assymetrical pocket.
Below are photos of the garment samples that found their way back to the Diamond Textiles booth after the schoolhouse session. 

The Cottage Shirt is shown in a yarn-dyed solid fabric from the Diamond Textiles Manchester collection. 
Cottage Shirt featuring a Manchester yarn-dyed solid.
Visible "big stitch" hand stitching accents a wide hem and the button holes up the front.
Hand stitching details on the Cottage Shirt.
The Six Sense asymmetrical skirt with a pocket is made with Diamond Textiles unique cotton embossed fabric. Also in a cotton embossed, is the MixIt top. The complementary color scheme of this ensemble is quite eye-catching.

This graphic, black-and-white top is the Hugo Top made with PT 3218, from the Diamond Textiles pintuck line. You can't have too many white shirts in your wardrobe, in my opinion!
Hugo Top with Pintuck cotton.
The Picasso Pants is a new pattern from The Sewing Workshop. It has the lantern style pant legs with front, side and back panels. This version was made with a popular textured woven from the Nikko Geo collection. Don't you love the contrast top stitching detail??
The Picasso pants made with Nikko Geo.
One of my favorite Sewing Workshop patterns is the Siena and Cortona which offers two styles of button down tops. Here is the Cortona top made with a textured woven (Nikko 3775) from one of the Nikko collections.
Cortona Top in Nikko 3775 textured yarn-dyed woven.
And this is my Siena Shirt using Tweed Thicket  a new yarn-dyed woven from Diamond Textiles (collar, sides, sleeves and back) and an Australian aboriginal print from M&S Textiles for the front panels.
Siena Shirt with Tweed Thicket.
I also got to wear my new Diamond Textiles patchwork jacket that was completed just in time for Market (nothing like a deadline, right?). It uses a variety of textured wovens from several Diamond Textiles collections. I love to mix and match the colors and textures from this company's fabric lines. This jacket is one of my #MakeNine projects.
Patchwork Jacket showcasing a variety of textured wovens from Diamond Textiles.
Amid the quilts hanging in the Diamond Textiles booth were additional garments from patterns by Tina Givens, Wiksten and In the Folds. 
Diamond Textiles booth at Spring Market featured yarn-dyed textured wovens,
ikats and embossed cottons in quilts and garments.
Diamond Textiles ikats and textured wovens are fabulous for handbags, totes, home decor items and other accessories.
Box Bottom Slide Clasp Purse from Reets Rags to Stitches.

Diamond Textiles booth at Spring Quilt Market.
So next time you visit your local quilt shop, don't stop at using those beautiful fabrics for only quilts. Open up the possibilities to yarn-dyed wovens, textures cottons, embossed cotton and ikats for tops, skirts, jackets, pants and other garments.

Diamond Textiles has an extensive collection of weights, colors, textures, and solid fabrics in 44"/45" and wider. They pair perfectly with sewing patterns from The Sewing Workshop. Ask your local quilt shop for both!

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