Monday, February 18, 2013

Eco Printed Alabama Chanin dress

Here's the dress before it was eco printed.  Click HERE to see how it was made.

I really love the results of eco printed the dress with eucalyptus leaves.

 Here's the dress all bundled up with leaves and tied with cotton string.

My work space.

 I placed the leaves and folded it so I'd get a mirror image on the back.

Close up of the dress.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Alabama Chanin Style - Kind Of!

Later this week we're heading down the Baja for our biennial whale watching trip not only to hopefully catch some up close and personal time with the gray whales but also to get in some relaxing, fun filled days and evenings sloshing down margaritas and enjoying authentic Mexican cuisine with some old and new friends.

We'll be flying down in Joe's plane along with another couple, Joe's long time high school friend and his wife.  Two or three other planes will also be making the trek for a total of ten adventurers in our group.  We're going to be doing a lot of legs since we'll be staying at four different places in addition to the short flight from Mulege to to San Ignasio Bay where we'll boarding small boats for the thrill of seeing the whales. Last time we went, we actually got a chance to lean over the boat a kiss a whale!

Of course I need something to do in the airplane but having my head in a book is not sociable acceptable. I usually knit but thought I'd do something completely different for a change...some hand sewing. I took an eco printing workshop with India Flint this past May.  One day she wore this really cool but simple, body hugging cotton jersey dress that she had hand stitched and eco printed.  Upon inquiring, she told me it was a pattern from Alabama Chanin's book which I immediately ordered on-line.  The concept is that the patterns, included at the back of the book, are elegantly simple and designed to be totally hand stitched from organic cotton jersey which can be purchased on line at the Alabama Chanin site.  These garments can be enhanced in any number of ways with additional hand stitching, applique, beads, etc. and the pictures in the book are visually stunning. 

Several patterns are included in the back of the book.  

I did a little looking around and found Tangerine and Turquoise, a blogger who wrote about the Alabama Chanin dress that she actually made - BTW it is a stunner.  Some of her information was invaluable including looking for a shop who does large format/blueprint copies.  Never even knew that type of thing existed but guess I never really thought about it before.  Found a place on line and off I went just a few miles from home to Ecovantage Reprographics in Signal Hill who quickly made several copies of the large patterns for me.  I needed several copies since the patterns that come with the book overlap each other.

I am using a soft, fine wool interlock for my dress since that's what I have on hand. 

 I stopped off at my local Long Beach sewing shop, SewVac, to pick up some button craft thread (or their version of it)and a chalk to mark the pattern.  Remember the old tailer's chalk...well, it's come a long way. Something called Chaco Liner was recommended to me and boy was it great.

I laid the pattern on top of my fabric.  Held it down with river rocks that I collected at the Russian River last summer and traced around the pattern with my cool new marking tool. 

 I would totally recommend Clover's Chaco Liner if you need to trace or mark a pattern.

 Who needs pins or pattern weights when you can use something from nature to do the job.

Ok, so my plan was that I'd cut out the dress and hand stitch it while flying in the plane.  Well so much for good ideas.  My wool jersey fabric was unraveling so I decided that I would sew it up (before it completely turned to string) on the sewing machine - Alabama Chanin, I do apologize.  I even did the neck and armhole facings on the machine.  But I do plan to hand stitch flat felled seams so I'm saving that step for my flights.  I am going to eco print the dress before we leave for vacation.

 To make the facings, I cut 1 1/4" strips and folded and ironed them in half and then placed them around the neck and armholes.  I think all this machine stitching will keep the wool from unraveling.  Next time, I'm using organic cotton jersey and doing it the full Alabama Chanin method - all by hand!

Here's the dress after it was eco printed.  Click HERE to see more.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Eco Printed and Nuno Felted Seamless Vest

I created this nuno felted vest with fine merino roving and silk fabric.  It is totally seamless and no sewing was involved at all.  Once it was finished I bundle wrapped it with eucalyptus leaves and cooked it in a pot full more eucalyptus leaves and onion skins.  Looks great with a simple brown tee shirt. 

 The collar came out a luscious shade of dark brown which totally matches that of the tee shirt.  The prints of the eucalyptus range from subtle oranges to grays to browns.  This vest is luxuriously earthy and eco friendly.

 Close ups of all the textured silk fabric.

 Presto changeo..turn everything upside down and you have a completely different look.  Now the long vest is a little bolero  fastened with a vintage leaf pin. 

 When you wear it upside down, the collar is now the bottom of the back side of the bolero.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Making a Seamless Nuno Felted Jacket

Making a nuno felted jacket is not for the faint of heart but boy is it ever rewarding. 

This jacket has no seams at all and involved absolutely no sewing. 

I created a template for the jacket calculating a shrinkage factor of 50%.  In the final analysis, I would have used less of a shrinkage factor since I really had to work to get the felt to shrink so much especially in the length.  Next time, I would add a few more inches to the width since I forgot to add in ease but would definitely cut down on the length of the sleeves and the body.

 I laid bubble wrap on the table, bubbles up and then laid painter's plastic on top.

 I laid wool roving on the back of the resist extending it over the edges.  

  I laid silk fabric on top of the roving and wetted out the whole thing with my "watering can" made by drilling holes in the top of a plastic jar.

 I flipped the whole package and placed merino roving and silk fabric one the right front side and wetted it out.  I then added a second template and completed the left front side of the front in the same way. Lastly I did both sleeves.

 Rock and roll. 

When the felt adhered to the silk fabric, I cut the bottom edge of the jacket open and removed the template. Hey, Tucker get off of that couch!!

I then cut the sleeves open.

More rolling and then slamming it.

It's getting there.

A night on the town wearing my new jacket and top which I also nuno felted and then eco printed with eucalyptus. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

My One-on-One with Vilte and Irit

Gorgeous Pacific Grove (Monterey, CA) was the site of the nuno felting and eco printing January 2013 workshops given by Irit Dulman and Vilte Kazlauskaite who came all the way from Israel and Lithuania respectively.  These two amazing ladies hooked up several years ago and have created magic, not only singularly, but together as well.  Their work is stunning and absolutely breathtaking.  

I wanted to take the four day dress course where Vilte was teaching how to make a nuno felted seamless dress followed by Irit instructing how to eco print it.  The class was full but lucky me was able to arrange two days of one on one private workshops with each of the ladies.  Of course the time zoomed by but they were both incredible teachers and I ate up everything they had to say.  In my two days with them, we didn't actually make a dress but I got enough information to go home and try it...and boy did I ever (future posts).  

Because of the time and scheduling constraints, I actually met with Irit to do eco dyeing before felting with Vilte.  Given this I came prepared with some of my own felted pieces along with some wool and silk yardage.  

Here we are folding the fabric and making our bundles with fresh eucalyptus leaves.  

Irit is preparing the dye bath by cutting leaves and stems of eucalyptus. She then used the garden hose to fill the pot with water and threw in about a cup of vinegar. This is cincerea eucalyptus which produces beautiful reds.  We simmered the dye bath for about an hour before we added our bundles.

 The incomparable, talented and beautiful Irit Dulman.

Irit taking the bundles out of the dye pot.  We only had time to leave the in for a few hours but time is your friend and the longer they can stay in, the better. 

The bundles are initially held in place with rubber bands and then tightly wrapped with string. 

 Wool takes to the eco printing so beautifully.

In my one day with Vilte, I learned how to manipulating silk fabric.

Shibori techniques on silk fabric

 Me and Vilte

Vilte is amazing, gorgeous, talented and so bright.