This dress is most definitely one of a kind and possibly my favourite thing I have ever made. It is a modified Named Clothing Kielo Wrap Dress made out of fabric I dyed myself. I am not an experienced fabric dyer but I am completely thrilled with the result – it is everything I was hoping for! I have been inspired by several gorgeous Kielo’s which have been posted lately by the likes of Sarah of Wanderstitch, Fiona of Diary of a Chainstitcher and Heather Lou of Closet Case Patterns. I also love all of the versions that Shauni of The Magnificent Thread has made. I wanted mine to be casual enough for me to wear it as a day dress, I don’t get out much so this needed to be wearable for a nice shopping trip or coffee date!
Firstly let’s talk about that dyeing process. I am not an experienced fabric dyer AT ALL, I have managed one tub dye before this and I wasn’t happy with the colour. For this project I chose to attempt an Ice Dye because I really wanted to create a galaxy-type effect on this starry fabric. Let’s take a minute to talk about this cool fabric, I bought it online about two years ago and it’s been sat in my stash waiting for a dye project ever since. It is a double-knit called ‘Burnout Stars’ and the cream top layer is cotton, while the grey bottom layer and stars are polyester. This means that if you use a fiber-reactive dye the cotton will take the dye but the polyester won’t be affected at all. This is my before and after:
As you can see the dye is in a patchy/galaxy pattern and this is because of the ice-dye technique I used. As I said before, I am no expert but this technique was easy and fun and I am chuffed to bits with the result – if I can do this then anyone can!
I started with one of those plastic tubs for underbed storage and put some old oven shelves on top – anything with a ‘grill’ type effect would work – the dye and water need to drip through. I then scrunched up my 3m piece of fabric and put it on top of the shelves, suspended above the tub. I then used ready-made bags of ice to completely cover over the fabric. Once the fabric was covered in ice I put on gloves and a face mask and sprinkled two packets of Dylon Navy fabric dye over the top. This was done on a cold day, in our garage so that the ice would take a long time to melt. As the ice melts, the dye powder is dissolved and spreads in a patchy way through the fabric before dripping into the tub below. Here are some photos of the process:
Once all the ice had melted I checked to see if I was happy with the fabric, there were still some patches of undissolved dye so I added more ice and left that to melt too. Once I was happy with the fabric I put it in a warm place to ‘batch’ (set the dye) for 24hrs before rinsing lots and lots until the dye stopped running. I really enjoyed the process and would probably do it again if I found another fabric I wanted to dye but I am aware that this process was not very environmentally friendly. At the time I didn’t consider how polluting the dyes were and I certainly did not realise how much water it would waste in the rinsing process. I would maybe like to try using natural dyes next but my favourite colours to wear are blue, green and yellow and all of the natural dyes I have heard of yield brownish/pinkish results. Anyone have any recommendations for me?
All in all I am totally in love with this fabric and wanted to make sure I didn’t waste it so I did make a toile of the Kielo first. This allowed me to judge if I needed to make any adjustments to the darts – I have never sewn darts in a knit fabric before – they were easy enough and I didn’t find they needed any adjustments. I also used the toile to help me decide a suitable length for me to wear as a day dress – I spend a lot of time crawling around the floor with my toddler so a maxi/midi length, whilst chic, would not get worn around here!
The only problem I did encounter at the toile stage were the straps. I had real problems with them twisting even though I tried really hard to cut them carefully. After wasting a chunk of fabric, the second pair of straps worked well when I interfaced them fully and stitched them slowly using my walking foot on the sewing machine. This was a great lesson as it meant I didn’t waste any precious dyed fabric as the straps turned out great first time.
As I had made a successful toile I didn’t have to make any new changes during the construction of this Kielo. I knew I wanted to shorten it and add a neckband, I knew the darts were ok and how to sew the straps, so I booked in a lovely child-free sewing afternoon with my mum and had a lovely time assembling the dress without any hiccups. I was in love as soon as I tried it on and thanks to careful cutting I still have 1m of this fabric left to make a top out of!
I definitely think this is my favourite thing I have ever made, and I know that I say that every time I make something new but this time I really mean it! This is also another one of my #2018makenine ticked off so I am doing really well with that too! AND this definitely counts towards the #makeyourstash challenge as I have had the fabric for over two years! How are your 2018 plans shaping up? I would love to hear!