More adventures in dye, and a fabric swap

Hand-dyed fabric

After my success with cotton lawn, I decided to level up and dye some silk. I chose this natural-coloured raw silk noile from Minerva. Mmmm, it’s lovely stuff. All nubbly and slightly rough in handle, but feels lovely to wear. It’s also crying out for some dye action, obviously.

Hand-dyed fabric

I first tried brushing and dappling the fabric with some silk paints. This wasn’t very successful for a number of reasons, chiefly bad colour choices and bad technique which led to the fabric looking like a mouldy old dishcloth. But HEY, there are no mistakes when it comes to dyeing! I just mixed up some dye and did a similar clothes-peg technique as before to cover the mess.

Hand-dyed fabric

This time I used Dylon black and navy blue hand dye sachets mixed together, hoping for a richly pigmented result. The colour turned out a pretty good appropriation of traditional Japanese indigo which I’m delighted about. I tried a few techniques again across a metre of fabric each. The main reason to make this fabric was actually to participate in Marilla’s hand-printed fabric swap. I was paired with Lucy of Reniqlo, whose lovely creative and artistic blog you should go have a look at. It was tricky to decide which piece to send her, but I plumped for the more interesting, intricate one.

Hand-dyed fabric

I was really happy with how this fabric turned out. I don’t think I could have ever cut it up if I kept it! There are so many details in it. Look, here’s a raccoon face.

Hand-dyed fabric

And some feathers:

Hand-dyed fabric

And a rams skull?

Hand-dyed fabric

I can’t exactly remember how I bound it, but I think it was pleated and rubber-banded. Here’s the piece I kept, with a more straightforward clothespeg resist pattern.

Hand-dyed fabric

Hand-dyed fabric

I made myself yet another zippy top – even with the same seaming detail as before. The silk noile is only 45″ wide so I really had to squeeze the pieces on – one half of the back is on the bias, the horror. I can whip up a zippy in under an hour now, French seams and bias bound neckline and all. Spoiler: pretty sure it will be my OWOP pattern.

Hand-dyed fabric

Finally, here is the fabric that Lucy sent me! WOW, I am absolutely in love with it. It’s dyed silver grey with just touches of tie-dye which have left white spine-like streaks in areas.

Hand-dyed fabric

Then painted with a gorgeous triangle design. I love triangles. I love mustard yellow and grey. What on earth shall I make with it?!

It’s been so fun to practice dyeing more, and especially to swap fabric as I’m not really sure how many more shibori-esque zippy tops I need. If anyone else fancies swapping fabrics sometime, just drop me a comment or email. Packages of mystery fabric are FUN.

18 thoughts on “More adventures in dye, and a fabric swap

    1. Katie Post author

      I totally would, but not enough yardage unless I did some blocking – plenty of colours to match it with…

  1. Katie

    Your silk noile dying looks so professional and beautiful. I love your fabric swap fabric too. Maybe the ‘mod’ modified Laurel dress would work ?

    1. Katie Post author

      That’s a good idea but I don’t really do shifts! A simple silhouetted dress is the right way to go though I think.

  2. Measure Twice Cut Once

    Gorgeous dying results and that fabric you received in the swap! its beautiful, pity it’s not available commercially as I’m sure it would sell. It’s going to be great no matter what you make out of it.

  3. Sara

    Wow that silk you dyed looks incredible! I love shibori-esque dyeing, definitely firmly on that train. I would love to swap fabrics sometime! I feel like we have very similar fabric tastes, so that would definitely be fun. Although expensive, since Canada and England are pretty far away…

  4. Caroline Joynson

    Gorgeous fabric dying and the colour worked out really nice too.
    Can wait to see what both you and Lucy will make with your respective hand-printed / hand-dyed fabrics.
    I would love to swap hand-painted / printed / dyed fabric with you in the future x

  5. sallie

    Oh I just love silk noil! A favorite fabric of mine – both to dye and to wear! Your shibori-esque dye job is fantastic – just truly gorgeous! I love all the subtleties. And what a lovely length of fabric to receive in return!! I’d probably make it into a structured little mini dress or skirt.

    1. Katie Post author

      I still remember your beautiful silk painting/dyes when I clumsily try my own!

      Structured mini is exactly when I have in mind, perhaps with a front exposed zip.

  6. Lucy Blagdon

    Ah what a lovely write up and lovely comments! Thank you Katie, I’m so pleased you like your fabric. It’s very nerve-racking when you’re making something for someone else so I hope you manage to make something you like. I can’t wait to use mine. Before I read your post I had already fallen in love with the feathers that you mentioned. I just need to make something that will do this beautiful fabric justice.
    Thank you to Marilla for this awesome idea…one to be done again in the future I’m sure :)

  7. Melanie

    I love all the dyed fabric you’ve been making and it’s great that you are whipping it up into garments so soon. I’m doing a shibori workshop soon…really looking forward to it.

  8. amanda

    Wow! I love everything about this!! Marillas print swap was such a great idea and its been amazing to see how different everyone’s interpretations of it have been. I had such fun printing and experimenting that I’m definitely going to try and print a lot more of my own fabrics, can’t wait to see what you make with the fabric Lucy sent you!

  9. Heulwen Price

    Bit of an old post to comment on, but your fabrics are beautiful! I purchased a metre of silk noil fabric to play with in a January sale and have a mind to try dyeing it (the “natural” colour is not _so_ inspiring, lol!) Do you have any experience with using Procion dyes with it? I’ve got a starter set of those and I’m guessing that the fabric preparation is similar to cotton? Thank you in advance! :)

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