Monday, October 26, 2009

Nelson Mandela Blouse

 On my recent trip to South Africa I bought some cotton fabric like the local woman make their dresses from. The brand is 3 cats and the fabric is called shwe shwe. The print has an oriental look and is a very sturdy fabric. They use an excess of dye when printing the fabric so it required two washings in Synthropol to remove excess dye and sizing. Off the bolt it felt like it had been heavily starched. Once washed it had a nice hand. I was taken in by the people's love of Nelson Mandela so decided I needed to incorporate some of the Mandela fabric into my finished garment. I designed and drafted a shirt pattern to use the three different prints and made the pockets from the Mandela fabric. As a contrast I used a red print to edge the front, pockets and sleeves.

Local South Africanwoman with brown print dress and yellow pearl cotton hand embroidery. She is very elegant, I think.  For more on shwe shwe go to

Label on genuine shwe shwe fabric

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pink Blouse

Every now and then I buy a really cheap piece of fabric and put more time in it than something of more expense. Cost of fabric - $1.00 per yard. Now that is cheap. This is a piece of nylon or polyester purchase at the big box store we all love to hate. (refuse to mention and give them any credit) Very difficult fabric to sew
on and had to baste many areas to keep fabric from sliding apart. Pattern was a Kwik Sew that I made some alterations on including re-drafting the sleeve for a better fit. Sleeve came out better that expected. I used vintage mother of pearl buttons and made small fabric rose on each collar point. I used silk organza for the interfacing as any fusible I had was too heavy. To add to the difficulty of construction I sewed all the seams at the wrong allowance and didn't discover this until almost done so I carefully re-sewed each seam and pulled out thread on incorrect seam allowance. Came out better than it should have. The only area that defeated me was sewing on the blind hem machine. Fabric just would't feed smoothly so I did sleeve hems by hand.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Three silk pillows

These are a series of three pillows using gutta resist and acid dye to paint on silk. the pillows have been backed with flannel and machine quilted on the background to create a frame for the silk painting.

Shibori Blouse

A variety of shibori techniques were used to make this blouse. The fabric was first dyed a rich golden color then various shibori patterns were applied and dyed with a dark grey color. The back is a folded and dip dyed tortoise pattern. The yolk was tied with string and dyed with a darker color. The front (not shown) has a stitch resist patten. The sleeves are dyed with the charcoal color.

Bamboo Wall Hanging

Muslin fabric was dyed with procion dye then painted with thickened procion dye. Leaves were stitched and the background was echo quilted to enhance the image. A border was added to complete the design.