Monday, May 27, 2019

Psychedelic Western shirts

This pile of old sheets became this set of shirts
 A friend of mine has been collecting old bed sheets for some time. She asked me to help her make them into some western shirts. So off I went on a sewing vacation for a week to sew. Have I mentioned that the only part I don't like to do is cut out the patterns. My friend cut out all 3 of the shirts and the interfacing. I then set out to iron on the interfacing on all these shirts and then started the process of sewing them together. She kept me well lubricated and we completed these shirts in about 6 hours, the pattern is Simplicity 8473 from the 80's. I have also used McCall 6380, it's a decent pattern from the 70's. 

I liked the way this one matched. The pockets, cuffs and yoke are a different sheet than the main body and arms. But looking at the photos it's hard to tell that they are not the same. We attempted to dye the piping on this shirt but it came out as a very pale blue thus you can not really see the piping. 

This is a very bright shirt, we made a different western shirt from the green stripe material (you can see that shirt below). The piping on this shirt is reflective, so my friends partner can wear it when he rides his bike, hoping that the reflective part will give him a little more visibility. I was happy that the front lines matched up, too bad we didn't line up the pockets better. Next time we will pay more attention to the lines, but I don't think it really detracts from the shirt as there is so much happening already. 
 The Blue and Purple combination is quite flowery. We used blue snaps on the front.
These were the shirts that started the whole vintage sheet western shirts. I had helped my friend cut out the polka dot shirt on the left several years ago and she sewed it together. She then cut out the striped shirt and sewed most of it together before she shoved it in a drawer. When I arrived, she pulled out the shirt and I sewed on the front placket, sleeves and complete the shirt. I hate to cut out patterns and iron on the interfacing, so the fact that she had most of the things I hate to do complete made it easy for me to finish the project. 
Band from 1968 or today? The 3 shirts on the recipients. I believe they were quite happy and two of the men were surprised that they were allowed to keep the shirts. They all fit the men nicely we only had to make an adjustment to the length of the arms. I'm now on the lookout for vintage sheets, I will have to hit the garage sales this summer in search of cool looking sheets to make more of these lovely shirts. 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Flat Square States

Living in the PNW I have never really driven through the central part of America. What my husband refers to as the flat states. So this being my turn to pick a vacation spot I wanted to see the area often referred to as the middle of America...Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas. I had also wanted to go to New Mexico because my Great Grandmother was raised down there in the early 1900. She was married in Raton New Mexico in 1905 before moving to Oregon.
We flew into Albuquerque and rented a car to drive up to Santa Fe. We drove up the Turquoise Trail so we could stop at TinkerTown. I have heard of TinkerTown from several folks that have gone and I have looked at pictures on the internet...but to go there in person was magical. It's a small place if you look close but the way you walk through all the wonderful displays you would never know. All I can say is if you ever find yourself in New Mexico north of Albuquerque and you like folk environments check out TinkerTown.

 One of our main goals was to go to  Meow Wolf, a wonderful artist created environment that was built inside an old bowling alley. We spent about 4 hours inside looking at all the different rooms and interactive installations that were housed in this huge space. If you go expect to spend about 3-4 hours inside exploring the space.

Then we headed up to Taos and spent one night. I liked Taos but it really is a small artist community with a huge emphasis on shopping.  We set out for Raton after a night in Taos, driving the Enchanted Circle. I really loved the drive and wish we would have spent a night on one of the cute small towns along the way but we really wanted to get to Raton on a Saturday as we heard that the city closes down on Sundays. Our stop in Eagle Nest was a little disappointing as we stopped for a beer and thought we would get a slice of pizza at the small shop across the street that promoted Fresh Hot Pizza. Only to find out that when we ordered they had to turn on the pizza oven..?! we wondered the 3 block area for 20 minutes only to get a melted 10" cheese thing...not sure what happened to the pepperoni.

Raton was a bust, very depressing town, hot, not very appealing with several closed up businesses. So we had a beer and headed north to Trinidad Colorado. Oh yea...we got carted in the local beer joint...I have bras older than the young lady the carded me.
Trindad was OK, cute little town. We had Italian food at a small joint that  cooks each plate individually, that is to say we waited for about 45 minutes to get dinner.  Saw a cool looking art van and in general liked the vibe of the small town.

Getting up Sunday morning we headed out east to Kansas. Our destination was Liberal Kansas, the home of Dorthy Gale from Wizard of Oz. We drove through some of the flattest areas that I have ever seen. Lots of corn, lots of grain silos and trains moving agriculture across America. Once we got to the Home of Dorthy Gale we found the crushed penny machine was out of order...?!!! We wondered through the museum and looked at interesting history of Liberal then headed south for BBQ in Texas. We drove straight through Oklahoma..about 40 miles but I really didn't want to stop in the state. My husband had heard that there was good BBQ in Delhart Texas so that was our destination. Only all the BBQ places were closed on Sunday. We did stop at a tavern that was quite interesting. The bartender was a low talker and talked to us for quite some time but neither of us were able to really understand what she was saying. She did give us a piece of Apple Pie that had Hatch Chilies in the pie. It was quite good. Since Delhart Texas was a bust too we left and headed back west to Tucumcari New Mexico on Route 66.

The town has one route through with several old neon signs from the days of car travel across Route 66. We stayed in Motel Safari, a very cute little motel that has been nicely remodeled to match the late 50's designs.

From there we headed sort of north to Las Vegas New Mexico...a town that was supported by the railroad in the 1800's. Several older building are being remodeled and the whole town seems to be having a growth sprout of younger folks and hip stores. Several small boutiques and handmade items by local crafts folks. Still seems affordable and might just be the next place to move. After a couple of days it was back up to Santa Fe for one more night before we flew home. We really liked the Turquoise Trail on our way up to Santa Fe we decided to explore it on the way back down since we had all day to travel about 100 miles. We found a cute little town called Madrid and spend most of the afternoon in the town looking at various shops and sights. It's mostly a town to walk up and down the road looking at rugs, jewelry & clothing. Since we were not packing any else home it was all eye candy for us.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Ice Dying

I started seeing ice dying a couple years ago on different blogs and thought "that looked cool". I never got around to trying it till recently when Anna Joyce talked at my quilting guild. She had some lovely pieces that amazed me and when she talked about the simple process, I was hooked. I had to try it as soon as possible.

So I soaked a couple of cotton t-shirts in 1 cup of soda ash and about 2 gallons of warm water for about 20 minutes. I also soaked a small piece of heavy canvas. I like to use extra pieces of fabric to test processes when I'm working with dye. Anna Joyce had also done a really pretty piece of fabric that she sprinkled some dye on the fabric and achieved a kind of confetti effect.

I used two different dyes. One was Dharma Trading fiber reactive dye and the other was Precion Fiber Reactive dye. Both are almost the same but since results can depend on the supplies you use I wanted to use these dyes separately so I could better judge the results.  I scrunched my shirts on wire racks & covered them with ice. I have seen other people use large Tupperware containers and I think that will work better next time as you need a way to hold all the ice on top of the fabric. Mine kept falling off the sides and so there seemed to me a lot of white showing around the edges of my fabric.

I used Dharma Trading Caribbean Blue #132 & Baby Pink #12A on the t-shirt.
I sprinkled about 1/2 teaspoon of each color sort of randomly on top of the ice, some of the dye went directly on the shirt. 

I used Procion Pale Aqua #210 Peach #180 & Aqua Marina #069 on the v neck t-shirt..about 1/4 teaspoon of each color.
The Peach looked a lot more orange than I wanted, and the Pale Aqua looked lot lighter that I expected when I sprinkled the dye on top of the ice. But since dyed items always change color a after the process is complete I waited and hoped that I would get something that I liked.

I used Dharma Trading Baby Pink #12A & Wedgewood Blue #76 as a sprinkle on the fabric
I put a 1/4 teaspoon of each color in a spice jar with lid that would sprinkle the dye sparely. I used less than a 1/8 a teaspoon of each color.
One thing that was interesting that Anna Joyce mentioned was that the dyes will separate in ice and when you sprinkle the powder because of the chemistry. You can see in the photo below that there are some yellow spots that appeared when sprinkled the Baby Pink color.

There was also talk of using different types of ice, grated ice would melt faster meaning that the dye would soak into the material a little sooner than the large pieces of ice. I also read that grated ice would leave a little different design. So I grated some of the ice that I put on for the v-neck shirt & used the Procion dye with the grated ice. But on the day I did my dying it was about 70 degrees and it rained ever so slightly. So the ice did not seem to melt any faster on the day I tried this process. I think a warmer day will produce a little different result but I can not be sure till I test it again.

Pieces after about 10 hours of sitting outside.  On the left are the larger pieces of ice, they are not completely melted.  On the right is the shirt that I used mostly grated ice and you can see all the ice has melted. You can also barely see the pale aqua on the fabric, it's below the orange and right of the aqua marina...where the large white spot is located. I love to test processes and sample patterns but the hardest part of this process was leaving the dye on the shirts for 24 hours. I get impatient waiting and really wanted to see how these shirts would dye. I left the pieces in place overnight and checked them at 10am the next morning.
You can see that the colors did lighten up a little over night so there was hope that the colors would mellow after a wash. I really was not looking forward to a patch of bright orange, I wanted a soft peach color. 

Once washed and dried the shirts came out nice, the peach was more of a peach and not so orange. On a scale of 1-10..I would give these a 7, as I think I learned a couple of things that I should do different next time. I do want to try it with all one color and maybe do a shobori design on the material. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

Dying scrap fabric and making small zipper bags

Over Memorial Day weekend I decided to dye some scrap canvas that I had sitting in my studio. The canvas was from some heavy canvas totes that were defective and the company sent me replacements. They did not want me to send back the defective tote bags. I kept thinking that I would make something with the fabric but I was not sure what to make. So I started by doing some Shobori wrapping designs. I'm kind of infatuated with indigo but since I did not have indigo I used some nice deep blue fabric dye that I had bought last year. We started by wrapping the 14x15 pieces of fabric in different ways to create various patterns on the fabric. We soaked about half the pieces of fabric in water before putting them in the dye as that is what the directions suggested. 

We found the fabric soaked in water took the dye more in the areas where we had expected the fabric to stay white in keeping with the Shibori patterns that we were making. You can see the pieces above the pieces on the left were not soaked in water, the pieces on the right were.

I liked the fabric that was not soaked in water before going into the dye as the contrast is stronger and I believe there is a clear design in the patterns. 
Our quilting guild is making small toiletry bags for a couple of charities and so I decided to make some from the heavy canvas. With the canvas you do not have to use a heavy interfacing to make the bags stiff. 
These other dopp bags needed some stiff interfacing to make them form a box like bag. I like making these bags as they are simple and cute, take less then 1/2 a yard of fabric and a zipper. So far I have about 6 bags to give to the quilting guild. The patterns are free on line. The large dopp bag is on Craftsy, the other zipper bag is free on Noodlehead.