Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Little Wine Goes a Long Way

I'm referring to Wine-colored dye, of course.  This dye job has been intense!

Saturday morning I was gung ho to convert the pink mistake to the perfect color denim.  The Rit site gives formulas for a few hundred hues, and I aimed to emulate "Nantucket Red".  The formula for my selection was 1 part Cherry Red to 4 parts Tangerine.

Going for a lighter shade of 566.
Unfortunately, my local source for dye did not stock Cherry Red (surprise).  So I substituted Wine and brought in some Tan for muting (the Bubble Gum and Tangerine seemed so bright).  The first sample I mixed proved the Wine was so strong that it overpowered the Tangerine (and looked a lot like Raspberry).  It took 10 samples.
I love potion number 9!
After several test swatches, I narrowed it down to three choices and settled on #9 -- it was a bit more on the "rust" side than what I initially thought I wanted -- but I really liked it nonetheless.  So I calculated the perfect combination of dye for 3 yards of fabric (compared to a 2-inch square piece), and mixed it up in my sink on Sunday.  After 5 minutes, it looked like a giant piece of raspberry fruit roll-up.  I was horrified.  So I ran it through the washing machine with a cup of bleach, and it came out orange -- Carrot Orange -- which was not what I wanted either.

I tried "color remover" and it looked exactly the same, still Carrot.  I wasn't giving up!  I soaked it in pure Scarlet.  It was still Carrot, how can that be?  Around 10:30 Sunday night, my husband patted me on the back and told me "You gave it your best try."  I wished I had just ordered some pants from Murray's Toggery Shop for $72.50 plus shipping and enjoyed my weekend instead.  Why did the formula not work on a larger scale?

Today when I came home from lunch and saw the wrinkled pile of Carrot, I gave it one more try.  I mixed Scarlet with Wine and soaked it in the sink for the afternoon.  It came out really red -- Tomato Red -- but it's a nice red, and I'd rather have Tomato pants than Bubble Gum pants or Carrot pants.  It's still not #9, but that's fine.

So I washed it and dried it and ironed it and started cutting out my pants...except that I am about 3 inches short of fabric for the pants! What?!  Did I shrink it that much during the several hot dye baths and washes?  I've seen this movie before, and it's getting old.  So maybe I will make some shorts, instead.  Either way, I'm having some wine.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Waist Not

Clearly, I missed the SWAP deadline.  The business travel, sewing unplanned, complex dresses for my daughter, and sheer exhaustion side-tracked me.  Actually, I haven't started any new sewing projects ince I finished the prom dress, because I've just been too tired to do anything after work, and my husband has found non-sewing projects to keep me busy on weekends, including the conversion of our stinky, exterior cellar basement to a home gym.

After a couple of weeks, I just couldn't fight the urge to MAKE SOMETHING any longer.  After all, I have stacks of fabric just sitting around getting wrinkled, waiting for me to cut them apart and sew them back together again!  Finally, I opened a pattern envelope: my jeans from SWAP.
McCall's 6610

One reason I hadn't started them earlier, was that I just couldn't find fabric that I was happy with.  I'm too picky to buy apparel fabrics locally, and too impulsive to order swatches from my internet sources (I just order 3 yards of what I think I may like and sometimes it works).  For example - I thought I was getting Nantucket Red,
when in fact, I ordered Pinky Tuscadero:

So I now own several yards of denim and twill that I really don't have the desire to make into anything (the pink denim is only one example of several of my not-so-satisfying internet purchases).  Every time I glance at the pink denim, I think about a cute little jacket my daughter wore when she was 3.  It was adorable on a little tiny girl.  And it may look okay as a jacket on me, but not anything I would wear on my bottom half.  So, rather than waste the fabric, I decided I would dye it to the perfect shade of...who knows...but what do I have to lose?  I either hold on to fabric that I will never use, or I try a different color.  Or I could even use it as wearable muslin for my jeans, but I'm not one to waste fabric!

I didn't get very far with the McCall's pattern.  It's a fine pattern that turned out some lovely jeans for my daughter -- it wasn't the pattern, it was me.  I was in shock over how much my waist expanded after a winter of no exercise.  Perhaps the daily dose of pinot noir (medicinal, of course) added to my weight gain.  So, after a few minutes of trying to find my natural waist, I wrapped the pattern back up (thoroughly disgusted with myself) and started using the newly completed home gym. By the way, my husband's high expectations and attention to detail have resulted in a basement transformed into something that I am quite comfortable exercising in.

While sitting on the exercise bike watching the Great British Sewing Bee, I realized that I don't really want to make M6610.  Instead, I made a rub-off of some very comfortable pants that I own and wear quite frequently.  This method allows me to stay in denial of my expansive waistline, as it requires no measurements of my own body parts.  I've completed a draft, and the toile, and they appear to fit well, so now on to tweaking the fabric and making the garment.

With summer approaching, I am longing for Nantucket Reds, but I don't own any fabric in that shade.   I do own Bubblegum Pink (not to mention: Rust -- advertised as "Wine" -- and Muddy Yellow-Brown that emulated a lovely Rich Cocoa over the internet).  Surely, I can mix some dye together and mute the Hubba-Bubba to a nice Sun-Washed Coral?
Although I'm not a huge fan of Rit dyes, my impulsiveness prevents me from waiting for a shipment of fiber-reactive dyes from Dharma, so I am willing to lower my expectations so that I can complete this scientific experiment tomorrow.  The Rit site has dozens of color recipes, which I've narrowed down to three options -- #566 appears the closest to my desired shade.  They're all darker than ideal, but that's easy to adjust, right? Looks like I need a little red, some orange and maybe some brown or taupe to mute the pink.  Let's hope the fabric transformation is as successful as the basement's!