Summer Shibori Dress

blue shibori dress with pockets

Hello!  Sorry I haven’t posted in a while.  I’ve been working on getting one of my patterns ready to release as a PDF and I have been neglecting my trusty sewing blog!  I took a break from the pattern to spruce up my summer wardrobe.

First up is this blue shibori dyed dress with dolman sleeves, a gathered skirt, and big patch pockets.  I used my own self drafted pattern.

blue dress 15

I wanted to make myself a few things that were comfortable but looked nicer than my worn out collection of skinny jeans and tee shirts.  Bleck.

blue dress 16

I had some crinkly cotton gauze on hand and I dyed it up with some blueberry fiber reactive dye.  I had just enough to get one dress out of it.  What luck!

blue dress 17

This is also the first time I tried taking pictures outside and they look sooooo much better that the ones taken inside my cave-like apartment!

Back view:

blue dress 8

And a few shots of the inside of the dress:

blue dress 18

I used french seams as usual, including at the waist with the gathering, and contrasting bias binding around the neck.  The hems of the sleeves and skirt were turned up twice and stitched.  I like to make the hems pretty deep, especially on a lightweight fabric, it makes everything hang very nicely.

That’s it!

P.S.  If anyone has any questions about the techniques I used, please don’t hesitate to ask:)


Rainbow Shibori Kaftan

My fabric buying budget has been a little low lately, but I won’t let that dampen my zeal for sewing!  Whenever I run out of new fabric I start hunting through my “archives” to see if there are any pieces that I can recycle.  I found a few test scarves that I made when I first started experimenting with shibori, and I thought they might look cool pieced together into a colorful patchwork of some kind.

shibori collage

Close-ups of the shibori scarves.

I laid out the scarves in different ways until I found a combination I liked.

rainbow shibori scarves

Too busy?

I decided to go with a long flowing kaftan with shoulder cut-outs.  I like to keep the silhouette simple when the fabric is so colorful and kaftans are basically a rectangle with holes for your arms and head.

I first stitched all of the scarves together to make two larger pieces of fabric, then cut out the front and back pieces from these.

shibori patchwork dress

The front pattern piece of the kaftan.

I sewed all of the seams with french seams.  It does take a little longer because you have to sew each seam twice, but they look so nice when they are done.  They make the inside of your garment look as good as the outside!

french seam close-up

French seams for the persnickety seamstress in us all…

And here is the (almost) finished product:

shibori kaftan

After photographing it, I thought the shoulder cut-outs needed a little adjusting.  With such a colorful voluminous garment I think there needs to be a good balance between fabric and skin, so you don’t look like Mrs. Roper…

I made the cut-outs a little bigger and finished them with blue bias binding.  The binding added definition and the hint of blue picked up the blue in the rest of the dress.

I think it tied the whole thing together!

colorful kaftan

rainbow silk dress

I can’t wait to wear this during the summer!

(And to take some better pics outside when it’s not freezing:)

Shibori Bridesmaid Dress

As I mentioned in my last post about making my sister’s wedding dress, I also made my dress for the wedding!  My sister didn’t go the traditional bridesmaid route.  Instead, she put together a color palette collage and had me and her close friends choose dresses based on that.

color palette for wedding

The dresses could be any style we wanted, as long as they matched the color palette.

I was a little mentally exhausted after finishing the wedding gown, and I knew I wasn’t going to have much time, so I decided to modify one of my existing patterns to make myself a simple silk tunic.  It was very loose fitting, with a v-neck and wide kimono sleeves.

I did a few rounds of test swatches:

hand dyed test swatches for dress

Test swatches = mad scientist time!

Until I found the right shade:

hand dyed silk swatch

This one is a winner!

I shibori dyed the silk for my dress and I did a simple folded square pattern:

blush pink shibori dyed dress

Ready to party!

I ended up really loving this dress!  I plan on wearing it again, probably over jeans, with wooden platform sandals, when it gets warmer:)

Before and After

I’m working on my handmade wardrobe and getting new garments together to photograph.  In the mean time I thought I would post some “before & after” pics of past pieces.  I’ve been taking pictures of my shibori fabric as I finish dyeing it, and then taking pictures of the finished garments and putting them side by side.

khaki shibori bubble dress

shibori tank top

I started doing these to keep track of my progress and stay motivated.  Sometimes I feel like I’m not getting enough accomplished, but when I look back at these I feel better:)

Dharma Trading Featured Artist

I just wanted to pop in quick to say that Dharma Trading put up my Featured Artist profile on their website today.  I get all of my fabric dyeing supplies from them–they have everything.  I submitted my work a few months ago, but I wasn’t sure if/when my profile would show up on their website and then I saw it there this morning!  Thanks Dharma Trading!  Happy New Year!!

Featured Artist Dharma Trading 1-1-14 resize

My Top 5 (3) Misses 2013

Yesterday I posted my top 5 hits of 2013, and in keeping with the rules of the challenge, today I’m doing my top 3 misses (I could only find three to photograph).  I am actually rather happy with all of the garments I’ve sewn this year, but a few of my shibori pieces came out pretty awful.  Most of the time when a piece comes out badly I’ll try over-dyeing it until it looks better, but these three just annoyed me.  I’m putting them aside until they stop being difficult. Continue reading

My Top 5 Hits 2013

I’ve been wanting to restart my blog lately, but I was having a little trouble getting going.  I found the Top 5 of 2013 post on Crafting a Rainbow (via Grainline Studio) and thought it would be a great way to get started.  Sometimes it really helps me to focus by organizing things into lists–it’s fun in a very nerdy way!  In no particular order…

Blue striped drop waist dress:

It's versatile!

It’s versatile!

Continue reading