Another week, another Pattern Review Sewing Bee project! This week’s challenge was HARD. What made it harder is that they gave us 10 days for the challenge, meaning I could hem and haw for a looooong time before committing to a technique. I tried lots of different things. I tried a very challenging pattern, but had fit issues. I tried a cool embroidery technique, but that didn’t go anywhere. Finally I had to make up my mind and I decided to dye my fabric and add detail with smocking.
I was going to use indigo dye and try a Shibori method, but when I went to my local craft store, they did not have any indigo dye! It is important for the Shibori technique to have a dye that takes quickly, so you can dip and remove and don’t have to soak.
Despite my disappointment, I grabbed some cool stuff called Inkodye, which is a dye that responds to the sun. I have a ton of sun here! I used a Shibori technique of folding my fabric accordion style and dipping the edges in the dye. That looked cool, but very stark. Plum to white. So I grabbed some of the navy dye my other fabric was soaking in and placed one of the edges in just about an inch. The regular Rit dye needs to be soaked for a while, so I left it there for 2 hours.
I was pretty thrilled with the results. The Rit dye did not turn out as vibrant as I’d hoped, but I had to make do with what was available at my big box craft store. The pairing of the 2 fabrics I dyed were a great match since I incorporated the blue dye. It all came together, even though it looks rather purple and not navy blue at all. I don’t mind, because I kind of have a problem with only buying or wearing blue or gray.
At the shoulders I tried a smocking technique that I have been yearning to do for years, but had a hard time figureing out how to incorporate it into a grown-up piece of clothing. Smocking is usually so juvenile. But I did just a bit, and added the beads to emphasize the pinches and it adds a unique element.
Notes on the pattern: I used this Butterick 6169 moto jacket pattern previously and went down 2 sizes. I took a guess that the dress pattern would be the same and also made up a size 10 and I really like the fit. Some modifications I made to the dress: I added width to the top of the front piece to make room for my smocking detail. I also cut the neckline a half inch lower and straightened and shortened the hem. The pattern does not come with instructions on lining, but I did a full lining and used my shoulder seam sandwich technique to create a totally enclosed lining that acts as a facing. It looks beautiful inside and the silk lining I used is dreamy to wear!
Doesn’t the dye effect look bohemian? I took that idea a bit further by adding the pom-pom trim. Then I styled it all bohemian for the pictures and I feel super cute. And caught some beautiful light through the trees!