Monday, January 20, 2020

Dressing to DIscuss Dying

I was asked to give a program on “Dyes, Types  and Uses” for an ASG  neighborhood group.  In general, I don’t mind giving a presentation about something I enjoy, though I always make sure my audience knows I am not an expert.  For my presentations I like to incorporate something in my outfit that supports or illustrates the topic.  I spotted this outfit in the Oct 2019 BurdaStyle magazine. #115.  It was the perfect outfit for the presentation.

Burda Oct 2019 115

  A colorful, easy to sew top, and  coordinating necklace. That could be used to illustrate the use of dye on different materials; fabric and wood.  

I dyed some very inexpensive wool lycra knit using Rit brand, general purpose, Aquamarine dye and the instructions for protein fibers.  I had bought this fabric specifically for experimenting with dying and fabric manipulation.  I prefer silk and wool when I do this, but these types of fabrics can be expensive.  So, when I find some light-colored wool or silk yardage sold “As Is” because of defects or dirt, I snap it up.
My wool sucked up all the dye in the solution, resulting in a deep color. There were some light streaks and dark blobs, which is not surprising when dying wool with general purpose dyes.  There are better dyes designed specifically for protein ( wool ) fibers. But they are not available in grocery, big box or hobby stores.

The Burda top is easy to sew, I serged the seams, and used a coverstitch for the hem on the sleeves and bottom edge. I tapered the sleeves to be narrower from elbow to wrist. A style preference.

Burda top 115 from Oct 2019 issue
Burda top 115  Oct 2019 issue
The necklace was made of unfinished wood circles, (Amazon) rubbed with the undiluted dye, the edges colored black using a sharpie pen.  And sprayed with a gloss finish spray.   To form the chain from the circles I cut a slit in the rings with a handsaw. The slit allows just enough flexibility to interlink the rings.  I have strands of Christmas tree “chains” made this way.  That is where the idea came from.
Dyed wooden necklace

The presentation went well, and I got a lot of questions about the necklace.

ASG Dying Presentation 
As part of the presentation I talked about using Rit Dyemore and IDye Poly to dye synthetic fiber wigs. At the end of the presentation I donned a wig I had dyed using Rit Polydye.  

My silly selfie of  me as a “blue hair”


Love the  Urban Dictionary's definition: "An old person who's white hair appears blue. Usually it is the only thing you can see over the steering wheel of the car they are driving."

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020 A New Year

"Why, Audrey what is that you are wearing?"  My new Atacac stripe body stocking. Thanks for asking. Doesn't it fit beautifully? And the stripes disguise any body flaws. "But where ever to you wear it?"  Oh you know,  creative photography sessions, or to  perform  improv dances. And I sewed it myself!

 The pattern is  available from Atacac as a  downloadable PDF,  either free or  for a contribution of 10 euro.  For a pattern as unique as this, I felt it was worth the donation.  This body stocking was designed to support the  PhD thesis "Kinetic Garment Construction" of one of the Atacac founders. The thesis is available on the site and makes for interesting reading. As well as the Atacac business model and manufacturing philosophy.  Check it out.

Back to the pattern.  There are no directions and the pattern only comes in one  size.  A size 3. It is a bit short in the torso for me. I suspect it would best  fit a body with the dimensions below and a height of  5'6" - 5'7"

The pattern is very unique looking

Atacac Body Stocking pattern

I purchased  3 yards of 60 wide cotton/lycra knit from  I was disappointed the stripes on this rather expensive fabric were printed rather than knitted, fearing sloppy stripe printing would cause major matching issues.  The printing was accurate. Any matching issues was mine.

Some piecing was required because of the odd pattern shape and I didn’t feel like spending time to see if there was a “no piecing required” layout. My  joints can only take so much crawling around on the floor, which is where I had to do the pattern layout and cutting.

One side of pattern

There are points around the pattern labeled with letters.  These points are used for putting the pattern together.  Mark every one of the matching points,  with letters. They are critical, as the fabric wraps and twists around both the legs and arms in a very non intuitive way.

Recommended Sewing Directions
  1. Sew the neck dart and the back head dart on each side piece.
  2. Sew the leg seam on each side piece. The foot has some weird tight curves. Use those match points!
  3. Sew hand /arm seam on each side piece.   I hand basted the 1 mm seams allowance on the fingers before sewing on the machine. There was no way I would have been able to successfully sew the small seam allowances in small curved areas, in a stretch knit,  without the basting.  Another option is to rough cut around the hands leaving fabric between fingers. Mark the seams around the fingers on the hands, sew around the fingers on seam line, and trim fabric from between fingers.
  4. Sew the zipper(s) in the back seam.  The website description on the purchased  body stocking says" the body stocking  is closed with a invisible  zipper running across the head and down the seam at the back. Since I had trouble sourcing an invisible longer that 36". I used two invisible zippers in the back seam; a 9 inch and a 26 inch. They both start at the same point at the back neck , the shorter zipper opens towards the head and the longer one towards the crotch.   I inserted them in the back seam at this point  in the sewing, to make the insertion and stripe matching easier.
  5. Open the zippers and sew the seam from the top of the head, where the short zipper ends, down the front and under the crotch to the point where the longer zipper ends.
Voila, Put it on and startle your spouse and pets.

Reality - I need help to get it on. It is also a bit difficult to see through the fabric.

  I have several other Atacac patterns in the queue. Stay tuned.