Lately I have gone back to a craft that I did (ssssshhhhh) 30 years ago and that’s dye. I had a purpose in high school, taking art co-currently with chemistry because how the compounds interact to create colour is fascinating in many medias. Techniques have changed, a lot, the chemistry is simpler and something called the microwave has replaced some of the stove and pots of old.
But I like my Canners!
So I’m deep into deciding whether I like Acid over MX, they both have their place but have just ordered some colourhue from G&S, just for fun. I really wanted Dupont french dye but didn’t want to deal with steaming and Dixon recommended to try colorhue. The idea is to do custom colours for the organza wave scarves I do. I’ll digress to skating dresses. Surprisingly I don’t get a lot of requests for airbrush effect. That’s okay since I’m sort of over it. Well not quite, I want to do a chinese cherry tree bud pattern but another time, and maybe not a skating dress. If you’re interested in trying it, there is an awesome tutorial online for the basics go on, do a google, because I wrote it as a private instruction for Diane Trim who published it (and then dropped contact with me) and edited it with artistic embellishments so it’s about half right and half wrong, which, well, at this point I’ve become resigned to it and am not going to try to straighten it out.
So if you’re here, let me give you a tip. Setacolor, Harbor Freight kit, and their mini touch up gun. And get to it!
With coupons, under $100 and you’re in business. Don’t use an airbrush unless you want to do art on fabric because the swath is too narrow to do the wide hems that anyone wants but the kit with the brush has a better motor than the pump they sell separately. So get the kit and play with the airbrush and think about having a t-shirt stand on the Jersey Shore at $10 a pop for a custom tourist t-shirt. Then get a spray gun. It’s a good skill to have for art, but not so great for fabric.
Yes I can make anything. With enough time and materials nothing is impossible. But it would be so much easier with a $4,000 sequin sewing machine. Or high temp dye vats. Or a factory of workers equipped with all these things and a fabric mill next door. That’s the reality of the economic zones of China. Take advantage of it. What? Shouldn’t I support Catherine, the local dressmaker? Yes, but be smart and use globalization to your advantage. It’s all about Economics, and if they’ve got an entire factory and can make dresses for $49.99 go for it!
Buy a dress from China via eBay. I can provide advice on the good and not so good sellers. Then, bring it to me for the final alteration. Sometimes they get it right and it fits perfectly, but not always, and it’s not a large expense (starting at $30) to have it custom fit, as well as personalized to you.
Also, think about customization. It’s great to have the dress for $19.99 (plus $35 shipping) from a high profile seller on eBay, but chances are, someone else is going to have that same dress or something similar. Last year at a competition I saw three dresses from the same very distinctive Chinese factory.
Trends come and go, but I’m always here, ready to make something unique, custom, or simply inspired from a photograph.
Skating, Baton, Gymnastics, if it’s got spandex in it, I can do it.
The assignment was to thriftily alter some synchro costumes to be a 1950′s sort of theme via adding an applique. Since these are synchro costumes, destined to be altered again, I couldn’t permanently alter. So I made free floating appliques with the embroidery machine, by using a combination of tear away backing (the white) and netting for stability. It doesn’t really matter what colour the netting is, it covered by the stitching and any excess trimmed.
The purple doggie is the test stitch out. The pink, is the chosen design and orientation and size. I trimmed them out, volunteers stitched them onto the costumes by hand so they could be snipped off in the future if necessary.
Consider using trim or decoration to enhance a skating costume. A custom made applique, which can be beaded or rhinestoned might be the perfect enhancement to a catalogue outfit. Consider using a section of embroidered netting to enhance illusion fabric. When they’re loosely stitched on, there is no worry about having to stretch and is economical.