28
May
09

A more colorful post!

After all the plain white fabric in my recent post, it seems worthwhile to show you a bit of color today:

Lycra Before

Granted, the photo above is fairly stark. This is our “Before” picture. Yesterday, I dyed. Dying is always a little exciting for me. Plain white turns to brilliant colors, and sooo many details can impact how well the end product turns out. I’ve been playing with dyes for quite a while now and I’m still learning new things I can do.

Stove top dying is my usual MO. It’s relatively convenient to set up and clean up, and you can get a nice hot heat on the stove which helps the dye set brilliantly. I’ve learned though that it’s a poor choice for larger projects because even in a 2 gallon stock pot, a couple yards of fabric get crowded quickly – and then you end up with an uneven dye job (not good). Yesterday I wanted to avoid the hassle of dying in the washing machine, but I didn’t want to risk blotchy fabric. So in a moment of inspiration I decided to cut my fabric pieces out first and dye them pre-cut, just a few at a time! (Since the nylon Lycra blend I was working with was a knit fabric, I didn’t have to worry about it fraying after I cut it). It worked superbly.

First a shot of my practice swatches as I perfected the color mix in my pot. Attempts 1 through 3 are laid out from left to right, with the farthest right swatch being the purple chiffon fabric I wanted to match. (Actually, I wanted the Lycra to be just slightly darker than the chiffon).

Dye Attempts

Once the dye mix met my satisfaction, I took the plunge and dyed the pre-cut pieces of fabric for my project, separated into two halves so I wouldn’t overcrowd the pot, and pre-soaked in water so the fabric would drink up the dye nice and evenly. Beautiful. I cleaned up my workspace and then I hand washed the dyed fabric bits with just a bit of detergent and rinsed them thoroughly several times so that any bleeding they were going to do happened before they were sewn to other fabrics. I hung them to drip dry, and waited. Here’s the “After” pic:

Lycra After

With the fabric dyed, washed, and dried I was ready to get started on a new Latin style ballroom dance costume! Now two days ago I had taken the time before hand to cut, serge, and iron a small mountain of little purple chiffon triangles, which were to be used in the Latin dress’ skirt. Here they are, waiting patiently while I dyed:

Ready Triangles

And with those components – the hand dyed Lycra and ready chiffon triangles, I was ready to put together a beautiful dress. The built-in body suit went together with no problems whatsoever: front to back, elastic through the legs, bra cups sewn in place. Then the outer dress – front to back, serge the raw edges, leaving a slit up each side which had to be hemmed. I was making great time! Thought I might even finish the dress before bedtime. On to the hem at the bottom. Fold, press, stitch, right?

Wrong.

*Shakes head.* If I had taken the time to set up my professional quality iron this wouldn’t have happened. I have a beautiful gravity feed iron with a Teflon shoe that doesn’t melt fabrics. But, setting this up requires me to drill a hook in the wall from which to hand the bottle of water that feeds the iron. Putting the hook in the wall with any ease requires knowing where our power screwdriver is. I think it’s in one of the boxes in the garage. Probably. And in the meantime I’m using the regular, run of the mill, daily use iron that we’ve had for years. And it MELTED a tiny little spot on the skirt.

Scortched Hem

If you sew, you’ll sympathize. Heck if you do any long, time consuming type of project that can be ruined in an instant, you’ll sympathize. At this point I’d been working on the dress all day. Pattern drafting, cutting, soaking, dying, washing, drying, sewing, serging… melting. I called my husband and asked for his painfully honest opinion. No, I couldn’t cut the hem even shorter (it was super short already). No I couldn’t leave the melted spot there and just pretend it hadn’t happened (not that I really would have considered that option). Yes, I really did need to redo the outer dress. Yes, that really did mean cutting, soaking, dying, washing, drying, sewing, and serging all over again.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!

It was one of those gut wrenching, tear jerking, frustrating moments that are just kind of sickening. Acknowledging that a two second error, just that tiniest moment of leaving the iron in one spot too long, was going to cost me HOURS to repair. I balked. I whined. I contemplated crying. And then I took a deep breath and put the stock pot back on the stove. More water. More salt. More dye. More heat. More test swatches. More precut fabric. More rinses. More washing. More drying. More sewing. More serging. And somehow a few hours later I’d caught back up. I was tired but optomistic once again. I could look at the *new* outer dress, smile at my success, and even admit to myself that the dye turned out better the second time. And I got to move forward.

The dozens and dozens of chiffon triangles made their way, one at a time, to the skirt before I went to bed. This morning the outer dress and bodysuit went together, I finished the raw edges all around, and took the very important step off sewing in my beautiful “Goff Couture” label. 🙂

Here she is, all finished and just waiting for some bling. (I’ll be gluing around 15 gross of Swarovski rhinestones all over the place once the stones arrive).

Purple Latin Front Purple Latin Back

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5 Responses to “A more colorful post!”


  1. May 28, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Glad it came together for you! I can’t wait to see modeled pictures. There’s no way I’d be caught in it, but I’m sure whoever wears it will look stunning!

  2. May 28, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    It’s absolutely stunning! Can’t wait to see the bling on it =)

  3. 3 goffcouture
    May 28, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    LOL I couldn’t wear it myself, Virginia dear. (Backless means braless and that’s a BIG no no for me!) But I want to be able to offer a whole range of styles of ballroom costumes, from the conservative to the ultra sexy. 🙂

  4. 4 Kim
    May 28, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Oh my dear!!!!!! Well it came out beautifully in the end!! You have the patience of a saint!! teehee!


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