Stitched Shibori-Dyed Heather Blazer (Friday Pattern Company)
This 3-piece outfit - which includes the Heather Blazer by Friday Pattern Company, the Ogden Cami by True Bias and the Adeline Trousers by VikiSews - has been filling up my waking hours for the past 2 weeks. All 3 pieces were tie-dyed 3 ways. The right side of the blazer and trousers were dyed in a stitched Shibori technique, sometimes referred to as Horse’s Tooth pattern. The left side is a folding technique, one of the most basic Itajime Shibori techniques that I’ve highlighted before in a previous post. The lining of the blazer and the cami were crumpled-dyed, which is the easiest tie-dye technique of the 3.
This whole outfit was my entry into the Fabrics-store.com annual sewing contest. As I write, the voting for the contest is still open for the next 24 hours, so if you want to show your support and vote for me, please go to the contest page and cast your vote. Many thanks in advance for time and support. I really appreciate it.
The main rule of the contest is to start with bleached white linen as the canvas, and I purchased my linens from Fabrics-store.com with store credit that I had won last year. Yes, I clinched the People’s Choice Award in 2020, and I am eternally grateful for the votes from my family, friends and followers. I am hoping for a repeat win, so all my fingers are crossed. I used 2 linen types from Fabrics-store.com for this outfit: the heavyweight linen for the main fabric for the blazer and trousers; and the lightweight linen for the lining and the cami.
I’ve had in my fantasy to make a Shibori-dyed pant/suit combo for a while now, and thought that now is probably my chance to do it. It’s one of those projects that I know would take a long time to make, and I was postponing it until now. The contest was giving an extra push to do it. This turned out as time-consuming as I imagined it would be. The most labour-intensive part of the process is preparing the fabric pieces after cutting and before dyeing. First, what needed to be done was to transfer all notches and markings from paper pattern to fabric pieces. Then all the raw edges of the fabric pieces had to be serged to prevent fraying and warping while dyeing. And finally, I drew on all the lines where the Shibori folds were going to be made. This is because I am obsessive compulsive, and wanted perfect pattern-matching between pattern pieces. I managed to achieve the results I wanted through this painstaking process, and I must say it was worth the extra care and attention paid at this point even before all the exciting action was happening.
If you are curious about the whole stitched Shibori process, then please take a look at the YouTube video that I made.
It’s a tutorial that guides you through how I accomplished all the Shibori patterning that you see on this 3-piece outfit. The highlight, of course, is creating this stitched Shibori pattern, which is fast becoming one of my favourite Shibori techniques.
I made a size XS of the Heather Blazer by The Friday Pattern Company, and this turned out to be quite a pleasurable and manageable sew due to its design and great sewing instructions. For a blazer, it doesn’t have that many pattern pieces compared to other blazer patterns, so I think a confident beginner can actually attempt this pattern and be successful. In addition, I love the oversized look of it, and I think it’s something that will never go out of style. Throw it on with a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, and you’re ready to go anywhere and be cool.
Going by the high bust measurements, I should probably have made a size S but because it’s oversized, I chose to make XS instead, and it turned out to be a good decision for me. The only modifications I made were shortening the length of the blazer by 1.5 inches, and the pocket piece by 1 inch. There are 2 size ranges for this blazer: one is XS-XXL and the other is 1X-7X.
I am really proud of this outfit. I wasn’t sure if I was going to pull it off because there were some risky moves that I made. One of them is cutting out the fabric pieces before dyeing. The main risk of doing things this way is that if some kind of mishap happens in the dyeing, then I would be left stranded without any extra fabric to cut into. This actually happened and I had to fix it by cutting into the stitched Shibori pocket piece of the trousers to make up for the collar of the blazer. Fortunately, I anticipated this happening and Itajime dyed some extra fabric for this just-in-case moment.
The other risk involved is that the fabric pieces may actually shrink further in the dye bath, even though they had already gone through pre-washing and pre-pressing before dyeing. The chances were high especially since I was going to use the stovetop method which places the fabric pieces in almost boiling water for 30 minutes of the dyeing process. And you know what? The fabric pieces did shrink. But luckily for me, they shrank in the direction of the weft, or the selvage. This meant that all the fabric pieces were about 5-7% shorter after dyeing. Yes, very risky business - and I was lucky because all the sewing patterns that I used were a little oversized on me to begin with, and the shrinkage didn’t matter much. If I was making a garment that was going to be very fitted, then I would probably dye the fabric first before cutting.
And why didn’t I do this for this project? The main reason is that it’s more manageable to stitch, fold and bind smaller pieces of fabric than the whole 3-4 metres that are required for this 3-piece suit. In addition, the Shibori patterning sometimes works better when working with smaller pieces of fabric. Something like the size of a scarf works well for Shibori. Anything much bigger or much smaller than that creates problems when dyeing, especially when aiming for very precise lines in the patterns or the resist.
Well, that’s all that I have to report on my sewing adventures thus far. I have many other projects lined up before the close of the year, and I am getting anxious that I won’t get them done before 2022 arrives. In November, I was drowning in 2 extremely labour-intensive projects, and all I want to sew now are easy-peasy ones with very little brain power or elbow grease required. However, I always get pulled into these sewing vortexes, so wish me luck! And remember to vote for me here. Many many thanks.