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Dress, Patrice’s drawing challenge

I was so glad to be able to be a part of Patrice’s drawing challenge this week.

Let me just say that I love clothes, Chloe loves clothes, we both love looking good and feeling good in clothes, but what we don’t like is knowing that hundreds of pounds of textiles end up in land fills every year because the fashion industry has a terribly slavish built-in obsolescence. And we also don’t like that new textiles carry toxic ingredients in them, such as “safe” levels of lead and cancer causing fire retardants. Clothes are soaked in them and we are expected to put that against our skin. We also suspect that each sequin sewn on to clothes manufactured in developing countries has probably been sewn on by child labour.

So we tend to buy a lot of second hand, ethically sewn, and organically produced clothes.

This time around, I decided to see if I could do some eco printing on some clothes, and see what the results would be.

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So, with the gathered leaves, and a quick trip to the local thrift shop, which produced a shawl, a T, a summer dress and a linen tunic…
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I soaked the clothes over night in a vinegar water solution, and we started to layer the leaves.

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Now the thing about eco printing, there are very few instructions out there, and it seems that people give various pieces of the puzzle but not the whole process, so I basically pieced together a system, (which is probably pretty unique to me, since I have very little idea of what I’m doing), from several blogs, videos, and snippets of books on-line. One gal’s blog which I found very beautiful and inspiring is this one: Obovate Designs. You should check it out, Melinda makes the most beautiful eco prints.

One thing I knew for sure, there are things called mordants which change/deepen/fix/help with the colour, but apart form vinegar, they all seemed pretty chemically, and not wanting to contribute to more chemicals in the environs, I chose to only use vinegar.

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I used leaves, red onion skins and spent dahlia flower petals on my two pieces, and C got creative with pomegranate seeds and beet slices on her two pieces.

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That is, when she wasn’t eating the supplies. πŸ˜€

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I turned the clothes wrong side out, and did a sort of sandwich of leaves in the middle. With the shawl, I spread the leaves on one half and folded the second half over. Then we folded the clothes and wrapped them around a stick and bound them with elastic bands.

Then we put them into my large turkey roaster on a steaming plate, and steamed them for two hours.

Then we put them aside to rest overnight.

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Some days I have about as much patience as a small gnat, and this three day project really stretched what little I manage to achieve, so on the third day, we ran to the kitchen first thing in the morning and started to unroll out clothes.

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The more leaves, seeds, slices and petals we picked off, the more delighted we were with the result, and the dye material all went into a large bowl and straight into the compost.

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Then we hung out or eco dyed creations and waited for them to dry.

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And this afternoon I gave them a little iron, and we had a fashion show!

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C dress

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C top

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We are actually thrilled with our first eco dying try. We love the earthy quality the natural materials gave our clothes. And the best part is that we created something unique and genuine. Recycled clothes, natural dyes, Earth friendly products. It’s all good.

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If you’ve stuck with me thru this whole, extremely long post, thank you, thank you so much and bless your sweet, pink hearts. πŸ˜€

Here, again, is the link to Patrice’s site where you can see more wacky, creative and fun twists on the Dress theme.

Big hugs for a wonderful, eco friendly weekend for all. πŸ˜€

Comments: 26

  • October 25, 2014

    Well done both of you!
    They look great πŸ™‚
    And I agree, the process still retains its mystique…
    All the more wonderful when unwrapping your creations!!

  • October 25, 2014

    This is really amazing to see. I love the creativity of this project and the scarf/shawl appeals to me. You both did a great job. Have a super weekend.

  • October 25, 2014

    wauw, what a work you put into this dc
    thanks for that and
    the outcome is wonderful!!!!

    fine weekend!

  • October 25, 2014

    thank you for talking about the clothing industry
    such a consumer world it has turned into
    and wasteful and toxic
    so very sad
    i also love used clothing, it does take about 5 washes to get the chemiclally detergents out of them though.
    but also perhaps the chemicals have been washed out as well
    i adore natural fibers too
    love what you did
    the leaves and foods are so gorgeous and the outcome wonderful!

      • October 25, 2014

        yes, we can do our best. gosh to the sofa, but i do understand!

  • October 25, 2014

    Wow, so much work but so worth the time and effort, Veronica! If you you’d like to try dyeing with walnut ink I have some from our black walnut tree I made last summer I could send you. Happy week to you.

  • October 26, 2014

    oh I wonder I wonder wonder… what an amazing post!!!! Your clothes are adorable! I donΒ΄t know what to say… BRAVO! and I invite you to the next d.c. – I am the hostess. x Stefanie

  • Catherine Llewellyn

    October 26, 2014

    absolutely fascinating – the feel of natural materials and objects – uncontrolled range of colours – patient step by step tending – your post had me completely engrossed – and as usual when i looked away, back at my room and my home and environment, i did so with fresh and more vivid eyes – xxx

      • catherine

        October 31, 2014

        absolutely! hey maybe we can do it together when you’re in the uk next time?? πŸ™‚ X

  • October 26, 2014

    Wow! thats pretty amazing- I love how soft the colors are and the process looks really fun!
    Very inspiring πŸ™‚

  • October 26, 2014

    your excitement tangible, i almost ran with you to see the results. ho, how wonderfully magical!! the patience though, you came to bring up!!! n?

  • October 27, 2014

    I love this idea – It’s good to do something instead of always buying new things. Thank you for this inspiration.

  • October 28, 2014

    What lovely etherial results to all your labors! Beautiful!

  • October 28, 2014

    what a wonderful post full of awe and inspiration!!
    last week I try to dye paper with leaves, but it’s failling. I think I used the wrong leaves or perhaps wrong paper. next time I’ll try it with fabric and silk paper.
    πŸ™‚ mano

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