Tag: shibori

22 May

Comfrey dyed silk

Amelia Hoskins / Dyes, Plant Dye / / 0 Comments

Comfrey dye bath makes an ecru cream-beige, which becomes duller and darker after dipping in iron modifier, after dyeing.

This sample experimented with shibori stitching prior to dyeing which resulted in several vey pale wavy lines of resist made by where the stitching gathered the cloth to prevent dye entering.

Result after dyeing shows Shibori stitch-resist as pale wavy lines. (Stitches are removed after full dye process.) The idea to make ‘waves’ by stitching in ‘curves’ worked, but contrasts poorly on pale colours. Large pegged sample shows dye-bath original tone at bottom right, and darker result top left, after adding iron modified. (black marks are the iron water splashed as I poured in iron solution, so take care with fabric proximity)

Preparing dye-bath with comfrey leaves

Cut up comfrey leaves and soak overnight. Also soak silk in alum mordant overnight or for some hours beforehand. Silk often dyes well without mordant when using some plants. Lighter colour at left, darker tone after longer soaking. Best to leave soaking over night to ensure good dye absorption. New pieces can be dyed in dyebath afterwards, and will be paler, but always a good starter colour for painting, or re-dyeing over.

Boil up and simmer for an hour. When just hand hot, drain comfrey out and put dye liquid in a bowl to soak the silk. (I never boil this ahimsa silk as it becomes matted in high temperatures) Agitate to distribute dye equally for first 15 mins, then leave to soak all day, redistributing in dye occasionally to ensure even dyeing.

Dyed and washed out, the ahimsa silk has an ecru beige colouring where first dyed (top left) – with additional dulled, more grey colour where half of cloth was soaked into iron modified dye bath. Out of the sunlight, the iron modified sample is quite dull and darker, to be used as one would a grey.

Sample (gallery top right) compares comfrey colour dye result with Ladies’ Bedstraw, peach. Samples (gallery bottom right) show iron modified comfrey sample in centre; between (left) Hawthorne dyed silk (left) and natural, ecru result of non-modified comfrey dyed silk in second dye bath. (right).

Note: A second dye-bath was made by reboiling liquid and leaves leaving overnight to stand. Heated next day, added fresh un-mordanted silk. Left to soak for a day and overnight 24hrs. This produced a pale but warm ecru silk.

Below: Comfrey dyed silk in centre – dull tone is result of iron modifier. Silks look duller indoors whereas they come to life in sunlight. The range of colours obtainable is fascinating.

Conclusion: Comfrey gives a very good neutral tone suitable for use with any silk painting over. Longer steep in iron (ferrous sulphate) would make it greyer, as needed. Experiment with quantities of iron added. I use either water from a rusty-nails-jar as well as purchased powder.

Images for other dye procedures with plants can be found on my Pinterest Board – Natural Plant and Earth Dyes

This piece will be silk painted over in a design, to become part of a garment in due course… updates will be posted here with link to the garment in making.
22 May

Butterflies and Pansies Silk Dress

Amelia Hoskins / Batik, Plant Dye / / 0 Comments
Butterflies and Pansies dress in part silk

Feminine pinks and frivolity in quirky patchwork and 3 silk types.

Petal bundle-dyed fine silk sleeves, and unique hand painted and embroidered front silk panel.


Back and side view dress with longer patchwork pieces: rose pink taffeta, cotton and maroon silk.
Pink Tafetta, pansy cotton and Maroon silk panels

Starting point for this dress was an Ahimsa silk painting.  Ahimsa is similar to light-weight cotton, matching the weights of cotton and poly cotton patchwork in garment.  This piece incorporates an experimental batik process, which resulted in a mottled background after waxing and dipping in a logwood dye bath,  before final painting over.  [see link to logwood dyeing]

fabric colour coordinates for painted silk panel

Suitable for parties, weddings.

SIZE: 36/38" - max 40 inch bust. Length: shoulder to front hem 36", shoulder to back hem 38".  Pink silk top is on bias stretch, so adjusts to size smaller and larger.  Available in ETSY when added.. [£175.00]  Value is assessed on only the silk batik/painting/embroidery (not full making time)

[Site reconstruction 2020: Post in progress of reorganisation to new site: Additional making images resizing  to add]

Making of Butterflies and Pansies Dress [image gallery to add]

Pink silk top - fabric co-ordinate taken from a blouse: colour is similar to the palest background in the logwood batik. Pink bodice top sewn to silk painting just under bust; simple overlap stitching. Original V-necked pink blouse was cut on the cross, so will stretch over varied bust fullness.

Front bodice - Contrasting armhole band taken from neckline of co-ordinating fabric (dress). Pinned to pink silk bound edged armhole for stitching join by hand.

Back bodice - Contrasting armhole banding cut from back and underarm of co-ordinating fabric (dress).

Decided to add sleeves, a petals bundle died silk for upper sleeve, just enough silk; adding sleeve frill from original up-cycled pale dusky pink dress. Overall effect is balanced but the banana leaves on painting need deep crimson stitch decoration.

Silk Painting 'Nigella Butterflies' made into dress centrepiece

The green butterfly came from a photograph I took, and the red butterfly came from another printed fabric design.  Pansies added came from cotton print.

Added embroidered lines on pansies give sparkly effect.  Nigella seed pod is enhanced by dark seeds inside pod (arial view) and light embroidery on the pod ends. ...The banana leaves would benefit from embroidery also.

Dressmaking process: Silk painting summer 2019 - Dress finished September 2019, but decided to add in sleeves February 2020. Slow fashion!

Shamanic Nights background image