I'll get to the decision later...
I am trying to figure out how to get more text into the dresses, beyond the lovely collars. I planned to make text emblems that wound be sewn on the bias panels. In the first photo you see several techniques. I have embroidered an emblem on some crisp silk organza using both rayon and polyester thread, indigo dyed it, sewed it to some scrap Osnaberg that had had one trip to the Indigo vat. I embroidered directly on the Osnaberg with rayon thread ( un successfully...the stabilizer chosen was not enough.) I applied a water base gutta resist. Dipped the whole thing in Indigo again. There were issues with the dye take up of the rayon due to lingering starch from the stabilizer in both instances of embroidery. The silk got way too dark in relation to the cotton. The resist was interesting. My goal is to apply text without seriously affecting the flow of the bias skirt panels.
In the second photo you see 2 kinds of silk used to make emblems: a soft organza on the left and a crisp organza on the right. I was careful to embroider them with rayon backgrounds and polyester text over 2 layers of water soluble stabilizer. I embroidered directly on the cotton. I assembled, being careful to sew with cotton thread. I dipped once in the Indigo vat. Dried the test, applied gutta again, dried it again and then wet it again for a final trip to the Indigo vat. I am not entirely happy with what I learned. The crisp organza takes the dye much more intensely. The soft organza also shows a color shift and some messiness. The direct embroidery is the best by far. It, too, has some issues, though. In all of these tests I used water soluble Vilene stabilizer. It is rather hard to get all of it washed out of the stitching. The remaining starch acts as a partial resist, giving a mottled appearance to the swirl. Well, dang!
THE RELUCTANT DECISION:
I will embroider directly on the garment ( or garment piece before assembly), risking snarls and loss rates ( up to 50% loss rate!), using tear away stabilizer, risking affecting the flow of the skirt...all before dipping in the Indigo. BYW I bought another bolt of cloth so I can live with the loss rate if I have to.
A DECISION YET TO BE MADE:
Whether or not to activate the skirt with the resist. I will NOT do text with the resist...it is much too loose compared to the embroidery. But maybe squiggles and swirls. WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Every summer, for the past 7 or 8, I spend up to 2 weeks on the shore of Lake Superior. It is my self-created artist residency. Even on my more "vacationy" years, I do work there that is slow to get done when home in the Twin Cities. This year there was significantly less vacationing done. What did I do?
1. Compiled the text from the surveys and edited into final script for the embroidery.
2. recorded the indigo tests on poly thread vs. rayon thread
3. tested various kinds of twill tape and bias tape
4. finally figured out how to line things up correctly every time...I hope
5. completed the layouts for all the dress collars
6. completed the layout for one full jacket
7. re-designed the collars again
8. made a movie
9. watched lots of movies, finished 4 books.
10. drank wine
11. ran out of thread
12. panicked just a little and drank wine.
13. embroidered with sewing thread
14. stitched things down to see how they looked
15. ordered more materials of various sorts.
16. went to Hovland, Finland, Grand Marais, Grand Portage and Silver Bay. Bought pins in Grand Marais, thread in a True Value hardware store in Silver Bay.
17. came home to heat warnings
18. Today, I will put the studio back together after getting caught up on bill paying.
I am considering using indigo in the project, mostly because I love the magic of indigo! So, I will have to think hard about this over the next few weeks.
To indigo? Or not to Indigo? That is the question.
Imagine text marching across the lapels...
I picked up some 1" cotton twill tape today to experiment with. Embroidering ribbon is pretty easy...can Twill tape be far behind?
The fabric is Osnaburg, kind of an open weave mulsin. It is super soft, mighty stretchy, oatmeal in color, often used for historic costumes and for baby carriers!
Working on the hem of the dress tonight.
WEARING MY AGE
I have received a grant from the Jerome Foundation to work on a project that I have called "Wearing My Age."