Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ceil Chapman Cocktail Dress, Part 2

I did not want to waste much time searching for the coutil and silk organza needed for my project.  I was already ordering horsehair braid from Vogue Fabrics, and a search for coutil turned up cotton down-proof ticking with a notation that it is an “excellent substitute for coutil.”  It does not come in black, but since the price was right, I figured I could dye it. 

I know next to nothing about dying textiles.  I have used Kool-Aid to dye some super wash merino wool and know that it drinks up dye like there is no tomorrow.  And I have used RIT on a couple of cotton dresses and tops that needed a pick me up.  While using RIT, I have discovered that I prefer liquid dye to powder.  In one instance, the green powder dye left yellow and blue spots on the fabric (yellow and blue do make green, but this was not the look I was going for!) – I suppose I did not do a good enough job dissolving the powder, but I have never had this issue with the liquid version. 

Luckily, I had a bit of dark green liquid RIT dye left over from another project.  It does not match the emerald green silk, but I figured that it would do the job.

I remembered that Dharma Trading Company sells silk at a great price.   However, their silk organza only comes in white – another fabric length to dye! 

The silk took the dye quite well, although there are a few inconsistencies – but since it is going to be used as an underlining, it will work perfectly. 

The cotton ticking is a different story, although to be fair, it is probably user error.  Because I did not want to stand over the sink and agitate the dye water for 30 minutes, I immersed the fabric and used a couple of plates to make sure the fabric stayed under the water.  The white fabric turned a lighter green than I expected and was very splotchy.

I decided the fabric was too light for the dress (even though no one will see it but me!) so I over dyed with the only two colors of RIT dye left in my cupboard: purple and navy blue.  The fabric came out quite a bit more even because I stood at the sink and kept agitating the fabric.  There must have been a leak in my rubber glove because my thumbnail is now colored a purple blue color.  Lovely, right?  Thankfully, my event is over a week away, and I am sure my nail will have returned to a normal shade by then!

In the future, textile dying is something that I would love to explore a bit more in depth. 

Next up will be a bit of work on the skirt, and I think I should get going on my corselette so I can fit my bodice muslin.

With less than two weeks to go, I believe I am on track!


  1. The last time I dyed fabric I too didn't realise I had a hole in my glove and my whole hand turned purple. I discovered and also had many suggestions on my blog, we all agreed shampoo works wonders in removing fabric dye from skin. Hope this works for you too.

  2. @sew vala I ended up ignoring my thumb for a couple of days and at this point the color is completely gone - thank goodness! But come to think of it, washing my hair is probably what did it. I will have to remember that in case of an emergency. Thanks for the tip!