Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Fabric of the Week...

I'm not sure how to describe this fabric, which I bought from Kashi at Metro Textiles last year. It's a super lightweight corduroy, humongous black fuzzy-textured flowers on a white background. I got about two yards of it...in retrospect, I wished I'd gotten more, in retro-retrospect, I wish I hadn't ruined what I bought. Oh well. It's all about the journey, that spectacular trip full of twists and turns that not even Mapquest could accurately predict, right? Oh for heaven's sake, let's get the sentimental hogwash out of the way. Here we go: I'm not much for pre-treating fabrics because I sew a lot of jerseys which don't need to be shrunk. Well, when I got my long-nailed fingers on this fabric you see above, I thought, "I better get this pre-treated." I promptly dunked the whole shebang in a sinkful of cold water in my bathroom. Almost immediately I saw the water turning blue. I thought, "Oh, that'll come out when I rinse the fabric." I didn't realize it at the time but my massive black blooms were dying. The water had released the inky dye into the water and it was spreading all over the white portions on my fabric.

I really didn't see the damage until I hung the fabric over the curtain rod in my bathroom. The flowers were no longer no longer basically black...they were paler, and had a definitely blue pen ink colored shadow. Uh oh.

I let the fabric dry out, and bagged it up in a Barnes & Noble green bag and visited the folks at Vogue Fabrics to see what remedies they could suggest. Someone recommended dying the white parts purple. Unfortunately, that would hurt the black flowers (can't you see them wilting now?) further. Another suggested putting rhinestones or doing some free-form embroidery on the accidentally dyed parts. That didn't excite me in the least...it just felt like more work. To be honest, a good chunk of me just believes I should leave it alone, and just sew it up as is, damage and all. After all, brush-work fabric is in now what about starting a new trend with dyed-damaged fabric?

Here are some other ideas I have for this yardage:

1) Stitch it up into a curtain, and let the sun bleach it until it's grey. Really, that great orb in the sky is quite good at doing its own magic with fabric. You know how it sucks out the sheen out of shantung rather quickly. I'll let the sunrays have fun with my fabric. It'll look rather Shabby Chic in a matter of weeks.

2) Make it into a Sound of Music playsuit that looks like it's been dunked in the water. I wouldn't have to make the outfit look like it's been worn, it will already have that appearance. Now, the only danger is more H20. Whoever wears this and gets shoved into Lake Erie by mistake might not only begin to feel blue, he or she will actually begin to look like they've got hypothermia.

3) Cut It All Up and Turn It Into Hats. I'm thinking a big, squishable hat with wire in the brim. Probably by the time I cut out the massive brim, I'll be close to using up all my fabric. I'll just hide the stains with a large, matching grosgrain ribbon or some of those huge vintage black coat buttons I sometimes see in antique stores. What's leftover will make for a cute vest.

4) Drape It Over my Couch. I've got a cream-colored couch that was only that hue on the day it was recovered more than six years ago, it's getting kind of brown. It has some oil marks on it from the time it was moved into my apartment. My brothers scooted it across some street pavement without covering up the fabric touching the ground. I never did get those marks out, I think I'll just add some green grass marks and get one of my talented toddlin' nieces or nephews to add their handiwork on the sides. But the black, white and grey fabric might draw the attention away from the couch damage.

5) Stick It Back into My Fabric Collection, Never to Be Seen Again. This option is warming up on me. There are plenty of fabrics crowded into my closet that are in good shape that would be easily and handily sewn up in jackets, tops, skirts, and whatever else grooves me. I'll simply pull this black, white and grey beauty out whenever I want to revisit my New York trip, circa 2007. What do you think?

I just remembered another fabric that bled all over the place when I dumped it into water. I got this exquisite 1940s sheer floral rayon from an older woman, a friend I met through this organization. She knew that I loved to sew, so she gave it to me. I'm not sure why I thought it needed a little water love, it certainly wasn't going to shrink. Well, the dye shimmied out of the fabric in no time. It was one big mess, I can't even remember what color the water was. Red? Blue? Pink? Green? It's a big blur in my mind. I let the fabric hang out to dry, and got some opinions in the meantime. Kim Grant of onetime Silk Poppy website fame (who sometimes still resurfaces at the Sewretro Yahoo group) emailed me to tell this sometimes happens with old textiles.

After that email exchange, I just tossed the whole mess.

Somehow I'm not ready to do that with this particular find. For one thing, I bought this with hard-earn but sickly American dollars. The other fabric was a freebie, so nothing was lost, in a sense. This Metro Textiles Beauty? I want to salvage it. It's got a great story already, I just need to give it a few more chapters and great sob-worthy finale. Any ideas? What have you done with fabrics where the dyes have gone amok? Given it to Goodwill? Turned into a cover for the dog's bed? Do tell, I want hear and be comforted.

3 comments:

Ladygrande (Texas Marie) said...

I like the hat(s)idea. Should be fun and creative and a great use of the fabric; add feathers!

PhantomMinuet said...

I agree with Marie. It would make a fabulous hat. I know I'd wear it. :-) And in the scan, the fade marks look almost like part of the design.

Lindsay T said...

I dunno, sometimes it's good to just stash things like this—if the quality is good—knowing that it may be just the thing you're looking for somewhere down the road.