Fiber arts: Ice Dye technique

My experience and set up for ice dying a two yard piece of denim for making bespoke jeans.

Disclaimer: The substrate I am dyeing on was a gift from www.sewhere.com all other materials were purchased from the listed suppliers.

Too many months ago my friend Mallory gifted me some Cone Mills Stretch denim in natural to “do something fun” with. She suggested pants or a denim jacket and I knew jeans were where I would be heading. I live in jeans and tee shirts. Maybe it’s my up bringing, Grandaddy used to wear “dungarees” and denim work jackets while he taught us how to grow orange trees in the FL heat. Athletic wear on my body everyday seems like a broken promise, and I have enough mom guilt.

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Back to ice dyeing I took my sweet time figuring out the how and what, gathered many pinterest pins and finally settled on something that could read more floral and less Electric Daisy Carnival. I have shopped with Dharma Trading Co. before, picked up my indigo and some dye fabrics there and I love their website and customer service. I went with four colors: a turquoise, sage green, amber yellow, and orange. When dyeing with ice having a variety of light and dark colors as well as some contrasting colors (colors across from each other on a color wheel) can really enhance the outcome.

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My wardrobe the EasyT

I received this online class free as a pattern tester prior to launch, but my opinions are my own.

Before this class I had only drafted clothing with the old fold and trace method. Where you lay your favorite tee or lounge pants on top of your fabric and trace around (including seam allowance) and cross your fingers. For knit pants or lounge wear it turned out ok, in most cases, but was hit or miss. I now know the joy of drafting to my measurements and it has opened up a whole new confidence in wardrobe.

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EasyT in a sheer woven poly in one of my favorite colors

If I have a bad day and need a confidence boost, I can pull out this pattern and whip up a new tee or tee dress in about the same amount of time it would take me to get to the mall and park. I can stay in my pajamas at home, and at the end I have something that fits!!

When this tee drafting class launched there was some fun talk about how it’s designed to be an easy to wear garment for your every day life. Like taking out the garbage,emptying the dishwasher, or setting your instapot for today’s dinner.

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Everyday life EasyT dress, I could live in this garment.

The class is sold by SewHere.com and The Self Sewn Wardrobe’s Mallory Donahue. She and her mother Zede host a podcast Sew Here and Mallory hosts a Facebook group called the Self Sewn Wardrobe with a podcast of her live broadcasts from the group. Both have an enormous volume of garment sewing know how, and the content is very informative and entertaining.

My EasyT starts with an online class that is broken up section by section, so you can stop and start as your life dictates. Mallory covers how to measure yourself, and fill in the worksheet that helps you add up your individual drafting numbers. I confess math is not my strong suit and I had to watch this segment two times because I needed to check my work, I tend to transpose numbers. After entering my numbers and following along with the video to calculate my pattern drafting points I was all set to chart some lines. The class also includes some bonus material, and new to me techniques.

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The first EasyT in tissue weight jersey knit

I used Pellon tracing paper as that is what I had on hand, I like Swedish tracing paper because it’s a bit less slippery under my pen but almost any wide paper will do. I was able to watch and re-watch the initial drafting video multiple times since each chapter or segment is it’s own video. This was super helpful because I was interrupted more than once by “mom life” events. I used an acid green poly something I bought by the pound at The Loft and it shifted all the time. I was still able to finish it in less than an hour.

The EasyT class covers how to draft your own tee in woven with a few inches of ease so the shirt comes on and off easily and drapes nicely (depending on the type of woven you use, and Mallory covers material choice in one of the videos). I learned enough from the videos on the ease and drafting that by the end of the class I was able to make two more EasyT’s in tissue weight jersey and sweater knit, and then I thought “what about a tee dress” and BAM! an hour later I have my favorite house dress and it’s boring grey twin. I still have plans to draft one for my pre-pre-teen as she is getting harder to shop for and with this pattern I would be able to sew her a shirt for every day of the week on a good weekend.

Give it a try! I hear there are more video’s coming and the pod casts are full of useful info, and fun mother daughter banter.

My top ten sewing notions

Sewing notions can be a bit personal, some have tried and true (TNT) brands they stick by like Clover, Bohn and Dritz. Your favorite brand of notions may not be mine but I always love hearing about new tools and gadgets so feel free to share in the comments.

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I like xyz company and my well respected peer likes abc. Neither are wrong and everyone’s milage may vary. Here are some of the items that I use for almost every project:

  1. Thread snips by Gingher (any brand will do and truth be told these are a bit heavy)
  2. Metal seam gauge (I like metal because I can press very close to it without melting it)
  3. Magnetic pin holder (mine needs replacing after too many sky diving trips)
  4. Pattern weights small and LARGE (I made these book ends filled with rice but they get more use as pattern weights now that my book case is filled)
  5. Tape measure (retractable is fine but you need something flexible to circle your entire body)
  6. Clover’s erasable pen (blue, purple or pink this thing is so much better than the dressmakers pencil or pens I have found in the big box store’s notions)
  7. Glass head pins (you can press on them without melting!)
  8. Super clips or Wonder clips or whatever they are called when you can’t pin the substrate (like leather or vinyl) these are handy.
  9. Blue painter’s tape, I use it to mark what pieces are where or in bra making what is up, down, right or left. Mostly keeps me from making two of the same cups or pant legs, mostly.
  10. Seam ripper, it happens to all of us beginner to advanced. I like the blade one’s but either type will do.

What do you find useful while sewing?