Monthly Archives: July 2017

Eco Dying Part Two

I have often wondered how the ancients got their wonderful colours, now I think I may have a small insight to some of their techniques. Some of you may have read one of my previous posts on Eco Dying, posted in May this year. I had been fascinated by India Flint’s book on Eco Dying for a while now and find her experiments intriguing.

I have been experimenting with more juicy fading flowers, this time Hemerocallis Bela Lugosi. Again just as with the iris in the other post, I was finding that as I dead headed them I was getting covered in juice that stained my fingers. So I started collecting them and steeping them in rain water.

hem bela lugosi


After a couple of weeks I had enough to try my first batch. This was boiled and then strained ready for the first mordent fabric…again I was amazed at what happened….

dye 1


Faded juicy flowers boiled in rain water.

Far from being what I thought might be reds and oranges, I got a gorgeous shade of purple. I tried plain natural cotton, calico and silk.For the silk I thought I would harp back to the sixties and do a bit of tie dying, so I tied some small stones in at intervals all over a large piece. This also went in the pot… to my surprise this came out a lovely shade of Dove Grey with a hint of purple and the stone resist worked too.

dye 2


Dye vat with fabric turned purple.


Finished dried and ironed.

dye 4

Tie dyed with stones …Silk

Lastly I did a cold bundle. This is done by wetting a piece of mordant fabric slightly, then laying the juicy fading flowers on, either in a pattern or randomly all over it. This was rolled up tightly and twisted for more effect, tied up with strong twine and hung to dry. Here you are hoping the flowers are squashed enough to yield some colour. And boy did it…..



Cold bundled cotton fabric.

With all these pieces of fabric I need to think of interesting ways of using them, still thinking of book covers but maybe some small purses or makeup bags, what do you think… ?  Sue.



Filed under Eco Colour India Flint, Eco plant Dying, Hemerocallis

Leather Jacket

For the past couple of weeks I have been working on what has probably been my biggest ever dressmaking challenge so far.

I had a call from Lucy saying they were on their travels and had found some lovely soft leather on Birmingham market and would it be good enough to make a leather ‘Stage Jacket’ !!! This was for a new persona she has created as Yumah,    this is in total contrast to the band she has, The Madeline Rust,     Of course says mum…..

So here I am two weeks later a little more grey but boy has it been worth it. From making 3 toiles for the style and the size, we came up with a short boxy style reminiscent of a matadors jacket. This was to be embellished with ready made motifs and trim.

And the colour of the leather…Yellow. WOW

whole hide

After making my pattern next came the scary bit of making that first cut…

Sampling seams and stitch length….

sample seams

First of many seams done….

first seam

Once the main pattern pieces were stitched, and before the under arm seams, we then needed to decide where the motifs needed to be placed….

We tried them first on the Toile….

just looking

Motifs all glued and stitched , lining in, ready for facing and collar…

Collar glued…final tweaking….

To say I’m pleased with the result is an understatement…It has been a challenge, brain taxing at times, but I couldn’t wish it to look better.


Thank you Yumah for keeping me ‘young’ and please keep these challenges coming.


Filed under Leather jacket