Kaboom! Circles Stars Bombs & Flowers shirt is finished!

Just ask me how goddamned pleased I am with myself! Go on, ask me!

I’m pretty goddamned pleased, thanks for asking.

This shirt turned out pretty great and you can tell how I feel by that cat-who-swallowed-the-canary grin on my face. (Or maybe that’s just the look I get when I’m waiting for the camera’s self-timer to go off. Must get a remote shutter release.)

Ta-DA! The completed Circles, Stars, Bombs and Flowers shirt.

Ta-DA! The completed Circles, Stars, Bombs and Flowers shirt.

As you might know from my earlier posts here and here, I made this entirely from scratch: I bought the cream coloured stretch fabric and screenprinted it with 5 layers of motifs. I cut the basic tee shape based on the outline of a favourite-fitting tee I already owned.

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I added a pin-tuck down the centre front, two short pin-tucks on either side of the front neck opening, and two long ones down the back. I drafted a couple of sleeve extensions and sewed them on with decorative zig-zag top-stitching with pink thread, leaving the raw edges exposed. I sewed them closed part-way down but left the bottom half free to swing open, giving a bit of a bell-sleeve effect. (Yes, I know I will regret that the very second I have to wash my hands in a public bathroom and my sleeves drag through the soapy puddles by the sink. But flowy sleeves always seem like such a good idea if you deliberately ignore all the practical information in your brain that tells you they are a pain in the ass.)

That last picture reminds me I’m due for some highlights…those roots are getting pretty nasty. Just booked for next week. 🙂

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I left all of the edges raw, except for the neck opening. As a lazy sewist I love working with fabric that doesn’t ravel at the edges!

I think this is a fitting tribute to my creative and poetic friend Jen who died many years ago at far too young an age, but left me with the words Circles, Stars, Bombs, and Flowers to remember her by. Here’s lookin at you, Jen Hiron!

A Bad Dye Job, but a Kick-Ass Dip-Dye Shirt

Recently I came across a post from Charity Shop Chic detailing how she took a plain white shirt and used a dip-dye process to turn it into a fabulous pink ombre shirt. I’m a big fan of anything with a colour gradient (aka ombre), and I had an oversized plain white cotton shirt that I rarely wore. The process looked easy, so off I went to G&S Dye on Dundas Street and came away with some hot pink dye powder and some soda ash.

Here’s the shirt before I started:

The white cotton shirt, before dyeing

The white cotton shirt, before dyeing

Here it is after I dipped it into the dye solution, poked it with my gloved fingers to ensure it was properly immersed, and then dripped from my fingers onto the collar, so I smeared some dye on the collar to make it look like I meant to do that, and in doing so got more drips of dye onto the part that I wanted to keep white. I’m such a “measure once, cut twice” kind of person so it’s no surprise this was quickly turning into a disaster!

The dip-dyeing disaster begins

The dip-dyeing disaster begins

I realized the ‘painted’ collar looked totally stupid so I gave the whole thing a quick dunk in the dye, hoping the initial dipping of the bottom half would result in a deeper shade on the bottom than the top…and it did. Here’s how it looked after rinsing:

Hanging to dry after rinsing

Hanging to dry after rinsing

I like it! But, there are a few problems due to my ill-considered rush job.

First, I think I put too much dye into the solution, and some of it did not dissolve properly before I put the shirt in. I had mixed it gently but it wasn’t enough to get rid of all the small blobs of undissolved powder. The result is some very dark splotches where hunks of powdered dye came in direct contact with the shirt.

Some splotches of undissolved dye

Some splotches of undissolved dye

There is also a spot or two where there’s a weird mottled look. I’m not sure what I did to make this happen, but I did notice that these spots appeared after I had set the dye by putting the whole thing in the microwave on high for 4 minutes as instructed. It seemed like the parts of the shirt that were on top and were not still completely soaked got these darkened mottles on them. Maybe you know why/how that happened?

Some unevenly dyed areas

Some unevenly dyed areas

Despite the problems, I really like this shirt! I love the intense flamingo pink colour. So will I wear it? Hells yeah! Look how cute this is! I put it with a sleeveless jersey dress from Joe Fresh and matching (matching!) heeled oxfords from Jump. It would make a great swimsuit cover up, and could be thrown on over shorts and a tank. In any case, this shirt will see a lot more wear now that it’s a crazy colour. Woo-hoo, crazy colour!

Hot damn, this dip-dyed shirt is cute!

Hot damn, this dip-dyed shirt is cute!

Dip-dyed shirt, jersey sundress from Joe Fresh, and Jump turquoise & white oxford shoes

Dip-dyed shirt, jersey sundress from Joe Fresh, and Jump turquoise & white oxford shoes

Ombre effect on the dip-dyed shirt

Ombre effect on the dip-dyed shirt

The Betty Draper Dill Pickle Shirt – Burda 7051

Just finished this cute summer top from a “Burda Young” pattern, 7051.   It’s got a retro-vibe, 60’s I guess. I used Woodgrain fabric by Joel Dewberry in ‘dill’ that I bought from Quilthome.com. Green’s not normally my colour but I chose it specifically to go with my ri-DONK-ulous Faith Hi Jericho boots made from kermit-the-frog suede leather, courtesy of the inimitable John Fluevog. Given the 60’s go-go feel of the boots, I think the top goes pretty well.

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I’m also wearing my new fave jeans. They’re Yoga Jeans by Second Denim, a montreal-based company that does all their garment manufacturing right here in Canada. Which is practically a miracle given the fact that most garment manufacturers have skeedaddled from North America over to Asia. There was an interesting article in the Toronto Star recently about garment manufacturing in Canada that’s worth a read, which includes this little factoid: “The number of Canadians making clothes declined from 94,260 in 2001 to 19,340 in 2010, according to Statistics Canada.” If my calculator skills are working, that means only 20% of the jobs in the garment manufacturing industry in 2001 remained just 8 years later. So even cooler that these super-comfortable jeans in this AMAZING coral colour (they were labelled “watermelon”) are also supporting keeping jobs in Canada. No sub-standard sweatshop exploitation here! I bought them at my favourite little clothing boutique in the Junction neighbourhood here in Toronto called Black Daffodil.

I’m sure my sister would have something to say about this outfit — she’s convinced I wear too many bright colours, and lately I hear her in the back of my head just about every time I get dressed: “you’re going to wear THAT with THAT?”. Me, I can’t get enough colour! Suddenly this year there’s colour everywhere in fashion and even in home decorating (FINALLY!–I always wanted to barf all over those photo shoots of bland, monochromatic rooms in tones of beige and cream that filled the pages of magazines for, like, the last decade at least). So what do you think? Is it possible to rock Kermit the Frog green with hot coral (or watermelon, if you prefer)?

I teetered down to my local coffee shop this morning in this outfit and felt like a million bucks (even if I was a bit out of place among all the parents with strollers in flip flops and sneakers). Ran into my neighbour there who said “great boots”, to which I replied expansively, “I know, right?”.

Burda 7051 shirt with Fluevog Faith Hi Jericho boots

“I know, right??”