Avocado skins, muslin and home spun

IMG_5412I have been eyeing off fabrics dyed with avocado skins, for ages. In fact, every time one of those beautiful muted tones comes through my feed, and I see that it’s been dyed with natural dye, I do a double take. I love the colours…….absolutely love the elegance of the muted tones. There’s something so fragile and understated about them.  And given that I’m big on the curated wardrobe theme, lately, I’ve been able to see a lot of merit in learning all about the process.

But I’m impatient! So, learning for me was You Tube….short, sharp and visual (I will do the in depth reading over the next few ………….weeks maybe?).  Anyway, without really knowing what I was doing, I had a go. I bought 6 unripe avocados, 2 meters of muslin and 2 meters of homespun. I also bought  a great big second hand deep fryer from the Salvos.

The process (my untested/slap dash version, that is)

  1. Wash the fabric
  2. Peel the avocados
  3. place the skins in the top of the deep fryer
  4. place the fabric in the bottom of the deep fryer
  5. fill the deep fryer with water and bring to the boil, then simmer for 6 hours
  6. Rinse under cold running water
  7. wash

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This was the outcome of the muslin

the muslin

this looks very pink, almost purple but this is more about the light.

The muslin draped over white-

This is closer to the real shade but there are several layers here so not entirely accurate

Once I had completed  the muslin, I froze the dye to save it for the home spun which I did a couple of days later. Now the home spun took the dye far easier than the muslin (perhaps the colour was more developed? I’ll have to read about that) so I immersed it for an hour only.

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Sewing with muslin and/or homespun

Even though this was an experiment, I wanted to make something with the fabrics because I love the colour (which I would describe in real life as dusty pink meets salmon). Now call me strange but I absolutely love muslin. I think it’s soft and lovely and elegant….not to mention cool. I understand why babies are swaddled in it because I would love to be swaddled in it myself (in fact I think I’m going to make myself some muslin sheets). Of course it has no body and is difficult to manage under the machine and you can see straight through it. But I doubled it and that worked quite well. In fact, it was putty in my hands and it sewed beautifully.

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The pattern I used was Burda Style 7521 (A) and I’ve included a picture because I think this one is OOP……….. shame because it’s an easy make / easy wear.

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Now, the pants in homespun? Different story. I don’t like homespun one little bit. But it did the job. And the pants turned out well. I used the good old NewLook 6461 which I’ve now used 4 times. You just can go wrong with that pattern.

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Overall?

I think the look borders a bit on the ‘pyjama’ because it is pink (maybe). But then again I love the pink. I’m a bit sorry I didn’t do the pants in muslin too……….or of course a beautiful linen……….but I was trying to see how economical I could be (under $20 for the whole outfit…..INCLUDING avocados that were seconds). The ‘pyjama’ effect could also be a function of the homespun which is really not satisfactory for pants. But I loved the exercise , am excited about the possibilities and can’t wait to learn all about it.

I hope you enjoyed this post…or better still,  got a kick out of seeing how good the finished product is, even when it’s made by a mere mortal (amateur).

It’s late, so sweet dreams

Jane XX

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A curated wardrobe – aka the ‘Collection’

IMG_3869This could just be the most fun I’ve ever had……….putting together what affectionately became known (in a sibling rivalry kind of way), as the Collection. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this project that  started when my daughter asked me if I would make her a skirt. She’s away in the country at uni and as usual, when the weather changed, she became pretty desperate for clothes.

I was more than happy to make her a skirt …….especially when she described what she wanted….it was so simple. So I suggested  a couple of tee shirts to go with the skirt wouldn’t be problem either.

The brief

Here’s the thing. It wasn’t really any sort of brief at all it was more like….

ME- So what would you like?
DAUGHTER- I don’t really mind Mum. Anything really. I need going out clothes and I sort of like grey and white. I don’t know Mum. You choose. You know.         ME- Can you point me in the direction of some websites? To give me an idea?DAUGHTER- Sure Mum. I’ll send you some links.

And that was it! I was licking my chops! Carte blanche……….just the way I like it…..total control!!!!  It was like she was a toddler again. I could do whatever I liked!

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I kicked off by indulging myself in all sorts of possibilities………..whether I was in the hairdresser’s or on the train or doing the grocery shopping, I was mentally putting the wardrobe together  (like, doesn’t the metal freezer door tone in beautifully with the white on the frozen peas packet…….mental note to self….a touch of something shiny and metallic to lift the grey/white combo……Seriously, my creativity was SO in overdrive. I was a bit hyper and sometimes  even had trouble getting to sleep. I’d nod off and then half dream about an  old piece of something I had stashed away  that would be perfect for the “collection”. IMG_3654
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lots of playing around, trying on and getting a sense of fit and style

Getting the fabric together

Well of course, getting the fabric was one of the best parts!!! But bear in mind I wanted this to be an economical exercise. I mean anyone can ‘put it together’ if money is no object but the challenge for me was to do it all on a budget. Mentally, I decided on a cap of $100.

When I bought the fabric I didn’t have a plan. At this stage I was looking for inspiration only, so headed to Remnant Warehouse where I was like a kid in a lolly shop. This is what I bought:IMG_3584

EBBA4FE9-3BCA-4758-BAE1-126D12BF1DEFFrom Lincraft I scored a slate grey stretch fabric for $2 per meter and from Darn Cheap Fabrics I bought the most beautiful soft stripe below.

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Pattern inspiration

I didn’t actually work according to a plan. I had a few ideas in my head and looked to tried and tested patterns to bring the concept to life.

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This could be one of the most loyal patterns in my stash. This elastic waist skirt has seen me through every weight fluctuation imaginable.

 

 

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This one actually gave me lots of inspiration. It’s an easy pattern and the finished product is stunning….didnt make it to this collection but it certainly won’t go to waste.

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The Mandy Boat Tee featured very prominently….offering inspiration, utility, fit and style.

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Another oldie but goodie…..a great basic shape for a long cardigan/jacket.

These 2 patterns combined, and mashed with the Mandy Boat tee were the basis of all the tops (in one form or another).

The finished products  aka the Collection

All up I made 2 skirts, 4 tops and 2 jackets. I bought 2 scarves. (the second skirt didn’t make it to the shoot). This is the Collection.

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And that’s the Collection! I hope you enjoyed reading about it because I loved doing it and I can’t wait to do the next one! Have a good week.

Jane xx

A felted jacket…….

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Here’s the thing………I don’t think I actually used felted fabric. I used wool that wasn’t felted. But when I cut it out, it didn’t fray at all so I decided to leave the edges raw. I simply finished them with a twin needle top stitch.

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And it seems fine. Time will tell of course but I actually think a bit of fraying would be a good look anyway.

So this would have to be one of the quickest easiest jackets I have ever made. Top stitching included, it took no more than a couple of hours. This is the finished product…….

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This is not a great shot of the colour which is more of an oyster or putty. I got it from Pitt Trading at Sans Souci, the first stop of a most memorable fabric crawl with 2 friends……will fill you in on the details down the track!!