Answering a few questions about my latest piece
What pattern is it?
It's a modified Simplicity pattern Unfortunately, this exact pattern isn't available anymore. But there are other patterns that are very similar. I made bodice C and drafted new sleeves for it. I wanted round sleeves for the skulls.
The bodice is fully lined and boned, with inserted metal grommets. The instructions pretty much tell you what to do.
I used long zip-ties from the hardware store for boning.
Just clip the ends of and file them into rounds with a nail file. Flexible and strong!
How did you do the bleaching?
I used flour paste as a resist and bleach to discharge the fabric.
I can tell you how I did it, but I do not recommend trying these methods unless you are familiar with the chemicals you are using and the potential hazards. This stuff is TOXIC. It will KILL YOU. Like, really for real kill you if you do something wrong.
- Fabric that is already dyed, must be a natural celulose (plant-based) fibre.
- NO polyester, NO nylon, NO silk, NO wool
- YES cottons, YES linens, YES rayons
- Regular laundry bleach
- Safety gear (I wear goggles, a half-mask respirator with acid-gas filters, gloves and a chemical-proof apron) Bleach is serious stuff. Take it seriously.
- a ventilated space to bleach (outside)
- A plastic cup to hold the bleach and NYLON or other synthetic brushes. Bleach dissolves protein. Any hair-based brushes will dissintegrate.
- If you're serious about bleaching, you need to pick up a compound called Sodium Metabisulfite. It's a bleach neutralizer and it makes bleach... stop bleaching.
- A cup of flour
- A pot of about a cup of water on the stove, medium heat
- a whisk, possibly a blender
Start the process by preparing your flour paste. This part is harmless and is more about cooking.
Put a pot of about a 1 cup - 1.5 cups of water on medium heat. Wait for it to warm up to just below boiling. Don't let it boil, but don't do it cold.
Get your cup of flour and sprinkle it in a bit at a time, whisking really quickly. Destroy any lumps before they happen! You want it to be as smooth as possible.
You want it to be a gooey paste. Not too thick, not too runny. It's impossible to describe, but you easily get an idea of what you're looking for after a few batches.
Pour the whisked flour mixture into a bowl. If it's really lumpy, put it in the blender.
Your fabric should be prewashed, and if you're obsessive like me, pressed. You can do whatever you want on uncut meterage, or if you have a specific design or placement in mind, you can pre-cut your pattern pieces and only paste onto the cut fabric.
Use whatever you like, brushes, fingers, and whatnot to apply the flour paste. I like to use a large syringe or turkey baster to apply the flour paste.
Keep in mind, you are applying a resist to the fabric. You are working in a negative. Anything that the flour paste covers WON'T be bleached. It will stay dark.
This person has spread flour paste over the entire piece of fabric, and drawn a positive into it. The positive will be bleached.
When the flour paste dries, you can do interesting things like bending the hardened fabric to create a crackle, marble effect.
Wait for your paste to dry. This will take about 24 hours. Sometimes longer if there's a lot of water, or it's cold.
Prepare your bleaching space outside. DO IT OUTSIDE. Put on your safety gear and clear the table or area you're working on. Lay your fabric out and then go mix up your bleach neutralizer for after. Finally, pour your bleach, grab your brushes and get started.
Bleach, unlike painting or airbrushing is a time-based effect. that is, what looks like soft gradients on fabric is timing, not layers of application. I've tried using diluted bleach, but I find that I have enough time with pure bleach, you just have to plan what starts bleaching first.
Whatever you bleach first will be the brightest.
Whatever you bleach last will be the darkest.
If you want, you can fill a spray bottle with sodium metabisulfite water and spot-neutralize for areas that are burning too fast. This also helps if you've dripped bleach onto an area from your brush.
Bleaching can take between several minutes and several hours. More if it's cold out. It depends on your fabric, the strength of the bleach, and how burned you want your image to be. If it's not taking very well, you can leave it bleaching overnight in a safe spot.
When you're done, submerge your fabric in the neutralizer. Let it soak, then start rinsing it with water. Basically, until it doesn't smell liek bleach anymore.
Peel as much flour paste as you can off of the fabric BEFORE you put it in the washing machine. Flour paste will clog your machine and sink. Throw it in the garbage.
Wash the fabric with detergent and rinse, possibly anotehr rinse cycle if it needs it. Throw it in the dryer.
Inspect your handiwork!