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shadows of echoes of memories of songs
Material girl
I've had a tiny go at adding colours to bits of spare material from my dress, and I'm no longer at all sure that it's going to work. It's white damask with flowery patterns on it and I was going to colour the flowers in rainbow colours, but I think it just looks really crap, and if I do it all over the dress it will completely spoil the lovely whiteness of it. But on the other hand if I leave it white then, y'know, it's just a white dress -- nice shape but nothing terribly exciting.

I could always just do bits of it coloured, but then that'll take a lot more planning, and I'm not sure which colours work best. I've tried doing rainbow colours (red on the outside, violet on the inside -- though actually I wonder if that wouldn't work better the other way round) and other combinations of colours (red, orange and yellow -- which works quite well but I think will look a bit crap just on its own; green and yellow which doesn't work too well, and blue and purple which doesn't work as well as I thought it would).

I think part of the problem is I'm used to doing this sort of thing on cakes and on a cake it doesn't sit around accusing you for as long -- telling you how much time and money you wasted on something that looks shit -- if it doesn't come out right.

Advice welcomed on which sort of thing might look better, or whether it'd be better to just leave it white.

Photos supplied (which haven't come out very well but they're the best I can do with my crap camera).

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bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: June 1st, 2004 01:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Daft question, probably, but what are you colouring it with?
j4 From: j4 Date: June 1st, 2004 01:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fabric pens. They're like very fine-tipped felt-tips, and they don't seem bleed into the fabric (which is one of the things I was worried about).
juggzy From: juggzy Date: June 1st, 2004 01:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Janet - the colours from the pens are not intense enough. It may still work as a pastelly hint of colour thing. One of the options for more intense colour is fabric paint. I am not sure that that is right, though.

If you want a glittery flashy thing there are two options. The first is embroidery, which can give as much flash as you are prepared to have if you can find the glittery thread (which I am sure is available). The second is sequins. I am a huge fan of sequins. If you want more intense colour, then you are going to have to add fabric onto the damask - which is lovely. But I am not sure that you will be able to pick the flowers out.
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: June 1st, 2004 02:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Picking out a self-coloured design (like on this fabric) is pretty hard with fabric paints - I find they're better for free designs, preferably on a big scale. That might just be my cack-handedness.

Personally I think I'd go with embroidery - machine would be quicker but hand would be more intricate and gorgeous when finished. j4, want to bring some of the spare fabric to the oxm34t? I have fabric paint and brushes if you want to try it anyway.
j4 From: j4 Date: June 1st, 2004 02:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I didn't find it difficult picking out the pattern, it's just knowing what to do with it. Embroidery really, really, REALLY isn't an option.

Fabric paint sounds awfully messy -- and very difficult to pick out small patterns with brushes. Also a lot of faff with having to let it all dry, do only one colour at a time, wash brushes, etc. etc. ... I really did want to just use the pens if at all possible, because they're quick and simple and cheap (well, they're not that cheap to buy, but I already bought them, ages ago). :-/
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: June 1st, 2004 02:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Didn't realise you had the time constraint, so see what you mean about embroidery. Still reckon some (glittery/shiny threads) would pick out bits very nicely though. And I'm a fast stitcher. ;-)
j4 From: j4 Date: June 1st, 2004 02:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, I don't know if I want the colours to be intense or not. This is the real problem, I can think of lots of possible different things to do with it but I can't do them all so -- as usual -- I end up suspended between all the possible options feeling more and more useless as I fail to do anything.

Sequins involve too much sewing. No idea how to do embroidery (except cross-stitch) and no time to learn in the next two weeks (and I'm busy one of the two weekends between now and Glastonbury). Also no money with which to buy oceans of embroidery thread -- or sequins or oddments of fabric, for that matter -- whereas I already have the fabric pens. That's why I was going to use them. Now I'm worried it won't work at all. :-(
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: June 1st, 2004 02:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have pretty much the whole DMC range, inc. glittery threads, if you want to combine techniques. Backstitch along design lines isn't time-consuming. I wouldn't mind helping create something like this (see other comment). JLMK if you want to raid my stash. It's what it's there for, and it was bought in the USA for $ILLY PRICE$, so no crap about cost/using my stuff, pur-lease! ;-)
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: June 1st, 2004 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)


You could: use an embroidery frame - fabric pens work better on stretched, (and, ideally, ironed and sized) material; decide on two or three definite flower patterns, maybe not so heavily William Morris-y ones, and stick to them (stencils might help here)?; keep each design to two colours per design (yellow and red; green leaves and blue flowers); go for a design of small dots and stars/asterisks instead, in every colour you've got.

Alternatively, ripped little fabric squares in bright colours, or in a "colourway" of harmonising colours, stapled onto the fabric, could be fun, too: upmarket rags and tatters. But you need to do the stapling inside out, so that the shank of the staple, rather than the ends, or inside the dress and thus will lie more smoothly on your skin.
Stitching is more wearable but takes more time :-) and I don't know how much of that you have.

Sounds like a lovely dress! I'm sure you'll look great in it no matter what you choose to do in the way of leaving it alone or decorating it. Good luck!
j4 From: j4 Date: June 1st, 2004 02:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: flahrs

not so heavily William Morris-y

Ah, sorry, I didn't make it clear (and I had forgotten it doesn't really show on the photos) -- the pattern is already there, sort of embossed onto the fabric -- the flowers are differently shiny from the rest of the fabric, I can't explain it very well -- but I'm just picking them out in colours, not doing my own design.

The material was ironed but I don't have an embroidery frame. Not sure what you mean by "sized" ...

I don't really want to staple it at all, it frays so badly anyway! And I don't have much time -- it's supposed to be for Glastonbury which is the last weekend in June. :-/
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: June 1st, 2004 02:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: flahrs

Sized is like starched (well, pretty much). It's a crisp-but-not-stiffening finish that makes it easier to apply colour without leeching, among other things.
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: June 1st, 2004 02:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: flahrs

If you want to get it done, bring the dress next week. If you combine fabric pens and paint, and have a couple of hands working on it, I would imagine it's possible to get quite a lot of it done. I don't know how permanent it would be but you could always touch it up post-Glasto.
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: June 2nd, 2004 01:23 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: flahrs, aha!

Gotcha - I did twig in the night that you said 'damask', d'oh.

The thing with damask is that the weave creates the pattern and drawing over the edges places your ink over threads going in different directions, which then gives you fuzzy edges. Hence doing a totally different drawn pattern over damask can be a Gude Thyng, but picking out the woven pattern in dots rather than lines would be lighter on the eye, too.

There will be a degree of repeat to the weave: you could choose Every Third Acanthus Leaf to decorate and leave the rest plain. That will help.

You could stretch the fabric over the dining room table and weigh down the opposite edge with bricks, lacking a frame. (My mom did this for a vast skirt she was repainting in gold, silver, and black, prior to replacing all the sequins...)

"Sized" = starched and then stretched flat out while wet and allowed to dry. Like canvasses for Artworks, or scrims in the theatre. You can cheat with spray starch and a hot iron if the damask is cotton :-)

Time is short, I see that. Your friend's suggestion of sequins is a good one, too.
geekette8 From: geekette8 Date: June 1st, 2004 03:23 pm (UTC) (Link)


Well, for what my opinion is worth, I think the sample you've done looks fantastic, and would look great if scaled up to the whole dress.

I've always had a soft spot for rainbow colours and the contrast with the white is simply stunning.

I say go for it.
From: taimatsu Date: June 4th, 2004 04:18 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Wow

I agree. I think it looks good and would look nice over the whole dress. Whether or not the individual bits are PERFECT or not won't matter, because the overall effect will be attractive.
(Deleted comment)
j4 From: j4 Date: June 2nd, 2004 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Mm, the bits I was doing in green looked like they were supposed to be leaves but with all the William-Morris-ish stuff you never can tell really! The yellow was trying to stop the green just being one unshaded block of colour -- I only have one shade of green in my fabric pens.

Not sure what you mean about the embroidery frame stopping there being "underlying material" -- I'd be doing it on a board or something so that I'd only be colouring onto one layer of fabric, if that's what you mean.
k425 From: k425 Date: June 2nd, 2004 12:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I think
a) what you've done so far is really pretty;
b) you're right about the green and yellow not looking so good;
c) the third picture is really, really lovely.

If I were doing something like this, I'd only do a few flowers, so I still had lots of white but with highlights, and some of the flowers I'd do the colours the other way around, for a kind of contrast.

Take into consideration that I love rainbows but am not all that creative!
j4 From: j4 Date: June 2nd, 2004 01:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Colours the other way round from what? (Confused!)

I think you're right about only doing a few flowers, a) if I do that I'll have more time to try stuff out beforehand (because I won't be trying to leave time to do the whole dress) and b) I can avoid trying to colour over seams and darts and stuff, and c) er, I can't remember what c was going to be.

Dunno what it is about the green and yellow -- I like the colours together normally but they Just Don't Work there.
k425 From: k425 Date: June 2nd, 2004 01:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry. Some flowers working from red on the outside and some working from red on the inside, say. Sort of reverse rainbow!
julietk From: julietk Date: June 2nd, 2004 02:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I reckon you'd be better off just doing a few, rather than all of them - it'll stand out better (& as your time is limited, doing a few will be less stressful than doing loads). I also reckon that the red/orange/yellow looks better than the more-colours ones - that 3rd picture is really pretty. Looking forward to seeing it at Glasto!
lnr From: lnr Date: June 2nd, 2004 02:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm with Juliet on pretty much all of this. The rainbow is pretty cool but the red/yellow/orange is fabulous.
imc From: imc Date: June 2nd, 2004 03:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Personally I like the red and yellow swirl. So do others, it seems.
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