Tuesday, March 13, 2007


So, I know that I said that I would post finished items on Tuesday, but.... Actually, I could post about something finished, but I'm really excited about a work in progress. Also, I put together a mini-tutorial on how I did some of the patterning for this particular piece.I had written previously that I was experimenting with discharging and over dyeing commercial fabrics. I've been using a variety of store bought fabrics and even some of my own hand-dyes and either clamping, discharging, and then over dyeing them or just clamping and over dyeing. The clamping technique is a shibori process called itajime. I thought it would be interesting to document parts of the process:For some strange reason, I feel the need to include a picture of the unaltered piece of fabric.I folded the fabric into fourths and placed circle forms on both pieces of fabric. It's important to note that I have a matching shape on the underside of the pieces of fabric. In other words, I sandwiched the fabric in between two matching shapes. I used c-clamps to hold the shapes in place. I tightened the clamps as much as possible while the fabric was dry. Then I wet the fabric and tightened a little more. This creates a good seal around the edge of the shape and aids in getting a crisp image. Almost all the shapes I clamp are made out of 1/4 inch plexiglass. I've tried thinner plexi, but the shapes eventually broke under the pressure of the clamps. Originally, I commissioned a plastics fabricator to make my shapes out of scrap plexi. Now, I'm lucky enough to have a friend who works in a shop where she has access to plexi cutting tools. So, I have an ever growing collection of plexiglass shapes.
The next step is to fill two washtubs with water. I added about 1 cup of beach to one of the washtubs and a little more than a cup of vinegar to the other tub. I put the fabric first into the bleach solution, let it sit for a while and then moved it to the vinegar bath. I went back and forth between the two baths until the shapes was as clear as I wanted it to be. I always finish in the vinegar solution, rinse out my fabric and wash it in the washing machine before I cut or sew it. It's also important to note that fabrics vary in how long they take to discharge. My experience has been that most fabrics, commercial or otherwise, can be discharged.


Sugarmama said...

Okay, as of this afternoon, running across your blog and Etsy shop for the first time, this is my new obsession. Thanks SO MUCH for putting this up!

Anonymous said...

I've only tried itajime with the traditional string and sticks method of creating pressure. How large are the c-clamps you use?