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Reverse Shibori Moneta

Nanette Webb Colette dyed fabric Fabric pattern Patterns stretchy material


I bleached my dress, on purpose.

A friend, who got married in a very small ceremony after college, invited me to a “celebration of marriage” dinner at Siam Cafe (which is so delicious, and the first time I’ve ever eaten jellyfish). After the dinner I had to meet my parents at the Phantasy in Lakewood to see my brother’s ska band, and then sit in a car for 11 hours to Charleston. Also, all this was happening the day after Christmas, so it was cold here, but Charleston would be probably 15-2o degrees warmer. I needed something extremely versatile, that looked nice but not too fancy, and also cool, and that was comfortable and could transition well from cold weather to warm. So I made the Colette Moneta knit dress!

This dress is very simple and quick to make, and I think it’s a good beginner knit project. The bodice is lined, and the skirt is gathered using elastic, which is easier than trying to gather a knit fabric with basting stitches, and also helps the waist retain its shape. The trickiest part is figuring out how to finish the armholes, but Colette Patterns has very good instructions, and incredibly helpful online resources. They have sewalongs for all of their more recent patterns, and a thorough post about finishing the armholes.

For this dress, I lowered the neckline, and finished it in the same way as the arms. It’s not super neat, but it’s good enough. I mean it’s black, so it’s not very obvious. I made this dress once before, in this heathered charcoal jersey, but I can’t really wear it in public because the top is slowly separating from the bottom. One of these days I’ll fix it. Also, I left out the pockets, because this fabric is pretty lightweight.

As you can see, I couldn’t just do a plain black knit; I decided to mess around with it a little after I had made up the dress.

This is a fabric dyeing technique similar to the tying method of Shibori, although in this case you are removing color rather than adding it. Hence the reverse. I’ve been playing around with shibori for a while, I pleated and stitched my Anna Maxi Dress and attempted to dye it.

The easiest and fastest type of shibori is called arashi shibori, in which a piece of cloth is wound around a tube and scrunched upon itself, then tied in place. The folds of the fabric and the string resist dye because of the pressure on them — similar to tie-dye. In college we wrapped fabric around a PVC pipe, but I didn’t have any of those laying around. I tried using a beer bottle, but it wasn’t tall enough so I wrapped the dress around a stick. Good enough.

When my roommate moved out she left some bleach spray cleaner behind, and not being very inclined to clean, I used it to bleach my dress instead. I did all of this in the bathtub of my old apartment right before I moved out, hoping that the bleach would do double-duty of also cleaning the bathtub. It didn’t.

I diluted the cleaner and soaked the dress in it, flipping it over occasionally. After an hour of nothing happening, I thought maybe this material wasn’t affected by bleach. But it looked lighter in some places (which you can just barely make out in this cell phone photo in a poorly lit bathroom at night). Then I smacked myself in the head, because, duh, this bleach cleaner is already diluted! So I uprighted my fabric kebob and sprayed the cleaner directly onto it. You can see the color leaching from it on the right.

When I had run out of spray, I rinsed the dress really well and hung it up in the tub to drip-dry.

Is the dress black and gold, or cream and white??

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