This morning, I dyed about 40 swatches, putting 4″x8″ pieces of various different fabrics into six small dyebaths. I used the same colors of acid dye that I used to dye the wool weft, ranging from orange-red to maroon to purple. I dyed swatches of chiffon, organza, dupioni organza, peau de soie, shantung silk, and a crinkled silk (which totally uncrinkled in the dyebath). Totally unscientific; I mixed up the colors in the correct proportions, then tossed seven or eight swatches into each dyebath. So, of course, they all came out slightly different colors, and some were a bit mottled – exactly as I had hoped.
After that I took a two-hour nap (the aftermath of being up far too late the night before), and when I woke up, I rearranged the swatches, layering the transparent fabrics over the opaque ones until I had some color combinations I liked.
And here we are:
And a close-up, that shows some of the color variation:
I’ve also bought a bunch of rayon embroidery thread, both to zigzag the edges if I go that route and to hand-embroider the veins onto the leaves:
I bought some holographic thread for fun, but I really doubt I’m going to use it – the sparkle doesn’t go with the rest of the piece.
Next up is to determine the construction. I’m going to take some of the unused swatches from my dye experiments and use them to experiment with leaf construction. I’m contemplating two options: sew up a leaf and then turn it inside-out, so the raw edges are hidden, or sew the layers together and then overcast the edges with a machine zigzag. I’m not thrilled with either option – the first is apt to be bulky and the second involves machine-zigzagged edges, which I don’t like either. But I don’t know of a better edge finish, particularly when dealing with a delicate, transparent fabric. I could applique the leaf directly to the fabric, which would hide the raw edges, but then they wouldn’t be three-dimensional.
So I’m off to read up on couture edge finishes, and then do some experimenting!