This morning, I dyed about 40 swatches, putting 4″x8″ pieces of various different fabrics into six small dyebaths. Â I used the same colors of acid dye that I used to dye the wool weft, ranging from orange-red to maroon to purple. Â I dyed swatches of chiffon, organza, dupioni organza, peau de soie, shantung silk, and a crinkled silk (which totally uncrinkled in the dyebath). Â Totally unscientific; I mixed up the colors in the correct proportions, then tossed seven or eight swatches into each dyebath. Â 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. Â I’m going to take some of the unused swatches from my dye experiments and use them to experiment with leaf construction. Â 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. Â 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. Â But I don’t know of a better edge finish, particularly when dealing with a delicate, transparent fabric. Â 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!