Friday, April 11, 2014


So I went to the local hardware store to get a cheap enamel pot for dyeing my fabric.

Cashier: What are you making?
Me: Oh I'm dyeing.
(Awkward silence and a concerned look from cashier)
Me: Fabric!  I'm dyeing fabric!  Not dying - dyeing!
Cashier: OH!  Like tie-dye?
Me: Yes, sort of like tie dye.  But without the tie part.

I bought a bunch of lovely acid dyes from Dharma Trading that should work for both silk & feathers, since they are both protein based.  They have lots of very thorough instructions on the website, that I broke down into simpler directions because I can only read short short sentences when I am cooking.  Dyeing is a bit like cooking, a crazy chemistry experiment and an elaborate art all in one steaming hot pot.

After I did all the work of paraphrasing the instructions, I realize simple instructions are on the dye containers.  Now that I am the Captain of Redundancy, I am all prepared to dye.  Not die.  Dye.

I have a couple of projects in mind.  I want to make a silk cocktail hat in a peachy pink nude color so I got:
Peach Blush
Flamingo pink
Coral Pink
Raspberry - ok, not sure this will help at all.  It was getting toward dinner time when I ordered and Raspberries are yummy.

I have a light aqua (very similar to Tiffany Blue) straw cloche that I have blocked.  So I planned to dye some silk for a sash and maybe some flowers to go on it.  Or a feather pompom.  Or both! Dye colors:
Caribbean blue
Bright Aqua

Why so many dye colors?  Wellllllll.  Just like my college chemistry classes, I don't always get expected results from cooking or dyeing.  Plus I haven't actually dyed anything in... wow, it occurs to me I haven't dyed anything since college either.  I will pause for a brief moment of distress on how old I am getting.

Anyhow, Dharma had great prices on dyes, so I got a lot.  I also got a great deal on some silk that a friend brought back for me from India.  I have silk Habotai, Crepe de Chine, Silk Velvet and a pile of feathers to work on.  I even have some lovely Tussar silk, but I may save that for a special project.  Since I like making my own silk flowers, I can color coordinate the hat with the flowers, or mix dyes for various effects.

So, dyeing is added to my to-do list, along with making hats and costumes for the San Jose Renaissance Faire in August.  I have a lot to do before then, and a busy not-quite-two-year-old, so hopefully I am not being too ambitious.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Workshop Retrospective: Advanced Millinery Feather Ornaments with Lynn McMasters

Vintage hat replicas by Lynn McMasters
This was an excellent class, and while I think anyone with a little sewing know-how would be able to participate, the projects were definitely complex and challenging.  Lynn has so much knowledge and advice, and really shared her expertise in a variety of topics.  I learned a tremendous amount and I appreciate being challenged in a class to learn something new.  I didn’t get a ‘perfect’ result on the class projects, but definitely learned the techniques well enough to practice on my own and improve.

We did not have time for all of the projects, but Lynn did walk through several more projects to try at home.  As with all of the millinery classes I have taken, I wished it was longer.  The time allowed was about right for the 4 projects we did, but it would have been nice to finish the other two as well.  We also did not have time to add the feathers to a hat or fascinator, but Lynn did discuss how to do that.

Lynn McMasters has patterns for sale, articles and class info online: //

Extra bonus: the shop at Lacis is wonderful!  They have a massive selection of books and historic patterns, some hat making supplies, flower making tools and stamens, fabrics, and obscure notions for all sorts of textile artists.  I always spend too much, but I have found some wonderful supplies and tools there.

In the works:
Folie Jolie is planning to make an appearance at the San Jose Renaissance Faire in August.  Keep an eye on my facebook page for more details.