Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Moving along

Here are some photo updates of where I am in my process of my final project.  I still have a ways to go, but I'm moving along:)

This is the fabric soaking in a soda ash solution, which is the chemical that helps the color absorb into the fabrics.  
This is my set up, lots of dye, some sponges, spray bottles, and extra towels and rags.  I must say I was lucky to score a good amount of wall space that I could pin up the fabric and plastic to.

Ready to dye!  That is a 12ft x 9ft plastic drop cloth on the wall behind the fabric, to give you an idea of how big the piece of fabric is.  They are about 10ft long and 3ft wide at the top and 9ft wide at the bottom.

 And this is what it looks like after its been dyed.  It doesn't look nearly as dark or saturated when its rinsed and dried, but it still looks just as vibrant!

After the dye soaked fabric sat overnight with an electric blanket on it, it was ready to rinse.  This is the Fibers studio at OCAC where they have ample sink space, it really did take 3 sinks for me to rinse these babies!

And this is the final product!  Don't forget, there are 3 other pieces with the same color sequence that were done as well, its only possible to take a photo of one at a time:)  They have all been sewn together to create a very large skirt like structure.

I have also been documenting my entire process with video, but will have to learn a bit more about video editing until I debut it here.  But I should be done with it soon!

Right now I am working on making pillows to go inside my super stellar fabric fort/canopy, and am having a lot of fun playing with different quilting techniques to make them.  It's a great way to be able to play with all these different techniques I have been dying to try all year.
Photos of the pillows are coming soon!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Brown Victory!

Victory!  I have created a successful brown, finally.  I did actually end up using pre-mixed browns to get it right.  But I am not giving up on mixing my own brown.  I will try again in the future, but in the interest of time for my project I will be sticking with this method.
they look a bit red on the computer but I promise they are quite beautiful browns in person:)

Also here are some swatches of the color layout for the entire piece of fabric that will be making the canopy.  The one in the center is what it will look like.

Tomorrow I have to start cutting the fabric, lots and lots of fabric:)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fabric Forts and Canopy's

Beautiful Fabric Fort by Justina Blakeney, check out Design Sponge for the super easy "How To"
I love Fabric Forts!  Who hasn't tried to build one at some point in their life?
The end of my first year of grad school is quickly approaching.  Late nights combine with early mornings, group meals, and lots of stress.  The constant hum of machinery, sewing, hammering, cutting, chatter and music, the studio is bustling with energy with our end of the year show May 6th-8th.
Everyone is busy working on their projects for the show.  This semester I decided to do something I have never done before...create an installation, on purpose:)  I am building a Fabric Canopy/Fort!
It's going to be structured like a typical bed canopy, with the feel of a child like fort.  I am really excited about this project and have been hard at work.
The photo above is one of my inspiration photos.  I love the eclectic look and the cozy feel of it, although what I have in mind will be quite different.  Mine will be made to resemble a fairy-tale forest, one of my favorite places!  I will be dying the fabric in colors to simulate my fairy-tale forest, a gorgeous blue at the top to resemble the sky cascading into rich greens of foliage, and finally transitioning into a deep earth brown.  The interior will be decorated with lots of pillows, some over sized leaf shapes, regular squares with floral prints, and some soft furry ones to create a comfortable and cozy feel.  I am also going to add crocheted vines and flowers cascading from the top center down to the floor. 

Soooooo...Time to get to work!  So far I have been doing lots of dye tests to figure out which fabric I want to use, how to get the colors I want, and what techniques to use.  So far some have been successful and others...not so much.

In the photo above the 2 on the left were tests in technique and color.  The blues and greens I love but the brown came out waaaay too red.  So that led me to do some smaller tests to see if I could get a better brown.
Not so much here either:(  After a bit of internet research I learned that brown is apparently a very hard color to mix, and that even the browns that are sold premixed don't always look so great.  But luckily there were a few good tips about how to get a good brown that I will hopefully be able to work on tomorrow. 
To try and distract me from getting too discouraged about my unsuccessful dying experiments, I decided to work on the measurements for the canopy and made a small model out of scrap fabric and wire.  I only cut out 2 of the 4 fabric panels for the model, but it was good enough for me to see the drape and get a good idea of how it will look.  I am happy to see that my pattern and measurements worked out nicely.  Now all I have to do is make the actual size pattern and start cutting the fabric pieces (exciting).  My model is made at about 1/3 the size.  The finished canopy will be about 8ft wide at the floor and 7ft off the ground.
This is the view from the inside, the clothespins are merely acting as weights:)

This is the view from the back/outside
How do you feel about fabric forts?  Do you have a memory of a favorite fabric fort that you built as a kid?  Feel free to share in the comments below:)  
Till next time, wish me luck with the brown dye!