Made by me / My makes

Blouse with lace insert

The skinny jeans are on the backburner for a variety of reasons so I decided to dive into my stash and sew up this retro print rayon from Fashionista fabrics instead. The pattern is a reuse, I made it originally for my Liberty print blouse and the pattern worked well for this soft rayon too. The only modification is the eyelet border insert as I wanted the dress to look vaguely retro, a mix of something art nouveau and a 1920’s summer’s blouse.

Detail of the eyelet embroidery insert.

In the shop display the embroidered border was a little yellow, but it turned out it was just a tint caused by the sun. The actual border was stark white, which would have been too much contrast to the cream colored rayon. I knew I had to dye it, but finding a textile color in “unbleached” seemed unlikely so instead I had a flashback to my Project Runway watching days (there are a lot of those, I’ve seen every episode at least two times, as well as most non-US ones) and I recalled that some contestants used tea bags when dying fabrics.

Without any further research I brewed a strong cup of tea (using regular Ceylon tea) and let the border soak for 5 minutes. The result was great! The tea added a slight yellow/pinkish tone that looked pretty much exactly like what I’d hoped for. I rinsed the border several times afterwards to ensure that the dye was colorfast, and it was.

All the tools you need to make a new lace look vintage.

Not your usual brew. 5 minutes in the cup was all it took. I tried dipping a sample of the eyelet lace a second time to see if the color would turn out stronger, and it did, but only by a little.

Speaking of Project Runway I often watch episodes as a way to motivate myself to sew. The thing is I don’t really enjoy the actual sewing all that much, I’m more of a concept person, so I need all the help I can get with the execution. So in order to find the motivation to finish this blouse I spent an hour listening to this great interview with season 2 finalist Daniel Vosovic. It might sound weird, but I swear that this method works. I guess it’s my equivalent of the motivational tapes that some athletes uses when prepping for a competition 🙂


  • Betty
    January 14, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    (Posting again to correct my spelling and grammar!)
    I listened to that Craftsanity interview and I agree, it was a great interview. Daniel Vosovic was also interviewed on I think he was actually interviewed twice, in 2006 and in 2008. You can find the interviews by entering his name in the search box at the site.

  • luckylibbet
    January 14, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Very pretty blouse! And interesting technique to get the mojo on…

  • goodworks1
    January 14, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    “The thing is I don’t really enjoy the actual sewing all that much, I’m more of a concept person, so I need all the help I can get with the execution.”

    Thanks for putting that into words. I really struggle with this too. I do like the design challenges, so the best part (for me) about the execution is seeing if the ideas really will work.

    I’ll have to take a look at that interview; I’m still in the dark ages with trying to figure out how to listen to these sorts of things when I’m away from the computer and in the room where the sewing stuff is…

  • Johanna
    January 14, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    >>Betty: Thank you for the tip, I need the check those interviews out
    >>Lucklibbet: Thank you, you know whatever gets me thru I'll do it 🙂
    >>Goodworks: I'm so glad to hear someone else feel the same way. As for listening to podcasts, an mp3-player like ipod is really the best choice IMO. I use earplugs, but there are great mini speakers that you can plug in as well.

  • Christina
    January 14, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    The lace on that blouse is so clever. I have never tried tea-dying before but I’m glad to know that it works.

  • Cindy
    January 15, 2009 at 3:48 am

    I just found your blog and love it! Your sewing is so inspirational! I am the same about sewing…the concept and pattern is more fun then the actual sewing. Look forward to seeing what you make next!

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