July 12, 2013

Black bean dyed A line dresses


I put together two more copies of the super simple A line dress patterns for the girls, and we dyed them using black beans.

The fabric, construction, and seam finishing is the same as in the previous post on the A line dresses, but I did drop the hem about 10cm and bring in the side seams a little on Violet's dress. To tell you the truth I'm not completely loving how this A line pattern looks; it is very sack-like. But it is extremely fast and easy to do, which is a plus. On these I used white #30 Tire silk thread throughout, rather than the junk thread I used on the muslins.

Lately I've been thinking about dyeing of fabric. Here is the vision that I find enticing: Stock undyed bolts of a select few types of fabric, in wovens perhaps a wool, a cotton or cotton/linen, and a silk, and one roll of jersey knit in cotton. Dye fabric off these bolts as needed to make clothes. Doesn't that sound simple, but profoundly powerful and adaptable? Sure, it is nice to luxuriate in the bounty that is the modern textile industry, with zillions of combinations of fiber blends, weaves, and colors. But I think that contributes to the fabric stash build up problem; you see something interesting and buy it to have in your stash, only to neglect it later since its not exactly what you want for the project you are working on. It is also tiring to have to shop for the right combination of features in a fabric. It could be more straightforward to lay in a stock of high quality fabric you are happy with, then set the color later as part of the sewing project itself. I think I could be quite happy with a basic palette of colors on good fabric.

July 6, 2013

Tamales - from corn kernels, pig fat, & cream


I grew up in California and love mexican food. When I moved to the Boston area, I found the offerings in this cuisine sorely lacking (these days I think Anna's and Boca Grande are pretty tasty). One less common dish I especially favor is tamales.