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Hand-dyed silk top

The weekend before Easter, Andy and I popped up to Amsterdam to visit Ikumi.. and on the day we flew out I stumbled across an amazing fabric market. I told Andy to ‘go on ahead’, spent about a hour touching and cooing and stroking, and many euros (although surprisingly few for the amount and quality of fabric), and an extra check-in bag later, we made it home to Berlin.


One of my purchases was a couple of metres of hand-woven silk from Thailand. It must have been a remnant or something, because it cost only 3 euros per metre. Which is insane even for crappy polyester, let alone fairly thick, almost raw, textured silk. I contemplated just taking everything that they had, but wasn’t really sure what to do with ‘off white’ (although I did suggest to Andy that I’d found the material for my wedding dress), so I ended up with 3m x about 1.5m.

(At the stall they also had, and now I have, a bright aquamariney colour. But I’m not quite sure what to do with it yet.. let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions!)


As you can see, my ‘off white’ didn’t stay that way for long.

To be honest, the idea of dying, especially ombre dying, always seemed to me kind of ’70s, and the sort of thing really only suitable for hair.

But then I saw this, which is pretty much the most beautiful thing in the world. (Actually, their version is nicer than mine, but when I get some blue dye, and perhaps after I improve my sewing skills and work out a nice way to soften my silk, I’m totally making one like that!).

I had also just come out of a fairly successful dye of a second-hand, dirty-cream coloured silk shirt, and had realised that I’m a little bit in love with the way a bucket-dye looks on silk. The soft mottled/creased look matches the natural fibers, and of course runs well with the fact that I never intend to iron my clothes!

Anyway, I had orange dye at the time, because it was cheap, and also because I was trying to change my dusty pink linen tent dress into something like this (which, also, amazing!) using a red-orange mix.

After I made the basic shape of the top, I dip dyed it in a bucket (for a couple of seconds for the first shadow, and then for about an hour for the vibrant orange), before working out the rest of the top and its finishings.


I can’t say much about the pattern, because I just made a sort of loose sheath top based on my approximate size and then added a couple of pleats at the top so as not to make the whole thing too boxy around the boobs.

I contemplated bringing it in at the sides to accentuate my waist more, and I might still do that in the future, but for now I’m happy with it as a kind of casual and floaty style that I can wear around work without worrying too much about movement restrictions or how many burgers I eat.


My friend asked me why I did the ‘wings’ (boy talk for capped sleeves). I think his active dislike of them might just be objectively wrong… I love the concept of completely squared origami-esque caps. Nonetheless, I’m not 100% convinced that this is the fight look here? But it at least works with the material itself, which has enough structure to keep them crisp.


I quite like the external hemming of the back opening, and I think my fabric covered button and orange button loop are adorable, but it does occur to me that I eventually have to buy some proper (invisible) zips.

And yeah, I haven’t quite finished making the hem neat. Mostly because I want it blind, which means hand stitching, which means more-patience-than-I-have.

All in all, it’s far from perfect, but I’m still extremely happy with the outcome, and I enjoyed learning a bit more about sewing (and dying!) in the process.

Here are a couple of shots with it tucked in, and me looking more demure!

IMG_6700_2074x1382  IMG_6707_2074x1382

So, what do you think of my new baby?


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