I made this wrap top "f" from the Japanese pattern book Unique Clothes Any Way You Like, by Natsuno Hiraiwa, using the piece of creamy coloured knit stuff leftover from after I had made this top. This is a very very easy pattern btw, simply a flat asymmetrical half ellipse, with two armholes cut out in the middle. I edged the armholes with bias strips of the same fabric as recommended, for strength and some extra stability in the armholes, but didn't hem as this fabric doesn't fray. Also it is quite thick and substantial, and I thought a hem would have been too bulky and spoilt the smooth ripply effect of the fall of cloth.
Couldn't be easier!
Now for the dyeing bit of it....
Now the most significant part of the dyeing phase is the first few seconds, when you first immerse your fabric. That is why whenever I've read about people's dyeing experiments on the internet and they pause to take a few photos of their fabric partway dunked into the dye bath, you just know they are going to end up with a blotchy dye job... The best way to get an nice evenly distributed colour is to have your fabric thoroughly soaked through, and then dunk it in the dye bath firmly and decisively in one quick movement, then to swirl and whoosh it (technical terms there) around as thoroughly as possible for the first minute or so. This is when the majority of the dye will take. So, since I had dyed my skirt in this for the requisite thirty minutes already, I knew the dye wouldn't have much oomph left in it (another highly technical term there). But I was OK with a lighter blue outcome. For a bit of a smudgy colour (yet more techno-jargon) I decided to add a bit of coffee to the colour mix. No, not coffee-coloured dye, but some actual genuine coffee. Although my husband doesn't view this as real coffee at all, but let's not get into that debate!... I added half a jar of this instant coffee to the dye bath, and away we went.
Fully soaked fabric,
into the dye bath.
I stood holding it half dunked in like this, slowly moving it further down into the pot over a few minutes time, and trying to separate and move the folds about, both as thoroughly as I dared and as gently as I could to get the fabric reasonably evenly immersed and not to allow any folded bits to stay stuck together. Then I moved the whole shebang ('nother technical term, hehe, I'm going all out today!) over to the table where I had set up this arrangement. I took this photo later after everything was washed and cleaned up; I had other stuff to do and forgot to take a photo during, but this is just how it looked...)
After a good thirty minutes like this I rinsed it out and hung it flat as I could out on the line to air dry.
Now, obviously this dye pot with its small surface area presentation is not the ideal way to dip-dye, or this fabric has particularly good capillary qualities, because in the two areas where the fabric was bunched and folded in front of the armholes you can just see where the blue dye crept up up and up by itself separately from the brown coffee component while it was sitting half in the dye bath. You might not be able to see it very well it is quite subtle... BUT it is there.
That, my friends, is known as capillary action, and is the basis of chromatography. Little science lesson for you there... I used to work with different chromatography systems every day when I was an analytical chemist. Ancient history now, hehe.
So there it is. I'm happy, and love the smudgy subtle colour I got here. I'm extremely pleased with the graduation of colour from dark to light, it is way better than I could have hoped for! The little bit of chromatography up in front of the armholes is slightly disappointing, but I can live with it as it is pretty unobtrusive, and is covered up with the folded collar when I'm wearing it.
(Later edit: I tossed the wrap in the washing machine, and the "chromatography" effect has disappeared! My wrap is now just as I wanted! SCORE!!)
Wrap; "f" from Unique Clothes Any Way You Like by Natsuno Hiraiwa, cream coloured knit stuff, dip-dyed in iDye Poly in Blue and coffee
Skirt; skirt "d" from Unique Clothes Any Way You Like, but Natsuno Hiraiwa, details here, and to see this skirt styled in 6 different ways go here
Boots; Andrea and Joen, from Uggies in Dunsborough