Sunday, 7 May 2017

Dressing Ombre

Soooo, admittedly a few weeks late, today I would like to share with you this years Easter presents for the nieces.

As you probably are aware from previous posts, many years ago the nieces requested that I didn't buy them easter eggs as the got loads and 'could never possibly eat them all Auntie Holly', and asked that I buy them pyjamas instead.  This was before I realised my chocolate intolerance and offered to help them out with the eating, but they declined that offer and asked again for some pyjamas, and a tradition was born.  This was before I could sew, so for the first few years they were bought, but for the last couple of years I have made them something (posts here here and here).

This year I decided to deviate slightly - but still in the pyjama circle of influence - and make them some summer dressing gowns.

I had this idea months ago, but because I have been so busy, I left it all to the last minute - something I am trying not to do so much from now on and part of that plan is to stop being so busy.  We shall see how well this works out.

Anyway, as I left it to the last minute, I didn't have the time (or pennies) to order some fabric.  I had some in my stash that would be suitable for the eldest niece (who is 12 today - depressing!  I feel so old, so I've just text my sister to check how old she is feeling, Ha!  Happy Birthday my most fabulous Georgia!), but I didn't have any for the youngest niece.  

BUT I had a cunning plan.  I had just retired my fave Laura Ashley bedding from use as it had developed a hole in one corner, which I couldn't be bothered to fix.  The bedding is fairly old, but still felt so luxurious - the benefits of having a bit of money when I was younger and lived at home and was able to buy some good quality stuff - I am still fussy about my bedding now, and will happily pay for some luxurious duvet covers and pillows - all white of course.  

Anyway, I thought that between the front and back of the duvet cover I should have enough to make two dressing gowns.  I had hoped to maybe use the pillow cases as well for the sleeves, but they just weren't wide enough. So they have been put to one side awaiting another cunning plan - more on that if I ever get to it.  Anyway, I did have just enough fabric from the duvet cover, but a bit of creative cutting was required.  The duvet had some embroidery on it which I would have liked to make a feature of, but it didn't quite work out that way, so the embroidery is just on the belt, which was probably a good idea really as I didn't know how well those bits would take to the dye, as the plan was then to make an attempt at ombre dyeing the dressing gowns in the girls' favourite colours - pink and purple.  
Anyway, construction was pretty straight forward.  I used the same pattern as I did for the dressing gown I made for my mum a while back - this time making 2 smalls.  It really is a simple process.  My actual paper pattern is getting a bit battered now, so I think I might replace it with a non-free pattern for future.  I'm thinking Gather Kits Buchanan.  Does anyone have any thoughts on this.

Anyway, easy bit over, then it was time to start the dyeing process, which of course seemed like a good idea at the time I thought of it, even the ombre seemed like a good idea - until I managed to dye my bathroom and myself pink and purple.  

I decided to start with the pink, and I knew that I would be using the bathroom for ease of cleaning up.  I had considered using the airer we keep at the back of the living room, as a good means of moving the dressing gown down a bit every few minutes - I could just move it down a rung on the airer, but the airer wouldn't quite fit in the bathroom and I didn't really want dye anywhere near my living room carpet - we rent and I didn't want to have to explain that one to the landlord, who is otherwise lovely, but I wouldn't like to push my luck!!!

Anyway, to achieve the ombre, I knew that I would have to put only the bottom of the dressing gown in to the bucket of dye and then slowly add a little bit more.  So I hung the dressing gown on a clippy coat hanger and then every ten minutes or so moved the whole thing - dressing gown, bucket of dye, hanger, around the bathroom to get a level slightly lower than last time.  So, the dressing gown hung on my bathroom door handle, the edge of the sink, the shelves next to the sink and the shelves under the sink at various points in the dyeing process.  I was going to try and ombre the belt too, but after it fell in  to the dye on after about thirty seconds, I decided that that could just be the same colour as the bottom of the dressing gown.

Other than getting dye all up my arms and having to wipe up various spots from the (thankfully linoed) floor, this process actually went fairly smoothly.  My issue arose when it came to rinsing out the dye.  This has to be done in cold water and my hands were soooooo very cold.  I have crappy circulation as it is and always have cold hands, but this was awful.  In hindsight I should have invested in some rubber gloves, which might have eased it a little, and I will remember that if there is a next time, but as it was I could only do it in small bursts.  In between, I hung the dressing gown up on the shower screen to drip away.  My bath was a rainbow by the time I had finished.  

I then repeated the whole process with the purple.  When I had both up hanging, I had one of the shower head too, and it looked like a chinese laundry/a unicorn had been murdered in the bathroom.  I worried a little that I had dyed the bath, but luckily that was not the case.

Once I got bored of trying to rinse the dye out, I left the dressing gowns to dry in the bathroom overnight.  When I came to check them in the morning, they still weren't dry!!!  But they had stopped dripping, so I moved them to hang on the curtain pole over a radiator in the living room, but they dried a lot quicker then.

It was once they had dried that I realised I hadn't put any belt loops on the dressing gowns, but I decided to use ribbon for these, so no problem.  And they were done - just in time to take them to the girls on Easter Sunday.

Georgia liked hers, and I'm not sure about Evie, but she never really gets excited about anything, so the jury is out on that one.  I am quite proud of my achievement with this one and the step-mother has decided I have a new line for my shop, but I am not so sure.

I think I will stick to PJs next year, from purchased, already coloured, fabric, and I think I already have a plan in my head - I'm thinking Tilly's Fifi PJ set.  I want some of these for me too, so win win I think!

I'm now working on a couple of new to me little projects and I will share those with you soon hopefully.

Anyway, in the meantime . . . 

Happy Crafting!


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