All posts tagged: dyeing

A historical account of the perils of dyeing

This story comes to you courtesy of the Grey River Argus, 13 June 1883. A lieutenant in the Russian Army, and a Count pardessus le marché, having paid marked attention to the prettiest girl in Moscow, her father, by profession a dyer, asked him if his intentions were honorable or otherwise. As the young nobleman’s reply was evasive (says an exchange), the worthy dyer naturally concluded that they were otherwise, and requested that he bestow his attentions elsewhere. The young gallant kept out of the way for some time, but at last passion got the better of prudence, and he re-commenced his flirtation with the dyer’s pretty daughter during the absence of her worthy sire. The inevitable occurred.  Papa surprised the lovers, and without much ado collared the young warrior, doused him in the first handy vat of dye, and then reasoned with him a posteriori. When the Count got home he discovered that neither cold water nor hot, neither spirits of wine nor benzine, neither soap nor silver sand, would remove his new complexion – …

Ninon’s dress: Angels Sing

I’ve been lusting after a 17th century dress in golden yellow duchess satin for months, and months.  The shades they had were so sumptuous. Want! Unfortunately, I didn’t have golden yellow duchess silk satin in my stash.  And I couldn’t find any in NZ.  And I didn’t want to spend US$60 a metre + shipping to order it in.  I thought my dream was over. And then I realised I did have 7 metres of beige duchess silk satin that I found at Spotlight a year ago for $15 a metre on the clearance table (they thought it was polyester, but I knew better), and immediately bought the whole bolt.  And when I checked out it turned out there was a 20% off sale on, so I only paid $12 a metre. Score! Anyway, I could have made a beige dress (there are plenty of lovely beige dresses in 17th century paintings), but I didn’t want a beige dress.  I wanted a golden yellow dress. So I took my fate into my hands and decided …

Tutorial: how to dye fabric shoes

Having shoes that perfectly match the dress was the ultimate touch of luxury for the fashionable Victorian (and Edwardian, and quite a few other eras!), so of course I needed a pair of Emily pink shoes to go with Emily’s pink dress. This is how you dye fabric shoes. Start with your plain, undyed dyeable fabric shoes: (yes, they really do need to be undyed, and uncoloured – shoes that are already coloured/dyed have almost certainly been treated with a surface finish which will make it very hard for them to absorb a new dye, plus the colour that they already are will affect the colour you want to achieve.) I’m using a pair of 90s bridal shoes that I paid a whopping $8 for. Try to determine if your shoes are silk, or synthetic (or, less likely, cotton or linen).  If your shoes are a natural fibre like silk, linen, or cotton, use a natural fibre dye.  If your shoes are a synthetic like polyester, you will need a synthetic dye.  Remember that satin is …