I’m a little bit fed up today.
My first dripping damask experiments had gone so well – it literally took me about 90 minutes from conception to satisfaction. I had the idea, I decided on a technique, I gave it a go. It worked brilliantly.
However I wanted to do the same thing again, but this time using a much thicker (dark navy) silk cloth.
The first problem was how to get the pattern onto the fabric. I messed around with trying to replicate my previous technique ie place fabric over pattern, paint the black bits with hot wax. Unfortunately the fabric was not thin enough to do this. I don’t have a light box so I tried to use some of our existing lights and sticking the cloth to the window. Even doing quite dangerous things didn’t work. So then I thought about making a stencil – actually advised by a talented 14 year old (Gracie).
Before I started cutting I wanted to make the stencil big enough so started by trying to match two stencil pictures together. But it just didn’t work – it was like an Esher drawing – I just kept going round and round. It wasn’t a true pattern, unfortunately. The only way I could make it bigger was to mirror the design. Using a craft knife and cutting against a piece of plastic I did a lot of cutting out. Completing the stencil to my satisfaction took around two and a half hours.
Then I had to think about how I was going to get the design onto the dress. (I could have printed the fabric first, but I wanted the damask to work on the dress as a whole, with the drips coming down towards the hem, rather than seams dividing the image. So I made up the dress – leaving open the CB and shoulder seams so it could be laid flattish on my table.
However by now I had a nearly finished a classy and expensive navy silk dress. I suddenly got a crisis of confidence. No way was I going to start sloshing first wax then bleach on my lovely dress. Would it work? Would I mess up? Would it look like I had had an accident with some Domestos? I felt very afraid.
So Saturday afternoon I start doing some samples. I found that paper stencils and hot wax is not a good combo – the wax just seeps underneath. A stencil would work well with a silk screen and then I could print with the discharge paste. I also tried some simpler designs thinking maybe it is the dribbles I want rather than the damask.
However whenever I pressed out the wax, and used a hot iron on the discharge paste, the effect was, well just pasty. The silk is too thick, the paste doesn’t really penetrate the fibres and it just gives a wishy-washy effect. Something like chalk stains – it just looked really rubbish.
So its back to square one for me. The upside is
- my turquoise experiment was really nice and can become a garment
- I can certainly use this technique on fine fabrics
- i know how to do the dripping damask effect on a heavy fabric, but I need a silk screen
- i have discovered the limitations of tracing, stencils and discharge paste
- I have a nice silk plain navy dress that is still available for customisation
On the downside my final SWAP piece is not going anywhere at the moment.
So I am considering what to do with the navy dress which is just too plain and deeply coloured for me. I wouldn’t buy or wear a plain navy dress. I am considering
- machine embroidery
- using my dino-lace. I only have 1m so the idea of a lace skirt will not work, and with it being navy on navy it seems a bit of a waste
- contrasting sleeves (maybe dino-lace sleeves).
Off to do some more experiments.