3. Brush painting in strong pink, orange, yellow and green and black procion dye paste. Cured 20 hours
I poured the black dye paste into a silk paint bottle with a fine nib and drew the black outlines of pattern onto the fabric and then added the other colours with a brush. It was very random and I just had to keep going not really knowing what the outcome would be. The main problem I had was to get the black dye paste to flow evenly from the paint bottle. The nib was a little to narrow and I think un-mixed dye particles clogged it easily – a lesson for next time.
The finished design is really experimental and unpolished but I will persevere!
Here are the finished fabrics ready to be made into jackets this week – with some extra embellishment:
Actually two dyeing days as I spent the first day experimenting with dye colours and techniques on small samples of white cotton fabric that had been pre-soaked in a solution of soda ash for 3 hours.
I am very lucky to have a great assistant for a few days – Carmen is a fashion photography student who is doing 20 hours work experience with me and her work is included in the following sample images.
Lino printing – with a thickened procion dye paste
Brush painting with both liquid procion dye and paste
Combining the two techniques
Dye samples covered with clingfilm to prevent drying and left to cure over night – 18 hours
The results are interesting as I have never used dyes like this before and, although the samples are rather rough and ready, there is potential. The lino print is not as good as I hoped – some lines are indistinct as it is difficult to apply the dye paste evenly. I find using a brush is the best method as it gives me better control over the dye placement than with a roller.
So tomorrow I will jump in to this wonderful world of colour and dye 6 meters of beautiful Ottoman Rib Viscose/cotton fabric to make three colourful fabrics for jackets:
Plain colour – a strong pink mixing a little scarlet not magenta dye powder
Shibori tie dye with indigo procion dye
Brush designs in three – four colours with Ikat patterns in mind.
Pre soak the fabric – I have bought fabric that is already prepared for dyeing and will soak this in a Soda Ash solution over night
Mix 3/4 cup Soda ash with 7 Litres water in a large bucket and stir until the soda has dissolved. Then add half the fabric and leave to soak.
Wring out the fabric and then spin in the washing machine to remove excess water. The fabric must remain wet for dyeing.
2. Mix the dye base for 1.5 metres fabric:
Put on the face mask, gloves and apron
Mix together in a large plastic jug:
4 cups warm water
3/4 cup urea
1 tbsp sodium alginate
Mix well with a whisk as the mixture blends and thickens. Divided the paste base into 4 glass jars.
3. Prepare the fabric
As I am experimenting at this stage I will cut the pre-soaked fabric and unsoaked fabric into 20cm squares and lay them across the prepared table.
4. Mixing the dyes
Face mask, gloves and apron on
Add 4 teaspoon of soda ash to the paste base and mix in well
Measure out 1/2 teaspoon of dye powder into a glass jar and add 1-2 teaspoons of water and mix to a paste – it is important not to add too much water and to mix the dye very well so that it has all been dissolved. Unmixed particles of dye will cause streaking on the fabric.
Repeat this process with the other 3 dye colours.
N.b. Once the dye has been mixed with the soda ash in the dye mixture the dye will have short shelf life – maximum 4 hours so my experiment will have to be completed in that time
Use a soak and unsoaked piece of fabric for each experiment. First label the fabric with:
S – soaked
US – unsoaked
Comments in log book
a. Lino print
b. Brush strokes – wide and fine
c. Water colour – spraying extra water on the fabric to see how the paste behaves
This beautiful Ottoman entari is in the archives of the Clothworkers Centre, London and I had the chance to examine it closely and to make notes about its size and construction.
The main fabric appears to be of cotton with stripes of soft yellow motifs and darker black floral motifs woven into the fabric on a cream background, further embellished with hand embroidered chain stitch flower and leaf motifs in several shades of green, blue, soft brown and pink/red.
The lining is a deep blue fabric with a woven floral pattern
Scalloped edges are embellished with a gold coloured braiding
The sleeves are over long and shaped beautifully towards the cuff
Neck line detail – a scalloped edge and no buttons or evidence of closure
Finishing – to finish the edges of the entari I could see that the top striped fabric was hemmed at the edges – turned in together with the blue lining and hand stitched with whip stitch. The braiding was then stitched along the edges of the top fabric. I could not see any facings or interlinings.
Braiding is attached to the top striped fabric along the scalloped edge:
The V&A collection of children’s kaftans were worn by Ottoman princes who died in childhood. These luxurious kaftans were placed over the graves of the deceased children and preserved in the imperial tombs. In 1595 the nineteen younger sons of Sultan Murat III were executed on the orders of their half-brother Mehmet III on his succession. The killing of younger heirs of the sultanate evolved to prevent any struggling for succession (interesting that this is also practiced by male lions that kill the cubs when taking over a pride). This cruel practice was never repeated after 1595.
Weave and fabric construction
‘Lampas’ weave – 4:1 satin with a 1/3 twill. Silk warp and weft with a third element – a metallic silver wrapped white or yellow silk weft brocade. Loosely silver wrapped white silk yarns allows the white to show through the silver highlighting the metal – yellow yarn peeking through the sliver lends a gold hue to the resulting brocade. Fabric width: 66cm – 68.5cm
Predominantly white and red with touches of blue and yellow. Green was rarely used as there were no natural green dyes – green was produced by over dyeing yellow yarn with a blue dye. Red is used for the warp but never the weft – why?
Cintamani & Tiger stripes – Turkic, Central Asian origin.15thC
Stars & Crescents – Designs from Constantinople. 15th century
Florals: Pomegranate – single and sprays of, Ogival lattice, floral lattices, blossoms, pine cones, medallions – 16th century.
Undulating parallel lines – 17th century
Geometric design were still used in the 16th and 17th centuries
Pattern drawing for the children’s kaftan
Kaftan pattern pieces V&A clothworkers centre, London
Traditional Turkish Ottoman motifs are unique to the history of the Ottoman Empire and have been used to decorate many words of art and clothing including fabrics, tiles, ceramics, carpet and decorative arts since the 13th century reaching their zenith in the 16th century. The motif designs include stylised flower and fruits such as the carnation, hyacinth and tulip.
Embroidered textiles were an integral part of Ottoman daily life, used for home furnishings and clothing. Textiles played a role in daily activities and were used as gift-wrappings, room decorations, daily linens, and clothing. Embroidered textiles were also used for more ceremonial purposes, such as weddings, births, and circumcisions. Handmade textiles were symbols of status and illustrated not only the wealth of a woman’s family but also her skill as an embroiderer.
Red, blue, green, yellow, white, and black were the six colours used most frequently in Ottoman embroidery from the 17th to the mid-18th century.
The carnation symbolises spring, new birth, renewal and a marriage between earthly gardens and the flower filled fields of Paradise. The popularity of the carnation pattern originated during the 16th century from the ceramic workshops in Iznik. These workshops produced decorated ceramics and tiles for the Ottoman palaces and mosques. The carnation was grown in abundance in the countryside surrounding Iznik. The design was used widely on tiles, ceramic products such as plates, bowls and flagons, and also in the pattern design of fabulous clothing and home textiles.
A symbol of the strength and power of the Ottoman Empire and often found on fabric and clothing worn by the powerful.
A pattern of three circles in a triangular pattern and wavy lines, which derives from leopard and tiger pelts. This motif travelled west with the Turks from Central Asia and is one of the most common motifs. The tiger stripe design symbolises power, strength and manly courage and has been commonly used in the designs on the clothes of the Sultans. The three circles together symbolise Ottoman power and protection.