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Made by a Fabricista: Cool Blue Ombre Linen Tunic


It's April and we're expecting snow tonight.  Have we switched hemispheres?  Nevertheless, I am sewing with visions of warm sunny days.  And for those warm sunny days to come, I imagine sitting in the shade with a light breeze flowing through the air, enjoying a light beverage with friends.  Just close your eyes and you can imagine too.  What would you be wearing?  Well,  I love a dramatic asymmetrical tunic made of the softest linen.  As luck would have it, I found just the fabric in the "As Is" section in Fabric Mart's sales category.  With just some irregular dye marks on the selvage, it was marked down, but still completely usable.  It started out as a solid color, but I did an ombre dip dye process to get this look- more on that later!

For my pattern, I chose Vogue 9305, a tunic with a shaped hemline, and two styles of pants (I didn't make the pants).   This pattern must be the biggest bang for your time possible.  The tunic went together so quickly- that little flounce on the front hem is deceptively simple- you would think that there was some very tricky construction, but it's just a short seam sewing the lower side section to the upper section, and then the rest is narrow hemming. Sometimes, fabrics are difficult to narrow hem on a curve, but this linen behaved beautifully.  It really was a joy to work with.  

I lowered the neckline by 2 inches, using a french curve to make sure that it had a nice rounded shape.  That allowed me to slip the tunic over my head and not worry about fiddling with a button closure in the back.  I also lengthened the tunic 1-1/2" for my 5'9" height, but I'm not sure that was necessary- it's very long as is!   I particularly like how the side piece falls when sitting.



So, a little about my ombre dyeing process.  I had never done this before, and was really just flying by the seat of my pants.  What I did was I sewed the garment first.  Here is what it originally looked like:


I liked it, but in the photos, it reminded me a bit of a hospital dressing gown, and I said "No, no, no,no, no!"  So, I mixed up just about a tablespoon of liquid navy dye and 1/3 cup of salt in some hot water in a 5 gallon bucket.  I sectioned the tunic into 4 sections using rubber bands.  I first wet the fabric with hot water, so that it would dye more evenly.  Then, I dipped the first section into the dye, and cut the rubber band off for it's section, swirling the section around in the dye for about 3 minutes.  Then I did the next section for about 2 minutes, and then the third section for about 1 minute.   Just to clarify- the previous sections stayed in the dye while I did the new sections, so total time for the first section would be about 6 minutes, the second section about 3 minutes.   Usually they recommend that you dye things for up to 30 minutes, but I really wanted just a very faint color here, and that's why I shortened the time.  The last section is very light- here's a close-up so that you can see it.  I did not dye the top section, but covered it with a plastic bag, so that if anything splashed up on it, it would be protected.



Then I rinsed, and washed the whole garment, hoping for the best.  So the texture you see here is of washed linen, with no pressing.  Slightly crumpled- but that's fine for me- I think it makes it look more interesting.  Here's the back and side views.


I love the result, and am so happy that I tried it!  Have you started sewing yet for warmer weather? Linen is great for warmer weather as it breathes so well and it resists odors.  It's hard to find in ready to wear clothes, and usually expensive if you do find it.  If you haven't tried sewing with linen yet, definitely give it a try!

Happy Sewing!
Ann





Comments

  1. This is so cool! The ombre effect makes this such an outstanding piece!

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    1. Thank you, Catherine! I think it was well worth the time and effort.

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  2. This is another winner! The dying tips are greatly appreciated. I love that you modified the neckline. Since Spring is on sabbatical would this work with flannel and longer sleeves?

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    1. Thanks, Pat! I think flannel with the long sleeves would be a great idea! Vogue actually shows it in a plaid gauze with long sleeves on their website.

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  3. Your dyeing turned out beautifully!

    I just ordered linen today from FM to make this view for my mom. And thanks for the tip on the length. She's only 5'3" so I knew I'd be shortening it...looks like I'll be shortening it A LOT! :-)

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    1. Thanks, Nakisha! Your Mom is going to love it. Hope you get a photo of her in it.

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  4. You did a great job of sewing then doing the ombre look!! When you say you "sectioned" 4 pieces with a rubber band after it was made I cannot quite visualize what you did. Is there any way you would show how you sectioned them off? And BTW the fact that you did not get any on the top part of the tunic is amazing. Thanks!

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    1. Sorry, I didn't take any photos of it. I wish that I would have now! But try to imagine just kind of bunching the garment up so that a rubber band would fit around the width of it. I used three rubber bands and spaced them fairly evenly. I think that the bottom section is a little longer. Then I just held everything above the rubber band above the water as I snipped the rubber band to open up the section. Once one section was done, then I lowered the next section in, then snipped the next rubber band. The rubber bands are optional- they were just my way of knowing where I was in the garment, proportionately.

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  5. You absolutely nailed what the garment needed, you did it, and it is fabulous! Being only 5' 4", I don't think I could carry off the design, but I love it on you, where it shows to perfect advantage. Great style, innovation, and success in a new technique! What could be better!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Barbara! That's what I love about sewing- there is always something new to learn!

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  6. This is so stylish, and so perfect for a lovely summer holiday! The ombre process really elevated the whole garment to a new level. I know dye is something that's a bit of a hassle and mess to go through the trouble with, but there are times when it can really add a lot of pizazz to a garment. I love that the addition of the dye didn't change the soft nature of the linen's look.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Elizabeth! I love dyeing fabrics, as I know you do too! I do know what you are talking about- I've dyed somethings that have become much crisper in hand. I've learned that a little dye goes a long way, so using less dye probably helped to avoid the crispness this time.

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