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Silk Noil Fiore Skirt Blog

How do you approach the unknown? Do you go in with blind enthusiasm, an "ignorance is bliss" attitude straight into the deep end, or do you approach new projects with an adventurer's spirit? Maybe you prefer the scientific approach- plenty of research and planning hoping for calculated results. Me, I'm a bit of a mad scientist. I do some research and planning, but then I just go for it. Does this result in frustration, loss of time and a box of UFO's that will never see the light of day? It sure does! Am I going to change my methods?  No, because that's how I learn. My hands always need to be part of the process; I need to fail a couple of times before I get it right. Now did I succeed at natural dyeing?  Absolutely not!! Let me tell you why.

As a DIYer at heart, I jumped when I saw Raw Undyed Silk Noil Fabric by Minerva. I thought about it long and hard and decided to take the road less traveled. Dye it myself with Natural dyes. Now I don't have the experience nor the equipment, but armed with a willingness to try and a handful of blogs, I set out to dive into the world of dyeing with no fear. I settled on onion skins since it's readily available, and since onion skins have natural tannins I thought it would be the best option to start. Natural fibers, including silk noil take natural dye well but the fabric needs to be prepared. The prep includes prewashing, fixation or a mordant bath. Now I read a couple of blogs that suggested a vinegar solution bath was all I needed since I was using onion skins and a natural fiber. Honestly, I went the vinegar route because it was in my pantry and I didn't want to have to buy anything else. Living in an apartment with limited space scared me away from purchasing a large pot big enough for 3 meters of noil! Storage bin? That I do have! So in went my dye and fabric for a 24 hour soak. I kept my expectation low, and thank goodness I did because my first attempt was a total bust! Instead of the intense ochre I was desperately after I ended up with a sad tan.

What about the mad scientist approach?  Natural dyeing, take 2…but with some tweaks.

Mistake #1: I used a vinegar fixation and only soaked the fabric for 1 hour.

Correction: I replaced the vinegar with alum and cream of tartar and soaked my noil for 24 hours.

Mistake #2: I only made 1 liter of my onion dye.

Correction: This time I made 3 liters of dye, and used paprika instead of onion skins. I was hoping the paprika would add some rust tones.

Mistake #3: I used a storage bin and didn't simmer my dye and fabric in a steal pot.

Correction: This I did not correct, due to space and budget I decided to use my storage bin again.

My results? They were not ideal. Have you ever seen that hash tag expectation vs reality? Well, that was me. I expected perfection but ended up with blotchy fabric. Now, while I was initially disappointed, I stopped the pity party and saw the beauty in it. Yes, it's blotchy, but that's what makes it look unique and more importantly it was made by me! My hands learned a lot in this process. Will I attempt dyeing again? Sure! Why not? Just not in the near future.

If interested, these are the blogs I referenced the most.

My hand dyed silk noil transformed into the Fiore by Closet Case Patterns I made view b and I absolutely love this asymmetrical wrap skirt. I'm calling this skirt my spotted flower. Fiore means flower in Italian, just in case you didn't know. The pattern comes with 3 designs and they are all different; a major win in my book! Fiore is a little fabric hungry- used almost all of my 3 meters. Granted the noil is a narrow 45 inches, but for a skirt that's still a lot. Besides that, no other complaints. She is easy to sew and adjust and the pocket is the star! Highly recommend this pattern, plus paired with my Nettie Bodysuit, I get ballerina vibes.

Thanks for reading! 

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