The Modern Natural Dyer Work-Along: Pathways to the Fishbone Tank

Happy summer everyone!

As you may know, Kristine and Adrienne recently visited New Hampshire and are currently exploring the beautiful country of Iceland, experiencing the deep-rooted wool culture there, as well as the gorgeous natural landscape. You can follow along on Instagram!

Meanwhile at Verb we are continuing on with The Modern Natural Dyer Work-Along, and June brings us to the first indigo project of the year! 

Indigo dyeing is one of those processes that gets your attention. As you remove your piece from the indigo vat, a shimmering transformation takes place, from bright green to blue. This transformation grabs ahold of people and never lets go. There are natural dyers around the world that have devoted their entire life to working with indigo. Whole books have been written on the color blue and its history. It is an endeavor that easily encompasses a lifetime, as there are endless nuances, techniques, recipes, styles, and applications of indigo dyeing.

In The Modern Natural Dyer, Kristine has presented several projects to introduce you to indigo dyeing. The Blue Skies Tote and Indigo Wedge Cardigan teach you how to indigo dye on cellulose fibers and protein fibers, respectively. Further projects explore overdyeing with indigo, after dyeing with other natural dyes, as well as a variety of surface design techniques that work very well with indigo. June's project, the Fishbone Dress, is one of these - it explores indigo dyeing on a linen tunic that has been stitched to create a resist pattern.

You can use our sewing pattern, The Tendril Dress, to make your linen tunic for the Fishbone Dress. (If you have purchased a Phase 2 Kit, you have a copy of the pattern and enough linen to sew one for yourself!) We love the Tendril pattern - it's a simple dress cut on the bias which makes it easy to sew and wear. After sewing, follow Kristine's directions to stitch and gather the fabric in your dress. Once you learn the motions of this variation on a whipstitch, your gathering will go quickly. Then it's on to the best part - creating your indigo vat and dyeing your dress! 

For the Work-Along, Lis and I will both be working on shortened versions of the Tendril Dress - we're calling them Tendril Tanks. We're each following a different pathway with our project and are excited to see the similarities and differences. I will be following the procedure laid out in the The Modern Natural Dyer: first I will sew my Tendril Tank, then I will stitch, gather, and indigo dye it. Lis will reverse this process: she will stitch, gather, and indigo dye her fabric, then lay out her pattern and sew her tunic.

Lis has been practicing her stitch techniques all week and has settled on a unique grid pattern covering the middle of her fabric, which is a medium-weight white linen. Her stitching lines follow the weft and warp of the fabric, which means when she cuts out her pattern on the bias, these lines will be on the diagonal.

I am sewing my Tendril Tank out of our white, light-weight organic cotton chambray, grown in the Capay Valley (where the sheep that grow wool for our yarn Horizon live) by Sally Fox. I am so excited to be working with this fabric for the first time and I can't wait to wear my top with my Horizon sweaters. I will be using the same stitch pattern as in the book - but I will make sure to end my stitching early enough to leave a solid band of blue around the bottom of my tank.

We have many resources for you this week!

Sewing classes & tips:

+ To modify your Tendril Dress into a tank, Tasa recommends shortening the pattern by measuring 12" up (or more or less as you prefer) from the hemline, then drawing your new hem in the same curve as the original.
+ Our new class, The Tendril Tank, is full - but email us to be put on the notification list for the next time we offer it!

Indigo dyeing classes & tips:

+ Kristine is teaching Indigo + Shibori I at Verb on June 19th! There are a few spots left - grab one while it's available. Students will learn a variety of bound and stitch resist patterns and spend the afternoon dipping their pieces into the indigo vat.
+ We're excited to announce that today Creativebug is releasing a brand new video, Natural Indigo Dyeing. In it, Kristine teaches you how to create an indigo vat and several resist design techniques. This is great if you aren't local - or if you want to be able to refer back to her techniques at a later date.
+ Want to try indigo dyeing on your own? Pick up all the supplies you need from the shop or order them online.
+ Make sure to review all steps in the indigo dyeing process. Remember, you don't need to mordant - but you definitely want to scour! In The Modern Natural Dyer, see pages 131-137 for information on making and dyeing with your indigo vat, including tips on recalibration and avoiding crocking. The Fishbone Dress project starts on page 177.

We'll be back again next week with the results of our indigo dyeing. In the meantime, we'd love to see your progress! Use the hashtag #themodernnaturaldyerworkalong so we can follow your work!

 -- Sarah