Gyo top and City Gym Shorts

I have been on an unexpected extended stay at our holiday place and found myself with not enough activities. Luckily I had a lovely white sheet donated by my friend Suzanne, and copies of the Merchant and Mills Gyo top and the Purl Soho City Gym shorts, so I knew exactly what I needed to do – make a holiday set!

After my last debacle with the Gyo top I had traced out a size 12, which is two sizes bigger, and had somehow brought the tracing with me.

I cut out the pieces from the sheet and decided to dye them. We are currently building a cabin and I discovered that some red ink sundew (Drosera erythrorhiza Lindl.) plants were to be sacrificed, so Mark and I dug them up and saved the bulbs. These are the prettiest little plants and it broke my heart to dig them up, although they are not endangered in any way. They are actually carnivorous plants and trap and eat small insects, so they are good to have around. We have both the red and the green varieties and they often appear in carpets as shown below.

The bulbs are extremely difficult to get and not every plant gives up its bulb, but when you do find them the joy never abates. They are like little orange jewels. I threw the tubers in the pot too, but not sure they give any colour.

They are called red ink sundews as, yes, they used to make red ink from them!

The liquor they produce is very red and rather wonderful. I decided to have a go at some Shibori dyeing and it just so happens that Sarah from Workspace Fads put up a video on Instagram of her doing some Shibori dyeing and I thought it was a sign!

I did my wrapping and creasing and dunked the lot in a jar of red ink liquid and waited for the magic to happen.

I could see that the fabric went a pink/purple colour in the jar and wondered if it was the mordant – I didn’t have any soy beans with me so had to use aluminium sulphate with a soda ash bath, so this could have had an impact on the final colour.

My fabric after an overnight stay in the liquid – how glorious is that colour?

The unwrapping is always so exciting.

And here it all is hanging on the line to dry

At this point I have a bit of a confession. When I unwrapped the rolls the bottom of the fabric was beautifully patterned but the top was almost white! The sheets had a very high thread count and I think the weave was too dense for the dye to penetrate, so I dunked the unwrapped pieces back in the dye pot for a few hours. I didn’t Shibori dye the facings, I just screwed them up and tossed them in the pot and this worked much better.

Sewing up the pieces with no instructions to hand, but it’s an easy pattern to put together luckily. I didn’t have anything like matching thread so used pale grey and it blended in beautifully. Because of the high thread count I couldn’t get pins in easily and I had to change the needle twice!

Having made the top I turned my attention to the shorts. I decided to make them first and then dye them, so got busy with the sheet again.

I made them up and tossed them in a pot and left it.

I did swish them around, but I should have pulled them out and refolded them as I had a purple side and a pink side! I did try redyeing them but I can still see it, although it’s not hugely obvious. The front…

…and the back

I had dyed an extra piece of fabric so I turned it into a pocket and sewed it on at the back. It’s exactly the right size for my phone. I used the shape of the scrap at the top and quite liked the effect.

We had so much rain and the weather was pretty freezing, but the minute the sun came out I got into the outfit to take some photos.


Having made the first Gyo too small, I think this one is too big! I have already extended the darts by 1cm and think I’ll have to do more. I also feel as though the straps sit a tiny bit too wide on the shoulders. I think I’ll have to make a 10 next time but perhaps use 1cm seam allowance instead of 1.5cm.

A couple of gratuitous photos, including the usual shielding eyes from the sun!

This will be an outfit I will wear a lot over summer. It’s extremely cool and I love the colours.


6 thoughts on “Gyo top and City Gym Shorts

  1. What a perfect summer set! Shibori produces such great prints — I too love the unfolding excitement! — and this native plant delivered a splendid colour. The City Gym shorts are definitely on my list for next summer.

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