As mentioned in a previous post, when I was doing the Mordant Printing Workshop with Julie Ryder at Fibres West 2023 I found the front and the back of a top. With permission from Julie, I painted it with mordant and dyed it with marigold. I’ve never done mordant printing before and I have to say that I’m a convert.
I have no memory of cutting out this top, or what pattern it might be, and I wonder if it came already cut out in the bundle of linen that I was using as, when I made it up, it was pretty tight. I had already stitched into bits of it and wasn’t going to waste that, so I unpicked the side seams and set about mordant printing two strips of fabric, plus an extra piece, just in case. It all looks a bit crude, but that’s how the original top is, so I wasn’t too worried.
However, when I held the strips next to the top they were far too bright. We used fresh marigold at Fibres West, and for these I used some that I had bought and I was surprised at the difference.
Luckily I had some spare dye in the pot so I put in the top and left it overnight.
The difference in colour now is almost undetectable. When I was discussing my plans with Sarah, she suggested I paint stripes down the side pieces, but of course my paintbrush went with chevrons. The added strips are quite wide, giving me a very comfortable top.
I did try to match the mordants, with the dark ones (mostly ferrous) on the dark dot side and light ones (mostly alum) on the light dot side. They turned out looking very similar to each other, so that plan was a fail, but I’m ok with that.
The top has a high low hem and grown on sleeves. Nothing else remarkable about it. I could probably have drafted it myself. Maybe I did!
I thought I’d like it best with white trousers, but I love it with my orange Stokx Square Pants.
I put it on to take these photos, and, as the day was rather glorious, I kept it on. It’s so comfortable to wear.
I played around with some hand stitching: think French knots, chain stitch and other random stitches. I used thread that I dyed as well as scraps of thread I retrieved from the various dye pots in class.
A seated photo shows that the neck sits up above my shoulders. I don’t think I can do much about it. The neck is quite wide and I had to use bias binding as I didn’t have facings, which may have made it too stiff. I’m not sure it will bother me hugely day to day, but if it does I might thread some elastic through to pull it in tighter to my shoulders.
I really like this top. I like that it has some memories attached to it already, and, being linen, it will be really comfortable to wear in summer.
It was really good to revisit the instructions for mordant printing and I can’t wait to do more, although I think I need something a bit more sophisticated than paint brush splodges!
Finally, a photo of Miss G, who is temporarily residing in the next street. I have to say that I love having them so close, although my floor is frequently arranged as below!