View Full Version : I've posted already, need help with creativity

Red Quinoa
08-27-2010, 09:48 PM
I posted in the learning zone and the fiber art forum but thought this would be a good place to place A CHALLENGE.

I need input please!

Here is my problem. I bought a cute lime green knit dress. Within the first few hours of wearing it for the first time, I splattered BLEACH on the front while I was cleaning stuff at my kitchen sink.

I want to try to save it. But don't want a stiff fabric. How do I go about painting, beading, dying, markers??? this dress?

I don't own dyes, but was thinking this would be the best choice????

Don't want to spend much, since this isn't 'my area'. I was thinking maybe of getting just the primary colors and trying to mix whatever.

Do I use some sort of wax resist? I want a nice clean look, like it was supposed to be this way. I guess my accident is my subconcious getting me to move into a different medium??????

Here was my idea: post a picture of the dress here (which forum?) and have someone help me with some sort of 'doddle' art according to the accident splatter.

Sort of like a challenge to help give me some ideas. I love flowers! Or abstract design or geometrics...anything that might work!

Thanks creative artists for giving me some needed help with my messed up dress. I really love this new little dress.


08-28-2010, 04:13 AM
Well, one way to turn the spatter into a pattern would be to start by drawing the dress front and black. Paint the sketch and using opaque white paint, paint the spatter over the drawing of it.

Then with the same opaque white, try adding other white spatters to create a design.

A friend of mine in New Orleans did tie dyeing in cold water using tube acrylic paint. He thinned it until it was like ink, a very thin watery mix with very little paint, and used staining colors like Pthalo Blue that came up transparent in that concentration. He then tied his garments, dipped them and let them dry.

It went through the wash beautifully, looked the same as when he first did it and didn't need to "set." Because the concentration was so low, it didn't stiffen the fabric, or didn't stiffen it after it'd been folded and crumpled and thrown through the washing machine anyway. I saw this pthalo blue tie-dyed t-shirt when he was wearing it and he said it had already been through the wash. So presumably if it did become stiff, you could wash it to loosen it.

Try a piece of similar fabric and test using thinned acrylics like that to paint on it. Possibilities for black designs and patterns to counterpoint the white bleach spatters would include India ink. I am not kidding. This is from back in the day when I wore white dress shirts to work.

One of them became my painting shirt instead of a work shirt because I had a fountain pen loaded with waterproof black India ink that leaked in the pocket when I stupidly washed the pen. It went in as a white shirt and came out sort of cow patterned with clear patches of black from the leaky pen. Numerous washings later it was still absolutely strong black.

I would guess that fabric stores carry the same kind of fabric your dress is made out of. Get a piece in a light bright color like the green even if you can't match the exact color, so that you can do tests of different things on it.

If you use a cheap bristle or synthetic paint brush - I mean really cheap, those dollar bag brushes, because it'll probably be ruined even if you clean it - you might be able to paint more bleach and India ink on in patterns. Or go for an overall spatter pattern, testing out spatter textures by spattering paint with the same texture (the thinned acrylics) on newspaper till you get the arm flick gesture repeatable to create patterns and put it where you want it.

This is an interesting challenge.

If you like sew-on things, my grandmother used to get these large beaded and lacy design things from the fabric store. I remember her picking out these things you'd put on wedding dresses, butterflies and swashes and stuff like that. Check out what's on sale or on Clearance. You might be able to create a panel that goes over the spattered part in a symmetrical way of decorative stuff in white and light greens that go with the color, if it's that kind of fancy dress.

Or sew sequins around the edges of the spatters. But there we come into design. With a photo of it, then I could tell if the composition would balance by adding another spatter or two on the front in a good placement... which might solve the problem in itself. It depends on the style too, is it a fluffy old fashioned fancy looking dress that'd look good with lace and sequins and ruffly bobs on it, or would it look better with a more modern art spatter treatment?

Oh. Duh, another fabric craft thing. Ribbons and lace. You can get cheap ribbons and the kind of lace that's smooth on both sides, insertion lace, and alternate them to make a panel. Then get some satin that's the same color as the dress. make a rectangular panel with stripes of lace and maybe ruffled lace around it to set it off. Just stitch the ribbons and lace in rows down to the satin and turn the cut ends under to make it one solid piece - then place it symmetrically on the front of the dress if the spatter's up on the chest.

That'd look like it was a deliberate part of the design.

Post a photo of it front and back and I'd be happy to try some doodle designs that you could interpret in various fabric arts things. Most of my suggestions tonight are methods, not designs, but it'd be easier to see with a photo. Also the "spatter again" treatment doesn't need to be random - with a photo I could copy it off, click on the color of the bleached bit and then use Gimp to draw in more spatters or designs so that you can see what you could do on it with actual bleach as your pigment.

That would be the mechanically simplest - cheap paint brush, a good design and keep going with the bleach till it looks like you did an artwork with bleach on the fabric that's unique and original.

A good forum besides this thread (which since the thread's up you might as well satisfy my curiosity) would be the textile and fabric arts forum. That's where all the experts can tell you what to get, what those sew-on lacy things are called, how to use a wax resist and what to use for it and so on.

Wax resist you would protect some fabric with wax and then wash the rest of it in bleach so that the only green bits remaining would be the waxed part.

You have a good idea for what to do about it though - do something creative with it and have fun, turn it into wearable art. The thinned acrylics are a lot stronger than normal fabric dyes, which always come out looking faded and muted in my experience. As an old hippie I tried them many times with dismal results, then met that kid in New Orleans that got the effect I wanted with just tube acrylics thinned down like ink.

Depending on the shape of the spatters, it might be easy to turn them into white daisies on green, since you mentioned you like flowers.

Fiber Arts - that's the name of the forum. I went back up to the index menu and saw it. Whole forum of stitchery experts and fabric experts there to help you with what would work, what would be lightfast, how to do it. I just have some experiences with accidents that never washed out and saw a young man do what I tried with dyes successfully with very, very thinned acrylics. His exact description was "thin till it's like ink." IE -- strong and transparent and flows like water. Might be fun for me to try painting on silk or fabric with that directly sometime...

Red Quinoa
08-28-2010, 08:59 AM
Thank you so much Robert! You have given me a lot of great "food for thought" ideas.

First, I'll get a photo, post it and see what happens with a challenge. After reading one website about dyes, etc I'm happy to hear that they may not be my best choice. Who knew thinned acrylics are stronger than normal fabric dyes? I certainly didn't.

I did post in the Fiber Arts forum as well as one other to try get more folks involved with my delima (can't spell either!)...

Use Her Name
08-28-2010, 09:52 AM
I had a nice mid calf denim dress that I ripped on a nail on the first day I wore it. I was really angry at myself for being careless. I went to the fabric store and bought some light colored blue flowers and sewed them right on top of the tear and sprinkled a few more identical patches over the rest of the dress to make the one patch look like it was intentional. Granted, the denim and patches were sort of "country" so they went naturally together. I don't know if the same idea would work on your lime green dress. Possibly some kind of sprinkling of these embroidery patches might look good on the dress? I think the idea could work for a more formal dress, depending on style.

08-28-2010, 11:29 AM
What about fabric paint markers?

08-28-2010, 12:13 PM
Duh. I knew there was some important fabric decorating thing I'd forgotten about. Alfreda, you're right, those are designed for decorating clothes. Either those or the fabric paint markers would work to cover bleach spots with deliberate designs.

Rose Queen
08-28-2010, 03:26 PM
I've moved your post to the Wearable Art forum, where you should get some knowledgeable assistance. Good luck with your dress!

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08-28-2010, 03:39 PM
First thoughts are that bleach is an oxidiser and can not only decolour but also rot fabrics, before putting a lot of time and effort into the project you might just want to test that there is no damage. Even this may not be a total catastrophe, just a slightly more complex situation.

Don't use wax if you want the fabric to stay soft, it is hard to get it out completely.

I'd be tempted to use paints/markers rather than dyes because the effectiveness of dyes depends on using the correct type for the fabric. There is a big vogue for bold painted designs so I'm sure you will be able to convert the disaster into a striking garment.

It is always best to test any paint on an area which will not be seen (assuming there are any).

08-28-2010, 03:59 PM
Try www.craftster.org for info on a technique using a bleach pen to draw a design on fabric and lighten certain areas. Maybe you can work with the existing spots and create a design. Just type "bleach pen" into the search box. There are some great designs on jeans and t-shirts using bleach pens found in the laundry detergent aisle. I hope this helps! JudithW

08-28-2010, 07:04 PM
or ... splatter more bleach on it here and there and everywhere




Red Quinoa
08-29-2010, 07:55 AM
Thanks all for your suggestions. I think I have a great start as to the what-to-use and the tech end of things, now for the designing end of my challenge. Thanks claire.c for letting me know that wax resist would leave the fabric stiff, I didn't know that.

I'll go with 1st getting a photo of my 'mishap' so you can see where the bleach is, what the style of the dress is and I'll include other information with the picture! I sort of like the big bold idea from claire.c and Roberts idea of India ink and thin acrylic paints. Patches won't work with this dress IMO, too many spots and blobs and litter spatter shapes and different sized marks and their locations.

I do know how much phthalo blue watercolor stains from the minor accident on my T-shirt when I dropped my brush! I sound like a real clutz don't I? I'm really not...

I love the fact that so many of you are willing to help me out. The green dress was on sale and I got a real steal on it, but can't wear it outside the house right now. I'm going to create a one of a kind piece of wearable art! You will see the dress soon.


loft artist
09-26-2010, 07:03 PM
you could remove 'All' the colour and re-dye the dress , there are proprietary dye removers or use bleach then re colour 'dygon' and 'dylon' spring to mind. ---or go hippy with a tye dye :eek: :eek: :eek: