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Old 01-22-2012, 05:20 PM
roslin roslin is offline
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project: painting on silk dress, seeking advice

Hello all,
I am here to ask some much needed advice from the silk painters out there.
I have decided to embark on a project that seems both within my reach and way out of my league
I am having a dress tailor made and I would like to decorate it with a (theoretically) very simple bit of painting.
I do not have the number of posts required for images or urls yet, sorry I can't put an image to explain what I mean better.

I have taken inspiration from a gown seen on etsy, a replica of the wedding gown of the Corpse Bride by Tim Burton: white, with blue hem, waistline and neckline. That gown I saw was embroidered with pearls before it was painted.
Instead I would like to reserve, with gutta or perhaps wax, a fine lace-like pattern along the edges and waistline, then wash over with blue. I would also paint the same lace-like pattern, in blue, on the white fabric along the edges of my painted strip, or at least make fine lines and dots a bit down the white, so that the blue strip does not end dramatically. So basically I would have a blue strip with white bits that becomes a white part with a bit of blue decoration. I don't know if that explanation is very clear.

However, I am not confident with silk painting, it's been a long time since the few school projects I did, and I am faced with a bit of a dilemma about the "how".

I know that usually silk is stretched out and painted before anything gets done with it, but in this case it seems very awkward to decorate the fabric first and cut afterwards, plus I would not know what to do for the hem. Can I paint the actual dress instead of the fabric? I think I would use alcohol to mark off where I want the blue wash to stop, do you reckon that would be the way to go? Also, I do not remember very well but I think that silk paint/dye is very runny so I don't believe that I can paint fine lines and details, am I mistaken? And last but not least...do you guys think that this is too big a project for what is nearly like a first time?
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Old 01-22-2012, 05:28 PM
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DrDebby DrDebby is offline
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Re: project: painting on silk dress, seeking advice

Our resident silk painter is Sigrun (screen name Aral). Hopefully she will be on in the next day or two.

Not being a silk painter, I don't know. But, one thing you might do is take a bit of silk and make a small "sleeve" out of the silk and hem it, then try what you want at the hemmed edge. Personally, that's what I'd do before committing the design to a custom garment.
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Old 01-28-2012, 02:34 PM
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rue d'oak rue d'oak is offline
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Re: project: painting on silk dress, seeking advice

I'm with Debby -- do a test! That way you can figure out how finely you can work, and other attributes of working the fabric.

Jen
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:05 AM
roslin roslin is offline
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Re: project: painting on silk dress, seeking advice

Hello all, and thanks for your input. My project has encountered a major hitch, namely, finding the fabric. The line of the dress I want (I failed to mention it is my wedding dress) is an A-line, simple and with no fuss, however it requires heavy satin, and that kind (which is called duchesse in Europe) is not for sale at retail stores, and can only be found in specialized wholesale retailers, who of course require me to buy wholesale lenghts.

However, I may have found someone that can sell me some raw silk fabric of the right kind; this poses in itself a problem because it is completely untreated and I cannot use it as it is, it's too yellowy, it needs to be whitened or dyed. And the matter gets complicated by my own indecisiveness. I tried on a sky blue dress and kind of really really love the way I look with that colour on, whereas white, even with coloured highlights, suits me less.

So now the idea is slowly changing from a white dress with blue neck and hem, to sky blue dress with white decoration (I was thinking stylized branches or reeds, hanging from the neck towards the breast and climbing from the hem towards the waist.)
I could have the seamstress cut the dress (or portion the fabric up), then use the batik tecnique to dye and decorate the fabric, and then have her finish the tailoring. However, the technical problems would not be finished. Would satin absorb the dye correctly? Would I accomplish the right shade of blue?

Of course, I have the alternative of all alternatives, which is, reduce my project to something less impossible. Buy myself some satin, which at this stage does not even need to be silk, and embroider it. Or if I want to stay on the painting end of things, get some satin of silk in an appropriate shade of blue (the coloured satin is easier to find) and..de-colour it somehow? Bleach it perhaps? I would not use the white colour for fabric, by my experience it looks and feels similar to an acrylic, but perhaps there is something that might work, maybe a marker?

Sometimes I wish I was (or were?) born unimaginative and common I will keep you updated, any suggestion is more than welcome!
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Old 02-20-2012, 05:16 PM
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Re: project: painting on silk dress, seeking advice

Satin has to by able to be dyed. How else would satin shoes dyed to match the bridesmaids dress be available.

My thought is a blue satin dress with white embroidery (using silk thread) would be awesome. But then I'm awful with a paint brush. And actually quite good at embroidery. Besides then there would be a distinct white design on the fabric. And a bit of shimmer and texture.

Again, the thing to do would be to get, say half a meter of the fabric you are considering and some appropriate blue dye and see what transpires. You can always fall back to the embroidery option.
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Old 02-20-2012, 05:30 PM
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Re: project: painting on silk dress, seeking advice

Hi Roslin

Your task is not an easy one. I have dyed silk since 1995 and have not yet dyed a finished garment. I always day the cloth first and then have it made into the garment I had in mind before I started.

Dyeing the finished silk garment can be difficult as you have no idea if the thread is silk also. It usually is not and therefore will not dye.

Raw silk is almost impossible to dye due to natural oil still in the silk thread plus the fabric will take huge amount of dye.

If it makes it any easier for you here are few tips.

Was the silk to get rid of any left over natural oil. The natural oil will not take the dye as willingly as a washed silk. Remember not to use fabric softener. If you do you have closed the fibre and it will not take the dye well.

Make test on the silk satin or the chosen silk fabric, raw silk is not recomended.

Draw the outline of the pattern on the silk so you know where the dye should go

Streach the silk and paint

Fix the dye, wash and iron

Hand it over to the seamstress.

Have fun and show us please the result.

Sigrun
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:26 AM
roslin roslin is offline
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Re: project: painting on silk dress, seeking advice

Thank you all very much, I will keep you updated
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Old 02-21-2012, 12:36 PM
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rue d'oak rue d'oak is offline
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Re: project: painting on silk dress, seeking advice

Never occurred to me that silk would have a natural oil! Yet of course all plant matter does. Thanks for the information, Sigrun.

Roslin, BEST of luck. It is an ambitious project, but will be well worth it.

Jen
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Old 02-23-2012, 10:08 PM
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Re: project: painting on silk dress, seeking advice

Jan you really do not see them until you start dying the silk and then it is usually to late to do anything.. sometimes I have been lucky as the natural oil spots have been small and I was able to drown them in my dye but it really isn't worth taking the risk.
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Old 07-05-2012, 02:42 AM
roslin roslin is offline
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Re: project: painting on silk dress, seeking advice

Hello all, sorry for not updating this thread for so long. In the end, I did not follow through with the project. I had found a way to paint over the coloured silk, namely using either the felt-tip pen colours (but I do not like their consistency and couldn't get hold of shimmery colours, so the end result was too unprofessional) or colours that dry in relief (it is extremely hard to get an even line, plus the consistency of the paste in the tube I bought was not even, and at times I was getting little squirts of watery colour that stained the fabric), Embroidering it was also out of the picture, as the dress was made at my mother's house and left there (600km away from my house) to avoid carrying it back and forth.

On the plus side, I now have all this stuff I bought to try the different ideas and I am starting to paint silk
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:09 PM
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Re: project: painting on silk dress, seeking advice

Sorry about the dress not being what you envisioned. But, have fun playing with the new art supplies.
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