Last night I preshrunk the mohair (dunked into warm water, swished around a bit, spun out to dry and then allowed to dry flat) and dyed the lining. It’s gorgeous! Here’s a photo:
Despite some fiddling in Photoshop, the photo is not quite true to color – the lining is actually a beautiful, deep iris purple. It’s actually been through three dyebaths: one fiber-reactive (alkaline) dyebath in Sabracron F dyes, one acid dyebath using Sabracron F dyes, and one acid dyebath using Washfast Magenta acid dyes.
This was not intentional. I had intended to do just one dyebath, to a fuschia-purple, with the Sabracron F, and carefully measured out my dyes. Alas, my water was apparently not hot enough for the Electric Blue to “take” (it can be fussy that way), and I wound up with a pretty shade of lilac. Which clashed with the mohair.
So I decided to redye it, and to see whether Sabracron F worked as an acid dye. (Procion MX fiber-reactives “go both ways”, but I wasn’t sure whether Sabracron F, which is slightly different chemically, did.) Into the dyepot it went, along with the Sabracron F Electric Blue and some citric acid.
It behaved differently than I expected. Normally, with Sabraset dyes, the dye “strikes” very quickly and leaves no trace behind. With the Electric Blue, it took nearly 20 minutes at 180 degrees to “strike”, and the water still had plenty of blue in it. I snipped off a small sample, washed it, ironed it dry (nobody ever accused me of patience), and took a look. Gorgeous, cool blue-violet. Not appropriate to the mohair, which was all warm shades.
So I went back to the dye cabinet, grabbed some Washfast Fuchsia, dumped it into the boiling dyebath, stirred furiously, and hoped for the best. And it worked! The end result is warm, deep royal/iris purple, and it will be perfect as lining.
Today I plan to adjust my patterns. I am following Claire Shaeffer’s instructions from Couture Sewing Techniques, and the first thing she mentions is that couture sewing uses 1″ seam allowances. Presumably this is to allow adjustment for fitting issues. I have adjusted my muslin countless times and I’m pretty sure it’s right, but allowing some leeway for adjustment seems like a sensible thing, so I’m going through all my pattern pieces (and there are a lot of them) and adding 3/8″ to the seam allowances. This is not quite as bad as it sounds as a lot of the lines are perfectly straight, so I can use my quilting ruler. I may also “cheat” and use a double tracing wheel and transfer paper to mark the enlarged pattern before cutting. That is less accurate, though, so I will probably do it the harder-but-better way.
I’d be lamenting having to change my lining pattern pieces as well, but Shaeffer recommends not using lining patterns, instead draping the lining before stitching in place. I don’t know if my skills are up to that, but it’s worth a try.
After that the next step will be cutting the pattern pieces. I am going to use the mohair backed with silk organza, so I will need to cut out the organza and mohair pieces and sew them together. Backing with silk organza will stabilize the mohair and also make it easier to transfer any markings. For accuracy, I plan to baste in place with a quilting applique glue that comes out easily and leaves no traces whatsoever behind. Then I will probably baste the organza in place by hand.
Tomorrow the sew-in hair canvas interfacing should be arriving – good, high-quality hair canvas, 60% wool and 40% goat hair. I will also be able to stop by Fabric Outlet to buy the suede for the lapels. At that point I can cut the facings, and send off the remaining scraps to be made into buttons. After that, it’s the slow process of putting on the interfacing (which must be “quilted” to the fabric, by hand, slowly), and after that, who knows?
I’m really looking forward to this. Working with quality goods that I like is totally different from working with icky, ugly fabric. This will be worth the investment.
Beryl Moody says
I’m sure you are far too busy to watch videos — but if you get a chance, take a look at some of the House of Elliott series. The fashions are wonderful and its all about a small couture house.
Your fearlessness in tackling this project totally amazes me, but I’m sure that you will be successful.
You found the secret- both MX and F reactive dyes ‘go both ways’ but do definitely have a color shift with acid. This is pretty convenient if you are mixing silk with different fibers, since silk can be used in either dyebath. Not as efficient as WF Acid or Lanaset/Sabraset, but doable.
Your colors look luscious- I think the test coat will be beautiful, just a little out of your usual clothing color choices. I can’t wait until we get to see the handwoven coat -that will look very sophisticated and lush.
I appreciate Beryl’s comment – I hadn’t thought of House of Elliott in years, I liked that show.
I just caught up on a week’s worth of postings & am happy to see you found a good solution to the uninspiring sample coat. The mohair is so very different — in color & in effect — from the cashmere that you will probably find plenty of reasons to wear both. And you will have the benefit of making a whole coat before working with the handwoven fabric.