I had a fabulous time yesterday with a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and my cabbage dyed fabrics. It was the stuff of witches' cauldrons; just one teaspoon dissolved in approx. 4ltrs of simmering water had an instant, and very lively, effect on my mauve. It also smelt, overwhelmingly, of cabbage!
This morning, following the ironing (every bit of fabric work at the moment seems to be preceded by at least an hour's ironing...) I pressed the fabrics; which are still smelling (though slightly fainter maybe?) quite distinctly of cabbage! I still do not have my blue, the fabric did not sit in the initial dye long enough I'm guessing, but instead a beautiful green which, sadly, is not photographing anything like its true colour. It is a beautiful, and rather apt, sea green with, as the photo below shows, a lovely whorl of blues on the linen piece.
One of the joys of natural dying, I'm discovering, is the rather magical unpredictability of it all. It is also possible to keep playing with the same piece of fabric, I'm guessing, and the only time to stop is either when you're happy or you've gone too far in the wrong direction! The linen, whilst not blue, is a beautiful colour and I am tempted to use it for the corset. I do however still have the two cottons, neither of which have absorbed the colour like the linen and which I think I will play with further. I'm tempted to try red onion this time, anything to escape the smell of cabbage! and to mix maybe half a teaspoon of bicarb into the dye before I add the fabrics.
As I've been playing, my ideas for this corset are becoming far more organic than the original "halloweeny" intention. With so many individual pieces, I think there could be some lovely playing with colour and texture and vegetable dyes seem to have a natural affinity for working well together. The three fabrics now are quite different colours but, tonally, match perfectly. If I'm careful, I think there could be a little magic to be worked here, and the starry night effect that I was originally looking for, and would still love to achieve, could be added with paints, sequins and bead work.
But I'm getting ahead of myself, and learning with this project, that it does not seem to like being pinned down at all! We are away for the Easter weekend so I will have to wait till I return and then we will see what colours come next. In the meantime, a little light holiday reading will involve learning the theory of cording the corset... eek!