{Adventures in Fabric Dying}

It’s been seven months since the third season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel hit the air, and I’m still thinking about one dress in particular. If you’re familiar with the show, its the one Midge wears when she goes out with Lenny Bruce in Miami. For those not familiar with the show, it’s this one:

I had a pretty good idea of what pattern I want to use, Simplicity 8594. However, I am going into this fully knowing that I will need to do a bit of hack job to achieve the straps. The pattern doesn’t really have an option for them at all so I am going to attempt to self draft the pieces myself, something I have only done a little bit – with mixed results! I am also going to add on a fuller skirt, as this one does not quite achieve the volume I a looking for. A basic circle skirt should do the trick, but I will need to do some testing eventually.

Finding the pattern was the easy part. Now I needed to find the fabric. I know from going to the FIT talk with costume designer Donna Zakowska that she tries to source from New York for the most part, so I started with searches at Mood and B&J. No luck (although I did find a blue and black color way of the exact fabric from the show… see it here… there’s part of me that might want to also make it in blue if all goes well).

The fabric I ended up going with was from fabric.com. It’s close, but not exact. However… it’s also black and white (well, actually it’s navy and white but dark enough). Having some experience with Rit Dye, I decided to try and dye it myself, thinking that the navy was dark enough that it wouldn’t really be affected by the dye. I added on some silk chiffon, choosing to dye it as well in the same dye bath to get as close a match as possible.

I chose coral dye to get as close to the show version as I can. Then, the saga of the dye delivery started. First, I ordered it from Amazon, but then cancelled after nearly 17 days of my order not shipping. Instead, I went directly to the Rit Dye website and chose two day shipping. The package got lost in the mail! I contacted Rit and they kindly sent me another one, which actually arrived on time, but by this time nearly an entire month had gone by of not getting this dye in a timely fashion (though I will say that the second Rit shipment, which did not get lost in the mail, arrived within the time it was supposed to).

It was FINALLY time for the adventure to begin!

I am a big fan of the washing machine dying method. It’s really easy and it doesn’t ruin your washing machine if you do it correctly. However, I live in an apartment building with shared laundry, and we are not allowed to do dying projects there so I had to wait until I was at my sister’s so I could use her top loading machine.

I kind of winged the amount of dye I put into the machine. The directions do have recommendations based on weight, but I didn’t want to go too dark, so I figured I would start lighter and go from there. The fabric sat in the dye for thirty minutes before I let the rinse cycle go, and then it was the moment of truth.

I had to swap it out to another machine for a wash (long story… I was using the guest house washing machine and it’s an older machine that was having some troubles by the time I was done with it). Love that the dying process also kind of gets the pre-washing portion of the fabric prep process done!

I waited eagerly by the machine while it was in the washing machine, then did the same thing while it was in the dryer (the main fabric is a cotton so it could handle the dryer; the silk chiffon dried outside on the deck).

The chiffon dried in record time, and before I knew it, I was done! The verdict? It’s perfect! (Okay, I actually think the chiffon is a little too pink and should’ve dyed it separately but overall I think it came out great, and it’s not bad enough to warrant buying more and doing it over.)

The next step is to actually construct the dress! Looking forward to making my mock up of it next week!

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