MADE BY HAND

The older I get, the more I realize people don't make things with their hands anymore. There is something so beautiful to me about the analog process; it brings awareness to where things come from and the energy it takes to create it.

step one:

prepare the dye bath

Preparing a dye bath varies on the fabric material and the dye source.  Because I use natural dyes, I pick natural fabrics to work with. Fibers like cotton and linen are much easier color when using delicate dye material. 

 

Typically, I’ll soak the material in water for 60 minutes. After that, I place it in a large pot and simmer for about 90 minutes before it’s ready to use. 

After straining the dye source from the water, I put the pre-washed and pre-soaked fabric into the bath. The first 15 minutes I’m sure to stir the fabric continuously to make sure the dye soaks the fabric evenly. Depending on the dye and the thickness of the fabric, I boil the fabric between 1-5 hours. 

*fabric picture is dyed with hibiscus 

dye fabric

step two:

making the pattern

step three

I make my own patterns so I can control how everything fits. I use clothing I already own to copy the shapes of pieces that I like, and then I alter it to make it new.
 

After making the pattern, I sew a sample using cheap fabric to make sure the pattern is correct before cutting my good fabric.

I fold the fabric on the selvage edge and make sure there are no wrinkles. I pin down each piece to the fabric; pinning about every two inches. 

*fabric picture is dyed with avacado pits

cut out fabric using pattern

step four:

During this step, I spend a lot of time unpicking things I just sewed. One time I also sewed through my finger.
 

I frequently try the clothing on to see how it hangs on my body. 

*fabric picture is dyed with tumeric

sew the thing

step five:

step six: 

finishing touches

When finishing edges on the product, using an iron really helps. Pressing down the fabric can help you control tight edges and ensure everything is even on long stitching (like on a hem). 

(final products to come)

photography by Caroline Burke