I’ve been wanting to try another dye project since I dip-dyed a white shirt last year and it was a runaway success.
And then I saw this picture a few weeks back of my favourite fashion blogger, Atlantic-Pacific, modelling a Tory Burch dress. It’s on sale for £278 at the time of writing.
Oh yeah, and Reese Witherspon has the skirt version.
Now, when I saw that dress, my first thought was: SHIBORI. Shibori is Japanese traditional tie-dye which is traditionally done using indigo dyes. There are many techniques, including folding, binding, twisting, clamping and sewing. There are some great examples on the web if you want to read more about it. Ginger over at Ginger Makes did a Shibori class with some of the NY based sewists which you can read about here. Seeing those pictures really whetted my appetite for what might be possible. Erica over at Recycled Fashion also tried this recently and made a beautiful T-shirt. And for more on dying… Sallie Oh does some incredibly inspirational things with dye – like this one which looks a bit shibori-like. She has a great dye tutorial, with more examples, here as well.
Anyway, back to my dress. I went out looking for something to dye. The dye only affects natural fibres, and I was obviously looking for something white.
Sheets are perfect for dye projects. This double duvet cover came from the Scope shop in Lewisham (£6). It’s actually 50% cotton, 50% polyester, so it will still take the dye, but the colour won’t be as strong as it would have been with 100% cotton.
I’m using Dylon hand dye – same as the dip-dye shirt – but in Ocean Blue this time.
Each packet dyes up to 250g of fabric so I weighed my duvet cover to work out roughly how much I should be attempting to dye. In the end I used up about two thirds of the back of the duvet cover (which wasn’t embroidered), or about 300g of fabric. I figured that some of the sections would be left white and therefore I could get away with using more!
I tore up some pieces, checking that they were wide enough to take my front and back bodice blocks. I did two pieces for the bodice, four for the skirt and another two to experiment with.
Following the instructions on the packet, I dunked my fabric in water and rung it out so that it was wet but not dripping. This helps the dye coat evenly.
To emulate the Tory Burch dress, I had to accordion pleat my pieces in both directions. Since my bodice pieces would be used ‘landscape’, while my skirt pieces would be ‘portrait’, I had to be sure to pleat two the opposite way to the remaining four (this will make more sense when you scroll down and see the finished dyed pieces).
The first pass of accordion pleats had a pitch of around 4cm, and the second set had a pitch of around 10cm.
I ended up with six little wet parcels. (I’ll show you what I did with my experimental pieces another time).
Following the directions on the dye packet, I dissolved it in warm water and added the salt, popped in my parcels and left them there, stirring occasionally, for about an hour. WEAR GLOVES AND AN APRON if you try this, folks!
The parcels came out nice and blue!
And then… the moment of truth….
To say I was delighted with the results would be a bit of an understatement! I could barely wait for them to dry before I started sewing!
Here’s what I meant by ‘portrait’ and ‘landscape’.
And now… to start sewing! The bodice was just my block, with some room to overlap at centre front to make a button placket.
I underlined the bodice pieces with some more of the sheet to make the white look really white.
The collar pattern was borrowed from Betty Draper and cut from scraps of the bodice pieces. There wasn’t enough, so both underside pieces are plain white.
From the scraps, I also cut a couple of vaguely sleeve shaped cap sleeves.
Here are some more in progress shots. The skirt was sewn together and then pleated on the blue lines to complement the pattern.
Closure-wise, there’s a zip up one side. The centre front is held together by sewing through the buttons and and all the layers in one go. You’ll see from the pictures below that I used 7 of the original buttons that were cut from the original duvet cover – they are the perfect size and are completely transparent.
Overall I think this is a dead ringer for the original garment so I’m pretty happy with it!
Sally this is AMAZING! Another great job – you look lovely :)
Thank you so much, I’m glad you liked it.
Yours is much nicer than the “original” one !!
Do you really think so?! Thanks!
Your creations never cease to amaze me! Well done :)
Thank you :)
Holy sheet woman – this is amazing. I’ve got a book on Shibori – I really must pull it back out!!! This is fabulous! You never cease to amaze me.
Shibori was really fun – definitely give it a go!
Nice job. And I think yours looks better than the original.
Thank you, Jo! :)
Oh man, another amazing project! I did some Shibori when I was at Morley College, it’s so fun, I really need to do some again! Your pieces have come out so perfectly and they suit this dress so well.
You’re sweet Kathryn, thank you! I really enjoyed doing Shibori and will definitely be trying it again.
You are amazing! That looks so great:)
Thank you so much!
So great Sally, you have done another winning job! I really want to have a go at this – I am inspired. And look at your beautiful nails <3
Aw, thank you sweetheart. So glad you liked it!
OMG this is sooooo cool! i def want to try dying. i might do an order from dharma trading so let me know if you fancy sharing postage. they have a bulk shipping option that makes it pretty cheap to get it over here!
Dying is a lot of fun, and the results are slightly unpredictable which can be… exciting!
Amazing! You are truly inspirational!
Thank you, so pleased you liked this project.
This is amazing! Well done recreating the original inspiration – you got it spot on!!! I love this dress so much, definitely one of my favourite makes that you’ve done. I REALLY want to have a go at dying fabric now!
Thanks Suzie, definitely try dying, it’s a lot of fun!
This is amazing! I’ve been tempted to try dyeing fabrics, this looks soo good I’m going to have to give it a go!
Do – you’ll love it. It feels very creative!
Adorable. I really liked your choice of those transparent buttons that don’t interfere with the design.
Thanks Judy, the buttons were a kind of happy coincidence as they were the ones from the original sheet!
I’ve often wondered about dyeing fabrics but I’m definitely going to give it a go after seeing this! The dress is wonderful.
Thank you for commenting, Claire! Glad you liked it.
So beautiful! Thanks for the step by step instructions on dyeing, definitely going to try this out.
Do it! The rectangle pattern is easy enough to produce with accordion folds. Thanks for reading!
Wow, this looks amazing! Great job, girl!
Thank you so much! Glad you liked it!
Amazing! I wouldn’t normally be attracted to anything tie dyed, but this is gorgeous!
Yeah tie-dye has a bad rep! The squares really help to get rid of the hippy vibe though I think.
This is such a fab make! I love it
Thank you Kirsty!
The effect of shibori dye looks perfect on your beautiful dress. Also thanks for the link to my dye project too!
You’re welcome Erica, thanks for reading!
Awesome job and a beutiful dress!!!
Thank you so much Maiken!
Another amazing project. Fantastic work and congratulations.
Thank you for your support, Kim!
Not sure which is more impressive – dying your own fabric or making your own Tory Burch dress – the end result is fabulous.
Thanks so much, I’m rather happy with it myself :)
Oh my god I have to try that! I love the look of your dress its so professional! Clever Lady! x
Yes you have to try it, it’s so much fun! Thanks for reading!
This is great! As usual, I am inspired.
Thank you Kelley, glad you liked this project.
Wow, this is fantastic! Excellent job!
Wow, this looks amazing! I totally think you should host a sewalong of dyeing fabric then sewing a garment. Imagine all of the brilliant creations there would be! Jen x
Maybe at some point in the future! Stay tuned!
Thank you :)
You’re ‘pretty happy with it’?!? Girl, are you crazy! You should be totally, ridiculously, over the moon with it! The tie dye effect has worked so beautifully and definitely looks more chic than hippy/boho ;o) And I love the shape of the dress on you…what a sweet combination all around!
Haha thanks Marie! Yes, tie-dye is normally reserved for boho but I think the style of dress hopefully gives it the chic-factor!
You are absolutely killing it these days. I really love your “inspired” posts: they have totally changed my sense of what is possible! Definitely excited to bone up on my sewing skills/up my finishing game so I can move towards seeing something gorgeous, and executing a verison for me.
Thank you Gwen, I am working hard to improve my skills. Practice makes perfect!
You are a genius. Love this dress sooooo much. It’s making my mind explode with possibilities for a piece of lime green silk I have sitting in the stash – this dye technique might help make it wearable!
No YOU’RE the genius, lady! So flattered that you liked this project. Dying was so much fun, I want to do it again, and get a bit more creative next time…!
Another great job! I would add a belt as well – something wide – 2″ maybe? in blue
It’s a definite possibility, Cathy – thanks for the comment.
I’m just going to echo everyone else and tell you that this looks AMAZING! It obviously took you quite a while but the end result is so worth it! I hope you get lots of wear out of this beauty
Thank you so much, Joyce! I hope to wear it on at least a couple more occasions before the weather changes.
I’ve swooned over that dress before. But your’s OMG!!! Runway worthy…I want one!
Thank you so much Maria!
Amazing! You even stripe matched which makes it more impressive. Congrats on your shibori sewing ninja skills! You look very happy and pretty :-)
Ha, any stripe matching is more by accident than by design… the accordion folds were totally eyeballed :) Thanks for the kind comment!
this is very inspiring – I love your refashions – so professional!
Thank you for the feedback, Gillian!
Gorgeous! You got a great color from the dye. I think I like your lighter version better, it’s perfect for summer.
Thanks Sarah, it doesn’t quite match the colour of the original but I agree it makes it more summery. I’m happy with it anyway!
Wow, wow, Wow!
Thank you :)
Absolutely lovely. Perfect in every way. I wish my granddaughters who only wear items with “appropriate” labels and dress like lemmings would be more like you – the rush you get from creating something from next to nothing (a sheet!) must be so fulfilling. You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing. I so look forward to your creations. (Note: I bought the gd’s a sewing machine last year, but so far nothing – but I’m still hoping!)
You’re so kind, Jan, thank you for commenting. Making clothes is a great hobby and it’s very satisfying. Young people often fail to connect the clothes they buy with anything handmade – but all clothes are made by a person, even if it’s a person in a factory on the other side of the world. They’ll come around eventually!
One word – WOW!
Thank you so much! :)
This is lovely! And it really does look like the original. =)
Love it as usual!
Thanks, Carlee! You’re too kind :)
Reblogged this on Ruby Nicole and commented:
I’m def trying this technique out….
You should, it’s easy to do and a lot of fun!
all your creations are great, but this one I simply find inspirational!
Oh thank you Patty! Hope you’ve been inspired to dye something yourself!
amazing!!! your photos make it look so quick and easy: fabric, dye, wham bam, dress! but i’m sure it was a lot of work!!!!!!
Haha, I didn’t photograph every step, but there were a lot of hours went into this! That said, the dress construction was relatively straightforward.
It’s amazing! I love the dying! And you look great in your dress! :D
Thank you for reading, Birgit!
I can only watch and not to try!
Why not have a go at dying some smaller projects? Shibori is a lot of fun and there’s no ‘wrong’ way to do it.
You’re a genius! That is all
You’re sweet, thank you Fiona x
Wow! Wow! Wow!
This is so unbelievably cool! Congratulations – you’re a real expert!! :-)
Have a very HAPPY weekend :-)
Thank you happyface313, I have a great weekend planned!
Ah, gorgeous!!! The dyeing and the beautiful shirt-dress! I desperately want to dip dye something now. Out of my way, dye going to happen.
Yes, definitely have a go with dye, it’s a lot of fun and a great way to create something unique!
This is so awesome! I love it. I was thinking about trying some dying as an alternative to buying more fabric and you have totally inspired me to give it a go.
Aw, thank you! Glad you’re feeling inspired – dying is so much fun, if a bit messy!
Wow this is soooo gorgeous! You should enter it in the copycat challenge, you can win prizes :)
Hi Zoe, that is actually an excellent suggestion. I will enter now!
SO pretty, and looks wonderful on you! May I ask, did you underline the skirt as well? (your instructions refer to underlining the bodice but no mention of the skirt) I like Zoe’s suggestion above!
Thank you for the kind words Jenny. The skirt is not underlined, it didn’t need it.
I was floored (as usual) by your remake of the dress. I think you are completely right on top of the fashion track. Michelle Obama recently wore the same Tory Burch dress!
Wow, Mrs O is looking great! Thanks for the link! :)
I have just come across your website, I am so impressed with your skills and creativeness. This dress is awesome, thanks for putting it up on the web :)
Hi Rachel, thanks for commenting! Stay tuned for more projects like this coming up soon.
Love it Sally! It is stunning. Your patience and attention to detail amazes me! Great job!
Just have to say I love all your refashions! i have been dying (pun intended) to try some, but I’m nowhere near your skill level yet. That said, I found a white cotton sundress at goodwill outlet and paid maybe $1 – then did your shibori technique. OMG it is gorgeous!!! I cheated because the dress was already a dress but it’s a step in the right direction. Keep up the amazing work!
Hello Ashley, thank you for commenting! I appreciate your support. I am really glad you had success with the shibori method. I loved doing this dye technique and will definitely try it again soon!
I am discovering your blog …. and this dress looks absolutely amazing!
Thanks Claire, glad you found me!
That’s mastery, thanks for the inspiration to greatness
Thank you for reading! Glad you liked this project.
clever you! its so fab!
Thank you Rachel! x
I’m working my way slowly through your blog, and I must say, this is my favourite post so far! They are, of course, all brilliant, but I love the dye job you did here. Amazing!
Thanks for commenting and I am glad you are enjoying reading! This dress has had a lot of wear this year as well, it’s become a summer staple for me :)