Block Printing/Design Favorite Projects

Block Printed Hand Dyed Hemp Linen

March 4, 2015

I’m running out of corners of my house to take photos in, but the good news is, it’s starting to stay light out after 5pm, and this week we had temps above the teens so I think Spring may actually be on the way! I really miss taking photos outside. …or doing anything outside besides freezing my face off. But anyways! Here’s my latest dress, and it’s arguably the most “me made” thing I’ve ever created.


This fabric was provided courtesy of Organic Cotton Plus, aaaaaaand it’s currently out of stock right now which was really poor timing on my part. My apologies for reviewing a fabric that I can’t even link to at this time! Whoops! I’ll go back and add a direct link as soon as it’s available again.


There are plenty of things I liked about this organic hemp linen fabric, and only one thing I did not like. The “bad news” first – This fabric is shifty. I had more movement when cutting out my pieces with this stuff than I did with the Cotton and Steel Rayon I used recently. I really can’t understand why it wiggled around so much under my rotary cutter, especially when the weave doesn’t appear all that loose to my eyes, but every grain of the fabric kind of felt like the bias grain when at the cutting table. …or maybe I’m just a brat and really love stable quilting cotton (That’s like a GEICO statement. Everyone knows that). …but I digress.

On to the good points! Aside from the amount of “shift” I was getting when cutting, the fabric really didn’t fray that badly at all, which surprised me.


My very favorite part of this fabric is the drape! It’s …interesting. In an excellent way! When the fabric first arrived it was on the side of plain and underwhelming, but after I sent it through the wash it completely came to life! As I grabbed it out of the dryer I literally said “Ooooo floaty!!” with a small gasp of excitement. I spent the next several minutes just folding it up and dropping it on my kitchen table so I could watch it shimmy like a Jell-O Jiggler as it settled. Seriously, the drape is wild. It just floats! It’s bouncy! …Buoyant, even? And yet, I wouldn’t classify it as super light weight… it’s pretty magical stuff if you can tame it on the cutting table.


On the Organic Cotton Plus website the fabric color was listed as taupe, so I was expecting a natural linen color, but I would definitely describe it as white when you see it in person. I can’t wear white things because I have cats and a dog who live on me like baby monkeys, so I decided to dye it a darker color. You can read more about my fabric dying fiasco adventures in this post, and I have to admit this is not my best work. …at all. I wasn’t attentive enough at the dye bath stage so my fabric is pretty mottled in a very amateur way. Oh well, I’ll chalk it up to a learning experience and a “chic antique-y design feature” that isn’t too noticeable in brighter light.


The dress pattern is the same one that I made for my Wanderer fabric review, and since I’ve made a few changes to the fit, it’s quickly becoming my TNT pattern! I’ve made this dress three times now, making a tiny adjustment each time, and now feel like I have the basic shape/fit down pat. Next time I’ll try to draft a version with sleeves!


The thing I’m most excited about on this dress, is the fact that I designed the border print myself! I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it many more times, but I’m totally in love with block printing. My goal is to make one block-printed garment a month, starting from here on out. It’s so much fun! I shared more about the block printing process in this post, and I don’t have too much to add on the subject at this time. I have NOT tried washing this dress since the ink cured, so I’m curious to see how the color holds up. It’s supposed to remain permanent through the wash but we’ll see.


I used some vintage buttons and bias tape from my stash to accent the dress since it matched my ink color perfectly! The overall result is a little 70s, not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not my favorite bygone era. I will admit though, I’m loving the rust orange/Lucky Lu-Teal color combo and can’t wait for warmer weather so this dress can see some sunlight!


I’ve also been letting myself knit for about ten minutes a day for the past few days, so I’m really hoping to have another handmade hat to share with you in the near future! It’s been too long. *sigh*


Well, that’s about all I have to say about this project! I think it just might be my most favorite thing I’ve made to date (I bet I’ll say that about every hand-dyed-block-printed thing I sew, haha!). I just bought the Marianne dress pattern by Christine Haynes, along with several interlock knits (from Organic Cotton Plus!) so I think the next project I share with you might very well be a stretchy one. GASP! Rochelle sewing with a knit?! I know!


p.s. Thank you to everyone who left a comment on my last post about stress and making time for important things. I appreciate your kind words more than you know <3