Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cotton Duck 101: Chevron Pillow Cases

Throw pillows in chevron print, made from cotton duck fabric
{Image: Cotton Duck Chevron Pillows: Chartreuse/White}
I've been a sewing maniac lately! So many new things in my shop, & a few snapped up so quickly, the fabric had barely left the sewing machine. I'm on fire people!

The tricky thing about making decorative pillow cases for other people, is that I secretly want all of them for myself.

As you know, Chevron Prints, in all their bold colors, are really popular right now and can update & bring life to any room in the house.

I decided to make a couple sets for my shop, out of screen printed cotton duck fabric, and yes, I fell in love with them immediately.

Chevron Pillow Cases ~ Chartreuse & White
18" x 18" 
Envelope Back
100% Screen Printed Cotton Duck

Cotton Duck Fabric: Chevron throw pillows, from shannon sorensen designs
{Image: Decorative Pillows- Chevron Chartreuse & White}

Chevron Pillow Cases ~ Black & White
20" x 20" 
Zipper Closure
100% Screen Printed Cotton Duck
Medium Weight Black 100% Cotton Back
What is cotton duck fabric? Chevron throw pillows made from canvas
{Decorative Pillows: Chevron Black & White}

I love these bold colors!!

I've found colorful chevron prints in light-weight cotton, twill and cotton duck. Light-weight cotton would work for bedroom throw pillows, but twill and cotton duck are a more durable, heavier-weight fabric, perfect for couch pillows or throw pillows for family room chairs.  I considered twill, but the colors were a little muted, so when I ran across this bold screen printed cotton duck, I knew I'd found exactly what I was looking for!

So what is 100% Cotton Duck Fabric?

Cotton Duck is a strong, durable fabric, resistant to tearing and snagging, and is often better known by its more common name, Canvas (doesn't sound nearly as fancy, does it?). Not all cotton duck is created equal, however, since it comes in a variety of weights. The cotton duck that I used for my chevron pillow covers, was medium weight (~6.5 oz); great for curtains, accent pillows, bed skirts, slipcovers, upholstery, purses & totes.

At its heaviest weight, you've probably seen cotton duck and didn't even know it - on tennis shoes, hammocks, cots, tents or sandbags. Now that's some durability!

Where does Duck Fabric Come From?

Duck fabric comes from the Dutch word, "doek", meaning “linen canvas.” In order to distinguish it from traditional duck (linen), its termed "cotton duck".

Duck Fabric + Duct Tape 

You know our old friend, Duct Tape? It's related to Duck Fabric. What? Who knew? Some people even call duct tape, duck tape, but don't do it around me. hahahaha Turns out, the original duct tape was made from duck fabric, with an added adhesive.

Now you have a little conversation starter for the dinner table!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Black Bean Tie Dye Shirt: Natural Dyes

DIY black bean dye tie dyed t-shirt
{Photo: Tie Dye Blue T-shirt using all-natural Black Bean Dye}
Who knew black beans weren't just for dinner anymore?

I have to say, I'm still in awe at the outcome of this black bean tie-dyed t-shirt. Blue dye. From black beans. Who would have thought??

Well, a bunch of people, actually, because there is a lot of natural dying going on out there that I didn't even know existed. And it's not just with black beans.

Natural dyes are made from pretty much everything in nature. Flowers, fruits, spices, vegetables, herbs, legumes...you name it.

The colors you can get from natural dyes are beautiful, and truth be told, there's just something that feels good about using natural dyes as opposed to chemical ones. Here are a few Natural Dye sites I pinned on Pinterest (one of my favorites is the turmeric tank top).

How to Make Blue Dye from Black Beans

*Soak black beans in a pot of water for 24-36 hours, stirring occasionally. I used 1 bag of dried black beans and about 8 cups of water. I wanted to make sure the beans didn't soak up all the liquid.

*This natural dye tutorial is a great resource for how many beans vs. how much water, along with other details about making dye from black beans.

Several hours in, I checked and my water had turned purpley. Exciting!

How to make blue dye from black beans
{Photo: Make natural blue dye from black beans}

Get your Shirt Black Bean Dye-Ready 

This is where I failed.

Bind black bean dye color to shirt using Alum and Cream of Tartar
{photo: mortant cotton shirt}
In order for the black bean dye to adhere to the cotton shirt, you have to mordant it with Alum and Cream of Tartar. Again, refer to the above link for instructions on this process.

The problem I ran into, is that this chemical process requires you to cook your shirt for 1 hour in a pot you will not use again (toxic). I didn't have an old pot and after scouring a couple thrift shops, didn't want to spend $10 for a used stock pot I would never use again. Call me cheap, but this old white t-shirt wasn't even worth $10. I would take my chances for it to fade away, since it may not even turn out anyway.

Soak your shirt in Black Bean Dye

After letting the beans soak about 30 hours (*and a couple hours since I last stirred) I removed the liquid from the beans by carefully straining it through a mesh strainer into mason jars. You don't want debris to come up from under the beans and cloud your dye, so do it carefully or ladle it off the top.

I wetted my white t-shirt, folded it in a fan pattern, and rubber-banded it to give it tie-dye stripes.
After adding the black bean dye to my shirt in a small bucket, I set it outside for about 36 hours.

All natural black bean dye creates blue hues the longer you soak your shirt
{photo: Tie dye shirt soaking in black bean dye}

The Black Bean Dye T-shirt Reveal

~Mid-way through I checked on it and it was certainly more purple than before it went in! (if you're wondering, I used rocks w/ mason jar lids to weigh down the shirt in the dye)
~By the time 36 hours rolled around (bottom small pictures), it was quite a bit darker and more blue.

~Dump the black bean dye down the sink.
~Remove the rubber bands and rinse shirt thoroughly with cold water. Excitement mounting!

Make blue dye from black beans after soaking shirt for 36 hours
{Photo: Black bean dye turns shirt blue after a 36 hour soak}

And holy moley, that's what the black bean dye fuss is all about! So cool! I love the pattern. Reminds me of bamboo. I love the color. I love that this was made from an all natural dye. And yes, it turned out cool so fingers crossed it doesn't wash out any time soon!

Finished Black bean dye t-shirt: blue tie dye design
Hanging in the breeze - the colors lightened just a bit as it dried.
I couldn't help myself from glancing at it out the window.

natural black bean dye creates blue results
{Photo: Results: Blue tie dyed t-shirt from all natural black bean dye}

 Is it weird to want to dye everything in the house?

Similar projects you might like:
Pink Sunburst Circles Tie Dyed Shirt
Dip Dyed T-shirt
Dip Dyed Kitchen Towels

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tie Dye Sunburst Rings T-shirt DIY

Make tie dye rings t-shirt tutorial
Although I'm from Seattle, I'm not a hippie. People seem to think those of us from Seattle or Portland all wear tie-dye and hug trees.

On this rare occasion, however, I'll admit I'm mimicking the stereo-type. I decided to make my own tie-dye t-shirt, and although I do like trees, I don't think I've ever hugged one.

I purchased pink Rit dye (*affiliate link) found a perfect white v-neck t-shirt (*see info below) and followed this great tie dye tutorial on Pinterest.

The only problem I found was that because I hadn't pre-wetted my t-shirt, the colors didn't disperse as well. I still love it though. Note for next time.

How to make tie dye rings t-shirt with rit dye

I love how the pinks gently fade in and out of the white of the shirt and go from shades of faded rose to pedal pink and everything in-between.

make sunburst rings tie dye t-shirt with rit dye

*Okay, about the white t-shirt. Are you sitting down? I found the PERFECT white Hanes t-shirt at Walmart for only $5.00 for this project! I'm still in shock. It's medium weight, soft, and perfect to wear as-is or turn into a craft project.

I'll admit, I had to get one in a few different colors. They are so comfortable - not at all what I would expect for 5 bucks! I'm not getting paid by Walmart, I just wanted to share the link so you can see them. Go to your local Walmart and see if they carry them!

Closing thoughts on tie dye: I always had the idea that tie dye was messy and drippy and stainey and I could only do it in the summer on a giant lawn with a hose and gallon sized buckets. But the truth is, making this t-shirt in a pot on the stove (as you can see in my how-to video) made all the difference.

When I made my first dip-dye t-shirt, I had a lot of color running down the sink when I rinsed my shirt. This time around, there was very little to rinse because the color had locked on to the shirt through the use of heat. Just a thought. This project's not as crazy as you think it might be.

{WATCH} the making of my Tie Dye Sunburst Rings T-shirt

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Summer fun recap weeks 1-3

As of today, we're 4 weeks in on summer break. Once July 1 hit, man, time starts to roll! Here's a quick peek at what I've been up to since school got out.

day trip from seattle to whidbey island: see beaches and collect shells

I started my summer off with a bang and knocked off one of my new year's resolutions with a free "Learn to play the ukulele" class.

Turns out, my sausage fingers may not be cut out for such a small instrument. I can play the guitar, but the uke's neck is so skinny that my fingers cramp up and overlap on the strings. I could play it with a little practice, but this might be all she wrote for the ukulele. At least I tried!


Next up? A ferry ride over to Whidbey Island for a relaxing anniversary get-away. It was so fun to take a couple of days to explore ocean beaches and beach side-towns!

Stops included: Coupeville * Ft. Ebey State Park * Point Partridge * Double Bluff Beach 
* Useless Bay * Possession Point * Cultus Bay

Since it was low, low tide (due to the super moon) the beaches were filled with uncovered treasures: shells of all shapes and sizes, tide pools alive with scattering crabs, sea anemones and sand dollars. Pure heaven.

What to do on Whidbey island: visit seaside towns, beaches and collect shells

vacation for shannon sews

Family Time!
My brother, his wife and baby moved to Washington and my other brother, his wife and 2 kids came for a week-long visit. It was so much fun to have them all here!

Part of the time we spent around Seattle, going to Golden Gardens Beach, Pike Place Market, the Gum Wall (yes, we even added our own, eew), and the Great Wheel (I was too chicken to go).

The last half of the week we headed east over the mountains to my parent's country ranch where we played with babies in the front yard pool, competed at corn hole and badminton, and celebrated my husband's birthday (with bananas foster). At the end of the week we wrapped it all up with a small town 4th of July parade.

Good times and great memories!!

seattle must sees: gum wall, pike place market, ferris wheel, waterfront

When I got my eyes dilated I couldn't see the entire day, it was blurry for 6 hours
{Edited from Pinterest}

By week 3, it was time to get back to business. Time to make those appointments I'd been putting off (dentist, eye doc, etc.), run forgotten errands, and sew new items for my etsy shop.

My eye appointment turned out to be quite an adventure. They dilated my eyes so much I couldn't see the entire day. I literally looked like those owl cupcakes. It was insane.

Here's a peek at what I've finished so far, for my shop:

chevron green white pillow cases and baby blankets new on etsy

But this week wasn't all business. We celebrated my nephew's birthday and spent an afternoon at the pool. The weather this summer in Seattle has been divine!! Oh yes, we'll take it!

I don't even want to count how many days are left of summer vacation, but I don't think we've even reached the half-way mark. So I just have one more thing to say:

Dear Target,

Please don't squash our summer dreams by running commercials for school supplies in mid-July. Could you at least hold off until August 1st? Kthxbye.

~Hope you're enjoying your summer!~

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