Then my birthday gift from Brian the Engineer arrived - ivory Hartfields! I wore them around the house for three or four hours after opening the package, and honestly forgot that I had them on a couple times. They are very comfortable. :)
But I was not about to let them stay ivory forever. After admiring them for a couple more days, I broke out the second part of my gift - a shoe painting kit, and got to work. I mixed paint for about an hour before I was satisfied with the shade. I was aiming for a deep, warm butterscotch color and trying to avoid mustard. :p When I was finally happy with the color (mostly sick of mixing paint) I followed the American Duchess tutorial for the painting process. Sorry there are no in-progress photos, but I was focused on painting! :(
I was pleased to see that after it dried, the honey-mustard colored paint I had ended up with did deepen and darken as it dried to more of a Werther's hard candy color. And the more I looked at it, the more I loved it!
After three thin coats I let them dry overnight. In the morning I liked the color even better, and I could also tell it needed one more coat. After that dried I put on the finisher and started thinking about how best to dye the shoelaces to match the new color of the boots.
I had a couple of things I'd been meaning to dye that I'd been putting off for a while, and I decided to do both of them and the shoelaces all at once.
The first thing was a white ostrich feather that I had vague ideas about using on a bonnet. For some reason I wanted it gold. I will admit here and now that I had no idea how to go about dyeing a feather. I still don't know.
I used Lemon Yellow and Tangerine RIT dyes. This is how it looks now, after it has dried completely. I cannot seem to get it to fluff back up again, so my thought is that there is still dye that needs to be rinsed out, possibly? Anyway, it was a learning experience. I moved on, as I had bigger fish to fry.
Next were the shoelaces. To the previous orangey attempt at gold, I added more Lemon Yellow, more Tangerine, and just a splash of Kelly Green to tone down the brightness. I also added more water and salt to the dye pot, mixed it more thoroughly, and tested strips of white cotton muslin before I decided I was satisfied with the color. The shoelaces took the dye much more readily than the muslin, and when I rinsed them out they resembled whole wheat spaghetti! But I was ok with them being more brown than orange. I just didn't want them to clash horribly with the boots. I let them dry for a full day, and lo and behold!
But I still had more dyeing to do. This one was the big one, both in size and in scope. Remember my green straw bonnet from last year? Well, I loved it and all, but I wanted to be able to wear it with more things. Specifically, this green ribbon sash I bought from Dames a la Mode:
See how horribly the two greens clashed? Also, I wanted more contrast between the bonnet and my Blue Day Dress, since it looked too much like I was trying to match it and had failed. So I decided to dye the bonnet to match the ribbon! I knew it would be tricky, as taffeta catches the light so differently from cotton, but I would settle for a close approximation.
To my brownish-gold dye bath I added copious amounts of Kelly Green, testing swatches and adding more Lemon Yellow until I ran out entirely, at which point I began praying that I hadn't added too much green too fast. I decided to be brave and test a scrap of the bonnet fabric, and it didn't look too bad! I had actually been nervous that the bonnet fabric wouldn't take dye properly, as I'm not sure it's 100% cotton. But it took beautifully! I think I added a dash more Tangerine and then tested another scrap, this time taking it to the iron to dry it so I could see the final color. It wasn't perfect, but I decided it was as close as I was likely to get!
|Left to right: undyed scrap, first and second test scraps, final color, ribbon of goal color|
(It is here that I will point out that before I started my dyeing shenanigans, I ran my plans past Brian the Engineer. He warned me that the straw part would likely not take the dye in the same way as the fabric part, and that I might not like the result. I assured him that I was prepared for this to not go as planned, and if it was an utter failure I would just make a new bonnet. However, I was anticipating that the straw part would, in fact, absorb no dye as I was sure that it was not a natural fiber. But I am pleased to say that we were both wrong! Well, I was more wrong than he was. :p The straw DID absorb the dye in much the same way as the fabric, and I DID like the result!)
I was worried initially that I had let it soak too long, as it was much darker and greener than I was going for. But I did know that I needed to let it dry before I could determine the final color. Being impatient, I threw the thing in the dryer with a towel to help it along. I am pleased to say that I LOVE the final color! It is as close as I could have gotten to the ribbon sash, and I think it makes the design look much more cohesive and planned-out. I do love it when things work out that way. :)
It looks like a completely different bonnet! For reference:
I'm definitely liking the new look better. :D And look at all of the things it matches now!
|I am midway through hemming the paisley shawl, and I've worn the ribbon sash and the gloves together previously.|
I plan to use these to create fun shoe clip decorations for my Pemberlies. Of course, it may be a while before I wear them again, as my gorgeous new Hartfields currently hold most of my shoe-related affection.