Sunday, 15 June 2014



...This little blue-bird is made out of tie-dyed ribbon and double-sided heavyweight fusible interfacing. The ribbon used is a roll of 15mm wide cotton Twill Tape Ivory from those wonderful folks at
The great thing with this ivory tape is that you can dye, stamp or colour it to make your own ribbon design. So I chose to tie-dye the ribbon and see what effects I could create.

A quick note about tie and dye: It is a 'resist' form of dyeing, which means that patterns are created by preventing dye reaching the cloth. To block out the colour uptake, parts of the cloth are either tied with thread/string, knotted or stitched and the thread pulled up (tritik). Tied parts retain the original colour of the cloth; so if for instance white cotton is then dyed blue, the pattern will appear in white against a blue background. Further tying, untying and then re-dyeing in a different colour(s) will give more elaborate patterns.

The essential things needed to tie-dye are:
  • A water supply and a sink
  • A work surface covered with plastic
  • A waterproof apron and rubber gloves
  • Elastic bands – for tying cloth
  • Sewing threads
  • A pair of scissors
  • Dye powder and bottle
  • Ribbon pre-washed
Stay Clean and Safe when Using Dyes:
    Dyes do stain. Cover your work surface with plastic and protect floors with newspaper. Always wear a waterproof apron. Dyes may irritate skin and eyes. Always wear rubber gloves when handling dyes and safety glasses if using dye in powder form. Always use dyes in well-ventilated areas. Avoid inhaling dry dye powder over an extended period. Wear a mask, if possible.
Cut several metre long lengths of ribbon and stitch, tie and dye it, as follows:
  1. Two rows of baste stitch applied along a length of ribbon. Knot ends of sewing thread at one end. Pull threads to gather ribbon and knot remaining ends of threads.
  2. Spray ribbon with water to dampen it.
  3. Add water to powder in dye bottle. Replace cap. Shake bottle to dissolve dye.
  4. Apply dye to ribbon. Do not over saturate it. Apply additional colours, if required.
  5. Wrap dyed ribbon in cling film and let set for a minimum of 6-8 hours.
  6. Rinse ribbon. Cut sewing threads and let dry.
  7. Concertina fold a length of ribbon. Stitch to secure at 90ยบ to selvedge. Repeat steps 2 to 6.
  8. Join two lengths of ribbon using fagoting stitch. Concertina fold and secure ribbon with elastic bands. Repeat steps 2 to 5. Rinse ribbon, untie elastic bands and let dry.
 It was interesting to see the final results of my tie-dye experiments. I liked the striped effects on the second sample the best, although the more subtle patterns obtained on the other samples were also pleasing. The ribbon is good quality, which really helps when sewing and tying it.

To assemble the blue-bird:
  1. Cut two bird shapes out of Pellon® Peltex® 72F double-sided fusible ultra firm interfacing.
  2. Lay sections of ribbon on one side of the interfacing. Place a small amount of wool fibre to fill in the gaps. Cover with baking parchment and iron (cotton setting) to fuse in place. Repeat for the other bird shape.
  3. Apply free-machine embroidery to each bird shape.
  4. Stitch bird shapes WS together along the edge, leaving a small gap as shown.

  5. Insert wadding to pad the bird. Slip stitch to close the gap.
  6. Use remaining lengths of ribbon to decorate the bird.
  7. Open a pack of black and white buttons from You get approximately 150 buttons in lots of different shapes and sizes in this pack, so much design inspiration. So go on, get sewing to give your bird a final bit of decoration! Enjoy your blue-bird.

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