Silk taffeta is one of those exotic fabrics - sturdy and elegant at the same time, usually reserved for wedding and ball gowns. I have often admired it and being 'old school' still love the 'crisp' and 'royal-ness' of it. One of the things I love about taffeta is that it has sound. It has swish when you walk and provides another dimension to make this fabric so exotic. After admiring several pieces one day at my studio, I said  to myself "No one wears fabric like this anymore", how can I make it more accessible to those who love beautiful fabrics? , how does one incorporate this she-she fabric into the easy-care "soft" fabrics of our day and fit into the lifestyle of convenience that so many fashions fit into now? 

What I decided to do was to put it in the washer and take the starch out of it. Initially I was a bit disappointed because all the sizing (starch) had been removed, which produced a somewhat, if not very different fabric, but then I saw how much more wearable and accessible garments would be with this approach. It was already shrunk and it could be worn over and over - even with the wrinkles, which I think add their own certain charm.  

Here is a detail of  the indigo fabric that I used for the appliquéd circles on the front and back of the tunic. They were cut out of the left over fabric and green silk organza backing was added. This backing gives the circles added definition and 'dimension'. 

              Here I am with the large vat; soaking the taffeta fabric before dying. 

One of the pieces of silk taffeta before I dyed it. There were different pieces I dyed. Some were striped and others were checked. 

Immersing the fabric in the indigo. 

  

Taffeta fabric hanging to dry on the beautiful wooden racks. After drying I gathered the different pieces onto the grass to see how they all looked together. 

Light shining through the dyed taffeta to produce a 'cathedral window' image. 

 

 

February 06, 2017 by Kathleen O'Grady

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