As I may have mentioned before, the Abbey medieval fair is coming up in July. I will be going on the 11th with my dance group (Dance Kaleidoscope) and I discovered that when I dug out my old medieval gown it was too big (can be taken in though) and the train was way way way too long to dance in (holding it up parallel to the floor on both sides and it still drags. This is not really a good idea when you are thinking of dancing. Plus the fact that the linen seems to weigh an absolute tonne and makes the dress hard on the arms to hold up.
So, I am making a new medieval gown. I found a drawing of a 14th Century kirtle with a cotehardie over the top that I loved. And then while browsing through some John William Waterhouse paintings (one of my favourite artists) I spotted a similar medieval gown and decided that mine was to be the same colours. The painting is titled "Miranda" and the colours are a deep red for the kirtle and a blue/green for the cotehardie.
After a trip to the fabric store last weekend, I came home with my linen in colours that were close. With the intention of dying the fabric to get the correct colour. I should mention now that my brother decided that since he will be coming with me that he wanted a monk costume (it won't take long to make). But I couldn't get brown linen. My response to this was to buy yellow at $1.99 / metre. I tried dying the yellow first. Notice that I said the word "try". I used a dylon powder dye that you dissolve and add to a large bucket or tub with your fabric and salt; and ended up with a bit of a mottled pale yellow/brown. Quite horrible really.
My next attempt was on the red fabric. I couldn't get the correct colour of linen and ended up with a lighter red. This time I used idye (a newish brand). It is a lot simpler. You put everything in the washing machine (dye is in a dissolvable packet), put it on the hottest setting and let it go. No standing around and stirring the fabric required. It turned out perfectly. I followed this with dying my blue (navy) fabric with an emerald dye to give it a green tint in the light, and again perfect. So I sent my brother to spotlight to buy that brand of dye in brown. Another cycle in the washing machine and it is the exact colour that he wants and no mottled effect. Perfect.
So my lessons learnt are to never again use dylon and instead go for the idye. They even have a ipoly range for polyester fabrics. I spent the time while waiting for the washing machine to finish drafting up the patterns that I will need to make all my medieval. Thankfully the only one that really required something different was the sleeve of my cotehardie. Now, I am looking forward to cutting the fabric this week and making a start on getting them made up. The sooner the better in my opinion.