Sunday, April 1, 2012

DIY Matthew Williamson Designer Scarf

Having to cut back on luxuries is par for the course in this economy. Sometimes, you see an item that just screams "Buy me", and prudently you have to fight not to give into temptation.....right? 
   Or, you can just work some magic and make something that is just close enough to haute couture that your friends won't be able to tell the difference. 

The scarf that inspired it all
By Matthew Williamson
Picture from "How to Spend It"
Financial Times
   The scarf you see is a hand dip dyed Matthew Williamson scarf that retails (in November 2011) at 275 pounds or a whopping $436 U.S. dollars. That's a bit pricey even for a City Mink. What's a mink to do? Scarves are the perfect accessory to any outfit and tangerine is THE color of the year.
    Well, its's a good thing we took al those fashion classes in school and know all about fabric dyeing and painting. We made our own DIY version for less than it takes to fill up the tank of your car. Now that's saving money! We aren't yet out of then holiday season, with Easter and Mother's Day coming up; so this beauty would make a fine present and you'll be sure to get, "Oh, you shouldn't have!" (the good kind, not the diamond encrusted underwear kind).


-You can sew your own silk scarf or you can save time and money by ordering from Thai Silks
-Rit Dye (We bought Tangerine and Black-powdered not liquid)
-Crock Pot or Metal Pot (Use something you picked up at Goodwill, you won't be cooking in this)
-String (we used some white bamboo yarn leftover from a knitting project)
-PVC Pipe (from your local hardware store)
-Paintbrush or Sponge
-Gloves (so you don't dye your hands)

You want to get your day bath ready first. Get your crock pot (or pot) and fill it with water. You want enough water that the fabric can move freely (this is more important when dyeing large quantities of fabric). Add some of the tangerine dye to the water and some table salt. The amount of dye will determine the punch of color, so use your judgement or have a couple of white cotton pieces of fabric to do some test swatches.  We dipped our edges first.
Dipped top and bottom of scarf

Dipping the sides of the scarf.

   We folded are scarf so the edges were more manageable to dye. First we dipped the sides in the dye. The longer you dip, the deeper the color. We only left the edges in for a couple of minutes. Then we rinsed the edges in warm water until the water ran clear and then set the dye by washing in cool water. Then we dyed the other set of edges and repeated the warm and then cold rinsing method.
   Next, you want to dye the body of the scarf. Using the same dye bath, we put the entire scarf in and swirled it around for a few minutes. Again, the longer it sits in the dye, the deeper the color. We don't want a very deep color.
Scarf in the dye bath

   When the scarf is ready, rinse it in warm water until the water runs clear and then set it in cold water. You can pop the scarf in the dryer and then lightly iron out the wrinkles when it's dry.
A scarf prepped for dyeing
    Now is the time consuming part, adding the stripes. To do this we are going to use a technique called Arashi Shibori (pole wrapping). Take your PVC pipe piece (the diameter of the pipe and your wrapping technique will dictate the dye pattern) and tape or tie on your string. I always use a neutral string so dye from it doesn't interfere with my piece. Place the end of the scarf on the pipe and slowly start wrapping around the scarf. As you can see above, you want to squish the fabric together both vertically and horizontally so there is fabric sticking up between your wraps. The tighter the fabric is wrapped, the less dye penetrates it.
   Prepare another dye bath, this time using black instead of tangerine. Now for the application, either using a brush or a sponge ( I prefer sponge) apply the black dye within the lighter orange color on the scarf. When you have your dye applied, let it set in for a bit. Wash the dye out of the scarf while it is still wrapped! When the water runs clear, then you can unwrap the scarf and give it a final rinse. You can let the scarf air dry, or pop it in the dryer on the delicate setting. Lightly iron to remove wrinkles and ...

VoilĂ ! A hip, hand made scarf in the color of the year.  

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