Fabric printing project – preparation

I have been making Lino prints ready to experiment printing on fabric with procion dyes with inspiration from Ikat woven fabric and Ottoman textile design

I have used fabric paints in the past however as these are pigment based the prints are stiff and change the nature and drape of the fabric. Dyes are permanent and do not affect the hand.

Chemical ingredients

  • Soda Ash (Sodium Carbonate) – to fix the dye
  • Water
  • Urea –  increases the brightness and intensity of dyes
  • Sodium Alginate – to thicken the dye mixture to a print consistency
  • Procion dyes – I will start with 4 colours – magenta, royal blue and lemon yellow and black. With this selection I should be able to mix many different colours and tones.
  • Synthrasol – to remove any trace of dye in the final wash

Equipment

  • Safety: face mask, rubber gloves and heavy apron
  • Table – lined with cardboard and topped with a plastic cover
  • Large plastic jug
  • Large bucket
  • Plastic spoons
  • Wooden spoons
  • Glass jars to store the thickened dye
  • Paint brushes
  • Rollers
  • Lino prints
  • Prepared sticker for the fabric pieces
  • Log book
  • Camera
  1. Pre soak the fabric – I have bought fabric that is already prepared for dyeing and will soak this in a Soda Ash solution over night
  • Mix 3/4 cup Soda ash with 7 Litres water in a large bucket and stir until the soda has dissolved. Then add half the fabric and leave to soak.
  • Wring out the fabric and then spin in the washing machine to remove excess water. The fabric must remain wet for dyeing.

2. Mix the dye base for 1.5 metres fabric:

Put on the face mask, gloves and apron

Mix together in a large plastic jug:

  • 4 cups warm water
  • 3/4 cup urea
  • 1 tbsp sodium alginate

Mix well with a whisk as the mixture blends and thickens. Divided the paste base into 4 glass jars.

3. Prepare the fabric

As I am experimenting at this stage I will cut the pre-soaked fabric and unsoaked fabric into 20cm squares and lay them across the prepared table.

4. Mixing the dyes

  • Face mask, gloves and apron on
  • Add 4 teaspoon of soda ash to the paste base and mix in well
  • Measure out 1/2 teaspoon of dye powder into a glass jar and add 1-2 teaspoons of water and mix to a paste – it is important not to add too much water and to mix the dye very well so that it has all been dissolved. Unmixed particles of dye will cause streaking on the fabric.

Repeat this process with the other 3 dye colours.

N.b. Once the dye has been mixed with the soda ash in the dye mixture the dye will have short shelf life – maximum 4 hours so my experiment will have to be completed in that time

Experiments

Use a soak and unsoaked piece of fabric for each experiment. First label the fabric with:

  • S – soaked
  • US – unsoaked
  • Technique
  • Start time
  • Completion time
  • Comments in log book

Techniques

  • a. Lino print
  • b. Brush strokes – wide and fine
  • c. Water colour – spraying extra water on the fabric to see how the paste behaves
  • d. Stencilling
  • e. Printing with a range of shapes – leaves, pasta etc

Finishing

  1. Leave 1/3 fabric pieces on the table for 90 minutes before washing.
  2. Leave 1/3 fabric pieces on the table covered lightly with cling film for 4 hours before washing.
  3. Leave 1/3 fabric pieces on the table covered lightly with cling film over night for about 16 hours+ before washing.

Finally rinse out the fabric in cold water until the water runs clear and then wash with Synthrapol to remove any last traces of dye.

Questions

  • Does pre soaking the fabric make a difference to the final colour and design and colourfastness?
  • Which printing method is most effective?
  • Which colours look best with a white background?
  • Which colour combinations work?
  • Which techniques work well together?

References:

Books

How to dye your own fabric
Margo Price, Andrew Moore

 

 

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Fabric dyeing project

I have never used procion dyes before and have decided to dye and print my fabric for a range of jackets with an Asian ottoman theme.

Researching I have found some good tips for using dyes thickened with sodium alginate to paint or print onto fabric by Alyson Provax

Alyson Provax – printmaker and experimental dyer in Portland, Oregon. Her prints are available through Uprise Art, and her work will be shown in Variable States: Prints Now at Upfor Gallery in Portland this spring. Find her at alysonprovax.com

Pattern design – thoughts

  • Lino cut printing
  • Free hand painting
  • Flowers – tulips, roses, hyacinths, carnations pomegranates
  • Blues and turquoise, maroon, purple and gold, orange and serene greens

 

  • Free machine embroidery
  • Simple jacket design – no darts or extra seams
  • Loose fitting, comfortable, elegant, individual, colourful, excellent

Materials and equipment

  • Procion dyes
  • Urea
  • Soda ash
  • Sodium alginate
  • Mask and gloves
  • Buckets and plastic jugs, spoons and cups, wooden spoon, lots of towels and cardboard to work on
  • Lino cuts, paint brushes
  • Fabrics: Cotton/viscose Ottoman rib Siberia natural, Barkweave cotton, Linen/cotton Manetti (Whaleys of Bradford)

Everything is ordered and will be ready to go by next week – watch this space…..

 

 

Ottoman garment fabrics and patterns 1.

Gomlek

The under shirt (chemise)

17thC image British Museum archive depicting a white gomlek under a hirka or short entari

Fabrics

Finest, translucent woven cotton or silk fabric was used to make the under garments. There are examples of men’s winter gomleks made of fine wool. This garment was very wide and loose and often reached to the ankles, with generously wide, long sleeves.

Gomlek pattern

Entari

The entari was a decorative indoor coat cut in several designs:

16thC Ottoman ladies

Long to the floor:

  • sleeveless
  • short sleeved
  • long sleeved – tight fitted at the top widening below the elbow

Short to below the hips:

  • sleeveless
  • short sleeved
  • long tight sleeved

Fabrics

The most popular fabrics were heavy silks such as brocaded silk, velvet, brocaded silk with metallic threads in lampas structure, and clothe of gold and silver. Colours – rich reds and yellows, some blue but green was rare until the 18th century

Entari pattern

 

 

Whirling dervishes

The Order of the Whirling Dervishes is one branch of the vast Sufi tradition of Islam.The ritual dance SEMA began with the inspiration of Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi (1207-1273) and was influenced by Turkish customs and culture.

The Mevlevi Order was founded by the followers of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi (popularly referred to as Rumi) in 1273. Rumi was a 13th century Islamic spiritual leader who was born in 1207 in Balkh in present day Afghanistan. With the onset of the Mongol invasion of Central Asia between 1215 and 1220, Rumi’s family journeyed westwards, eventually settling down in Konya, Anatolia, in present day Turkey.

One of Rumi’s most fruitful friendships was with Shams-e Tabrizi, whom he met at the age of 37. Among other things, Shams had introduced Rumi to music, poetry and dance as a mystical way of connecting with the divine. It is these artistic expressions that are the characteristic features of the whirling dervishes of the Mevlevi Order, which was founded after Rumi’s death by his son, Sultan Veled, his disciple Çelebi Hüsamettin, and his grandson Ulu Arif Çelebi.

Ancient origins

Pro-marker pen on water colour paper © Molly Williams

The Ritual Dance or Sema

The Mevlevi Ritual dance consists of several stages with different meanings:

The first stage, Naat-i Sherif, is a eulogy to the Messenger of Islam and the all Prophets before him, who represent love. 

The Naat-i Sherif is followed by a Taksim, an improvisation on the reed flute or neyThis expresses the divine breath, which gives life to everything.

Then follows the Sultan Veled procession or Devr-i Veled, accompanied by peshrev music; this is a circular, anticlockwise, procession three times around the turning space. The greetings of the semazen, or whirling dervishes, during the procession represent the three stages of knowledge: ilm-al yaqin (received knowledge, gained from others or through study), ayn-al yaqin (knowing by seeing or observing for oneself) and haqq-al yakin (knowledge gained through direct experience, gnosis).

During the Sema itself there are four selams, or musical movements, each with a distinct rhythm. At the beginning, during and close of each selam, the semazen testify to God’s existence, unity, majesty and power:

The First Selam represents the human being’s birth to truth through feeling and mind. It represents his complete acceptance of his condition as a creature created by God.

The Second Selam expresses the rapture of the human being witnessing the splendor of creation in the face of God’s greatness and omnipotence.

The Third Selam is the rapture of dissolving into love and the sacrifice of the mind to love. It is complete submission, unity, and the annihilation of self in the Beloved. This is the state that is known as nirvana in Buddhism and fana fillah in Islam. The next stage in Islamic belief is the state of servanthood represented by the Prophet, who is called God’s servant foremost and subsequently His ‘Messenger.’ The aim of Sema is not uncontrolled ecstasy and loss of consciousness, but the realization of submission to God.

In the Fourth Selam, just as the Prophet ascends to the spiritual Throne of Allah and then returns to his task on earth, the whirling dervish, after the ascent of his spiritual journey, returns to his task, to his servanthood. He is a servant of God, of His Books, of His Prophets, of His whole Creation.

This is followed by a recitation from the Qur’an, the Sura (Chapter) Mary on the miracle birth of Jesus and his mission.

At the end, by the salute, the dervish demonstrates again the number ‘1’ in his appearance, arms consciously and humbly crossed, and, by this, the unity of God.

The ceremony ends with a prayer for the peace of the souls of all the Prophets and believers.
After the completion of the Sema, all the dervishes retire silently to their rooms for meditation and further remembrance of God.

The whirling dervishes

Click on the link above to be directed to a Youtube video

Dervishes

Ottoman 15th C -17th C woman’s costume

Women’s everyday wear did not change greatly during this time and comprised of:

Underclothes

Salvar (trousers) that were very baggy at the waist tapering to the ankles. The salvar were often coloured though did not usually match the rest of the outfit.

Gomlek (a chemise) that was mid-calf length and made from a transparent diaphanous fabric usually depicted in white.

The Hirka or fitted jacket was worn over the gomlek and might be  sleeveless or have long tight sleeves or wide short sleeves. I suggest this was dependent on the weather! The jacket was buttoned to the waist. A sash or belt was tied at to just below the waist or on the hips.

The entari was worn over the hirka as a more formal dress. This garment was of a similar cut to the hirka but longer to the floor. Both the hirka and the entari were buttoned to the waist leaving the skirts to flare out. The top buttons were often left open to the underside of the bust allowing the entari to gape open. A sash or belt was worn about the hips.

Ferace – indoor clothing was highly coloured and very eye-catching however when a woman went outside she would cover herself modestly with a ferace. This was a simple overcoat in a dark sombre colour, buttoned to the throat. She would also cover her face with a yashmak.

 

There is mention of another garment – the yelek – a jacket worn over the entari, often lined with fur.

 

 

Ottoman kaftan construction – linings

The Clothworkers Centre in London have several Ottoman kaftans in its archive and I have visited the centre to examine some of their examples. I was interested to see how the kaftans were cut and details of the stitching.

The archive kaftan pieces are typical of work made in the Ottoman court workshops during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Fabric weave were a Lampas  (4:1 satin and 1/3 twill). Fabrics were sumptuously made with silk warps and wefts and included metallic yarn as a brocaded weft. They were woven on looms producing a width of between 66cm and 68.5cm and, because of this width restriction, only the smallest of kaftans could be cut completely within the width – larger body sizes required fabric inserts.

 

Star design child’s kaftan

The main colours were white/cream and red with some blues and  yellow. Green was seldom used as there were no natural green dyes and the colour had to be made by over dying yellow with blue. The metallic yarns were made by loosely wrapping yellow and white yarns with silver strips – the white yarn enhancing the silver and the yellow coming through the silver creating a gold colour.

This “star” design kaftan illustrates how a small kaftan could be cut from one width of fabric with a separate gore added on the right side to complete the shape. Pattern pieces were cut to fit the fabric with as little wastage as possible.

Linings and stitching

This image shows the back/lining details of the Star kaftan. Bias cut facings (12cm wide) of red/orange silk are stitched around the openings – sleeves, neck,front, and hems. Facings are found in blue, red, orange and rose colours and sometimes match the main colour of the kaftan. The facings are attached to the kaftan by  single seam.

Floral design kaftan

The lining, if any, was inserted under the facing and the free edge of the facing was turned under once and stitched into place:

 

 

These kaftan had a long narrow pocket on the right hand side, between 6-9.5cm wide and 25-32cm long, and were attached to an opening on the side seam. Pockets were made from the same loosely woven fabric as the linings.

 

V&A 16th & 17th C Ottoman children’s kaftans

http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O85101/kaftan/

16th C Ottoman children’s kaftans V&A museum

The V&A  collection of children’s kaftans were worn by Ottoman princes who died in childhood. These luxurious kaftans were placed over the graves of the deceased children and preserved in the imperial tombs. In 1595 the nineteen younger sons of Sultan Murat III were executed on the orders of their half-brother Mehmet III on his succession. The killing of younger heirs of the sultanate evolved to prevent any struggling for succession (interesting that this is also practiced by male lions that kill the cubs when taking over a pride). This cruel practice was never repeated after 1595.

Weave and fabric construction

‘Lampas’ weave – 4:1 satin with a 1/3 twill. Silk warp and weft with a third element – a metallic silver wrapped white or yellow silk weft brocade. Loosely silver wrapped white silk yarns allows the white to show through the silver highlighting the metal – yellow yarn peeking through the sliver lends a gold hue to the resulting brocade. Fabric width: 66cm – 68.5cm

Yarn colours

Predominantly white and red with touches of blue and yellow. Green was rarely used as there were no natural green dyes – green was produced by over dyeing yellow yarn with a blue dye. Red is used for the warp but never the weft – why?

Textile patterns

  • Cintamani & Tiger stripes – Turkic, Central Asian origin.15thC
  • Stars & Crescents –  Designs from Constantinople. 15th century

  • Florals: Pomegranate – single and sprays of, Ogival lattice, floral lattices, blossoms, pine cones, medallions – 16th century.
  • Undulating parallel lines – 17th century
  • Geometric design were still used in the 16th and 17th centuries

Pattern drawing for the children’s kaftan

Kaftan pattern pieces V&A clothworkers centre, London

Reference

PDF: Wearden J. The Royal Garments, fabric, design, tailoring.Ottoman kaftans from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London