Saturday, April 14, 2012

Silk Origami Top, Dyed with Indigo and Quebracho Red

I sewed this top in about two hours, using Origami fold techniques outlined by Marina O'Connor in the March/April 1995 issue of Handwoven magazine ("Six Squares Origami Tops"). Caroline Stanis-Gage introduced the technique to our guild and, aided by my trusty Rowenta iron and Huskylok serger, I was able to make it in a size 8, without any seam allowances. Please remember that this piece does NOT allow for seams, so be sure to take that into account (using a larger piece of fabric, for example, or making a very small garment).

Here's the play-by-play description:

1) Take two China silk scarves measuring 15" wide by 60" long. Dip them in an indigo vat and then over-dye them with Quebracho red -- to achieve the gentle lilac purple that you see in the photo.

2) Sew them together at the ends so that you have one very long scarf.

3) Starting at one end, fold this long scarf into 6 perfect squares (15" x 15"). Use your iron to secure the folds.

4) Cut away the leftover edge of the fabric.

5) Cut a triangle off of the first square on the left, going from the bottom right hand corner to the top left hand corner.

6) Sew that triangle to the far right side of your rectangle, so that the triangle starts at the bottom right hand corner and ends at the top left hand corner.

7) Next, cut the piece in half, by cutting a diagonal line in the center square. Sew the pieces together -- like this:
8) Turn the piece 45 degrees clockwise, so that the squares become diamond shapes. Cut a hole in the center that is approximately 11" wide.

9) Fold the piece in half and wrap the triangles at the sides to form the body and sleeves, like this:

Ingenious, isn't it? I found that a 15" wide scarf makes a small top, so my next piece will be approximately 18" wide. This will make for a roomier, more casual fit -- one that is more accommodating to figures like mine!

This piece is for sale in my Etsy store.

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