Clothing to dye for

Tie dye is classic hippy style, but I don’t actually always like it. I think it works best when you’ve got subtle shades of the same colour happening, rather than as many different bright colours you can throw onto a t-shirt at once. Shades of pink from bright to pale to white looks girly and pretty and can be quite fairy-like. Ocean blue greens look lovely together and remind me of summer holidays and mermaids.

When I was pregnant with my first child, we were kindly given lots of hand-me-down baby clothes, including several baby-grows and vests that were once white, but were now stained and looked a bit grubby. Apart from that, they had plenty of life left in them, so we bought a couple of packets of dylon and set to work making various patterns. Not yet knowing the sex of the baby, we went for purples. We got so many compliments on those baby grows – I wish I had set up a hand-dyed baby grow business there and then. Oh well! Never mind, other people thought of it too and you can now buy some fabulously dyed outfits for babies.

A dark colour and black always looks good too; especially purple or red. This often has a pagan or witchy feel about it and is great on long dresses.

You’ve also got to be careful of the pattern. My preference is when the fabric has been scrunched and dyed for an all-over random effect. Lines across the item of clothing usually look good, but be warned of circles – the technique where you put a marble or something into the material and tie up the area around it so that afterwards you’re left with circles spreading from a central point. For some reason on men’s t-shirts, the point is right in the middle, highlighting even a slightly over-weight stomach. On women’s tops, two circles seem to always highlight the nipples – fine if you’ve got the confidence for this eye-catching look, but not so good when one of the tie-dyed circles is a bit wonky!

Sources: Mountain Girl Clothing, Singin’ a Sweet Song and ilovewaterlily.

  • Passive Aggressive Lunch Notes
  • Handknit Hugs
  • Rainbow Crochet Toasties
  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • Fabric Balloon Ball For Big & Little Kids
  • Crescent Maille
  • Fiber Jewelry by Susan Sanders
  • Modern Lutheran Jello

Get Lucky

I have heard that for every 10,000 three-leaf clovers, there is only one with four leaves. No wonder it’s so hard to find one! Still, when you get the chance, who can resist searching to find the one that is guaranteed* to bring a little luck? If nothing else, the tiny thrill that comes with plucking one from amidst a tangle of green leaves and stems is worth the time spent looking.

That’s exactly how I feel about shopping for handmade goods; especially those of the recycled/upcycled variety. Once I started buying one-of-a-kind items, I was no longer content to browse the racks and racks of identical stock at the local big-box store. I’m unique, so why should I settle for anything ordinary? It never fails – every time I discover a fabulous new find, I can’t help but feel grateful and lucky that there are clever people out there putting out their amazing wares just for me…ok, and you, too. I’m always willing to share.

You might have to fight me for this bag, though. Designed by Karen Meyers, this gorgeous little bag (above) was born from a handknit wool sweater that had fallen prey to a hungry moth or two. Karen, a finalist in the 2007 Independent Handbag Designer Awards and busy mother of two, saw the potential, added some trims from her stash, and turned the old sweater into a beautiful, functional accessory. The decorative clover button was added for a little bit o’ luck.

Another great find is this fabulous belt buckle (above) by Amanda of Vintage in Retrospect. Upcycled from a discarded Oklahoma license plate, it’s a perfect example of the kind of cool stuff that you can only get from someone who is both creative and unafraid to hop into a dumpster or two. Aren’t we lucky to have brave gals like Amanda willing to take the plunge, so to speak, for us?

The statement “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is becoming so cliché, but amazing made-from-trash items like this shamrock from Jong Jong Boutique are truly to be treasured. The self-taught multi-media artist behind the piece (above), is known for her passion for upcycling; so much so that friends and relatives will often leave their recyclables on her doorstep, rather than at the curb. It takes more than good fortune to turn a pile of soda cans and some salvaged copper wire into something this lovely, though; it takes a whole lot of creativity, skill and patience. The luck comes to the person who gets to enjoy the finished product day after day.

Sometimes, though, luck can be elusive and there are “those days” when you just can’t catch a break. This silver pendant (above) by Beads in the Belfry is perfect for those of us who sometimes get passed over by Lady Luck. Legend has it that the four leaves on the clover represent hope, faith, love and luck. In the case of this “almost four leaf clover“, I guess three out of four ain’t bad.

* Disclaimer: the author and tryhandmade.com cannot guarantee luck, unforeseen fortune or sudden windfalls. But, don’t let that stop you from trying.

  • Passive Aggressive Lunch Notes
  • Handknit Hugs
  • Rainbow Crochet Toasties
  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • Fabric Balloon Ball For Big & Little Kids
  • Crescent Maille
  • Fiber Jewelry by Susan Sanders
  • Modern Lutheran Jello