Somedays you just want the kind of goddess dress you know you should have been wearing all along. I call this dress the Goddess Esme Dress. I debated calling it the Woodland Nymph Dress. Really could have gone either way on that. For the pattern, I used the Esme Dress Pattern from Lotta Jansdottir’s wonderful book Everyday Style.
As soon as I started playing with ice dyeing I knew I was going dive into ice dying yards of fabric. As I mentioned in this post, I was inspired by the book Hand Dyed by Anna Joyce. It is only natural to take this physically immersive experience and create a floor-sweeping dress just for myself. I happened to have in my stash a huge white 100% cotton sheet with a few stains on it from the thrift store. (Pro tip: ALWAYS buy the big white cotton sheets at the thrift store…if nothing else they make great backdrops)
One thing I love about ice dying is the unpredictability of the process. It’s so freeing to indulge in a process that isn’t precise or finicky and is instead fully free-spirited and fully joyful. I laid the fabric in folds (as is recommended in Anna’s book) and ended up with really playful mirror image portions and I positioned those at the 1/3rd mark on my body. Without that placement, I think the dress would have ended up a bit too ‘centered’ and could have risked highlighting body parts I wasn’t into highlighting.
I love how ice dying results in a kind of swirling watercolor effect. I used a lot of deep purple, turquoise and grey on the fabric but the grey really dissipated. The colors of the deep purple seemed to separate and created a lot of stunning and strong pinks. I also added bits of yellow as you can tell. I love they way they burst out together.Ice dying involves interacting deeply with your textiles. There is something about that that feeds my soul.
Anna’s book goes into all of this in depth but quickly, you start by washing your fabric and soaking it in a soda ash-water mixture. This helps it hold the color.
Then you place ice and dry dye onto the fabric and let it melt. I forgot to take photos of the actual yardage but this shows the basic idea. My husband even got sucked in and dyed a stained white tee. So cute! Once the ice has melted you rinse out the excess dye and reveal your beautiful creation. I created my fabric in the hot heat of summer and I think some of the colors would have saturated more if the ice had melted more slowly. In particular, I’m curious if the deep purple would react differently if the ice melted overnight instead of in an hour and half, you know? Same with the gray. I’m not sure but I’m definitely tempted to try out a fall ‘melting’.
I love wearing this dress and it’s become what I wear around the house when I need to feel especially feminine and fierce at the same time. Since that’s pretty much all the time, I’m frequently found swooping around in my sewing studio as the Goddess Esme.
Photo credit goes to the lovely and talented Alex Chua. Thank you!
Karen Shearer says
Melissa Q. says