Thursday, 27 October 2016

Handmade in the factory

I had a great day this week printing lengths of my hand-dyed cloth in the factory - these will all be sewn up into lovely cushions, aprons, teatowels, lavender bags, all sorts...for sale at up and coming Christmas markets at the Downland and Weald Museum and Crafty Fox Market in Peckham.

My print day was the culmination of 2 weeks work outside in the garden with metres of heavy, wet cloth soaking and boiling them in wood ash to mordant them (so that the dye stays) and then dipping them into my bubbling caldron of walnut and rhubarb dye. All my fabric is odds and ends recycled from the factory. At Dora Fabrics we are very sustainable!

And slow. I then had to do masses of ironing before loading the fabric onto my bike and heading down the cycle track to Shoreham and the London train.

Once I got me and my fabric to Ivo Printing factory in Southall, all the lengths had to be pinned out on our lovely long printing table - 50m!! This very time-consuming so next time I will sew them together first. The screens were them squared (so they don't print crooked!), the repeat set and the colour checked. My walnut dye had come up darker than last time so Andy our colour matcher adjusted my mustard colour - brought it up so that it had more oomph.


Shelley and Monique then got on with printing the lengths although it was a bit of a pain to wash up so many time (sorry girls and thank you Dave). They did a great job and I was very happy.

Washing up the screens is one of the wettest and coldest jobs in the factory.

I then sewed up the printed fabric so that it could be baked in the huge baker at the end of the flatbed machine. This is a truly terrifying moment as all my precious fabric disappears into this the massive boiling rollers... then appears again. Material does get lost and Podge has to climb inside and fish it out - scary!!

Finally, the material gets inspected to spot any print flaws - Rob passed my print. Thank you Rob!

Now I cycle with the fabric to Beverley who will transform it into beautiful things.

The product of lots of hard work from me and my lovely friends at Ivo Print - couldn't have done it without you - thankyou xx