Summer in Taiwan is always hot! We have temperatures up to 36 degrees, with a heat index over 40. Needless to say what you wear makes a huge difference to how you feel. Every summer I tend to make my own clothes. Taiwan has an abundance of Japanese sewing books to choose from, packed full of simple, easy-to-sew patterns. Check out www.japanesesewingbooks.com for patterns and reviews in English.
I buy my fabric from Yongle market in DiHua Street here in Taipei. It's a textiles wonderland, with bolts and bolts of everything you could possibly imagine. I always buy 100% cotton or linen blend fabric. This year I decided to try something a bit different.
This top is made from 100% cotton gauze. It's light and airy and so so soft. I bought a yard, scoured and mordanted the fabric, then cut from my trusty tank top pattern. Next, I wanted to create a unique 'splash' effect on both sides. So I sprinkled it with madder powder. Next I added marigolds from my dye garden, making sure to spread all the dyestuff evenly. The madder powder gives quite a bright pink so I didn't want a big clump in one corner. You don't actually need much dyestuff to create a good effect. I still wanted a fair amount of white to show through but if you prefer more colour you can add as much or as little as you like.
Next I dampened the fabric, folded it in half and rolled it tightly, securing it with string. The bundle was put it in a steamer for about an hour, then left to cool down.
When I unrolled the bundle, the marigolds and dyestuff had left amazing imprints on the fabric.
I would recommend this type of lightweight fabric as it seems to absorb alot of the colour quite easily in a relatively short amount of time. Finally, I sewed the side seams, hemmed the edges and pressed it on a cool setting. Can't wait to wear my unique, one-of-a-kind, plant designed top this summer. All thanks to Mother Nature.