Purple plum

I’m just now getting around to sharing this project, which I made during my Introvert’s Birthday. It also made an appearance on Day 2 of Me-Made-May this year.


I used the same ever-abundant tan linen as my Shibori Satsuki to make this dress, and then dyed it. I hadn’t made the pattern before (Simplicity 2360), so I didn’t want to dive in with nice fabric! The looser silhouette didn’t look like it required a muslin, however, which proved true. I think I would only make a couple of small tweaks if I make this dress again: take in the princess seams a bit, and lengthen the bodice 1″ or 1.5″ instead of 2″. And I’d love to try it the pattern using a sheer or lace overlay.

I dyed the dress in two stages. First, I scrunched up the fabric and wrapped it tightly with rubber bands. Then I dyed it blackish-blue. The pattern that came out was pretty cool, and I considered keeping it as-is, but the colors weren’t very flattering.


Next, I dyed it a plummy color. A lot of the detailing disappeared; I’m not sure if it washed out or just got covered up by the purple. I got nervous about letting shibori experiments sit in the dye bath for too long. I worried that the dye would overpower my scrunching and rubber bands.  Next time, I’ll really let it sit! I used Procion MX dyes, which suggests a 20-minute period of constant stirring and a 50-minute period of occasional stirring.


This dress is easy to wear and always lifts my mood. And the fabric is unrecognizable from its humble beginnings!


I think I’ve still got 6+ yards of this tan linen stuff left… maybe it belongs in a quilt? Curtains? Bento bags? All of the above?


37 thoughts on “Purple plum

  1. This dress is super cute. It looks like the perfect summer dress, easy to throw on and still look put together! And I think your dye job is great! The only thing I have dyed is a pair of whit pants. I dyed them green and my husband now calls them my Hulk pants!

    1. Thank you! I tried dyeing white pants once. I used an orange/peach color that turned out exactly the color of my skin. From afar, I looked pants-less! Green is a much better color. 🙂

  2. Great dress and kudos to you for dying it yourself. Did you use vinegar when dying? I’m not expert with dying but I eventually want to give it a try someday. I’ve read and heard that vinegar “fixes” the dye to the fabric.

    1. Thanks, Maddie! I think that vinegar is used to fix acid dyes, which are best with animal fibers like silk and wool. I used a combo of salt and soda ash with the Procion dyes, which are intended for plant fibers. You should definitely try some dyeing!

  3. This looks great, I love the color and the subtle pattern. I haven’t ever tried dyeing fabric, it opens up a whole new realm of possibilities!

  4. This is such a lovely colour on you, despite the extra work it was definitely worth it. This is one of the patterns I had bookmarked from MMM but didn’t recognise it at first because yours looks quite different – the holy grail of patterns for me is to find truly adaptable ones. This looks like a winner! You could always sell your fabric if you are at your wits end with it, but it looks like you are doing a very good job with it’s disposal so far.

    1. Thanks, Philippa! I had a similar experience where I saw another blogger’s version of this dress and thought it was awesome. I looked up the pattern and it turned out I already owned it and was about to give it away!

  5. The dye turned out fantastically! I actually kind of love the uncertainty of the dying process, because it usually turns out great even if there’s something you’d change the next time. The dress is so cute and wearable.

    1. Thanks, Emily! I actually like that element of dyeing, too – it’s the same thing that attracted me to printmaking and black-and-white photography. After you do all the prep work, there’s some anticipation as to how the finished product will look.

  6. I love the 2 stage dye process, you ended up with something really unique. Last time I died something I didn’t realise I had a hole in my rubber glove, so I ended up dying jeans and hand a flattering shade of black! It took 3 days to fade/wash off even with vigorous scrubbing!!!

    1. Oh man, funny you mention that because the same thing happened to me with this dress with the blueish ink! Totally had a blue finger for days.

  7. Its really really really pretty. I always over complicate my hand-made items but your hand-made wardrobe is really inspiring. You obviously know what suits you, and your style and I love its understatedness.

    1. Thank you, Sophie! What a nice compliment. I actually would love to get more adventurous with my sewing! Your Project Sewn pieces were blowing my mind!

  8. Thanks for showing us your introvert birthday project! The pattern was the perfect canvas for this dye job. Looks great on.

  9. This is so gorgeous! I just recently started sewing for myself and want to give fabric dyeing a try too. I stumbled onto your blog from a Cirque du Bebe pin, and I love all your clothes!

  10. I love this dress, I think it looks great! I too love dyeing fabrics, and I secretly enjoy the utter surprise that you may get when you pull the fabric out and dry it. I once dye a calico dress (I think you guys call it muslin?) blue, and when I pulled it out and dried it off, the colour set extremely strangely and I got this weird electric green colour. To this day I have no idea how I managed it. I secretly think my housemate at the time sabotaged it to mess with my head haha!

    1. That’s too funny. Depending on the fabric, you just never know what you’re going to get! It’s a funny/fun way to experiment with new colors.

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