Hello! I know it’s been quiet around here lately. We’re all doing well. I was just in need of a bit of simplifying in my life. We’ve still been busy with our projects off-line, behind the scenes, I guess. But when I heard that Shorts on the Line was back again this year, I decided to break out of my self-imposed hermitage and join in the fun again. So here we are: a hand-dyed ombre romper!
The idea for this came to me one day when I was scanning my Pinterest kids sewing inspiration board. I’d pinned the Zephyr romper by Figgy’s Patterns awhile back (it has such sweet details). And looking at it I suddenly knew I wanted to sew one in white and hand-dye it in a sea green ombre pattern. Then Shorts on the Line came to my attention and I thought, hey, a romper counts as shorts!
From the beginning I had a clear picture in my mind of how I wanted it to look.
I used (the softest ever) unbleached cream organic cotton knit and a cream woven cotton that I already had in my stash. I basted any topstitched portions, saving the topstitching for after the fabric dying since I was using Rit dye which won’t dye 100% polyester thread. It’s kinda impossible to match the thread ahead of time since the color is somewhat variable with hand dying so the easiest thing was to save any visible stitching for later. I used this ombre dyeing tutorial and did everything in a large plastic container in the bathtub.
A side note about the dye. I could not find teal Rit dye anywhere in Napa and ordering it online would have resulted in shipping costing twice as much as the bottle of dye. So I dragged myself 40 minutes away to the nearest craft store. Sometimes it’s a bit funny living in a small town that everyone has heard of. It’s still a small town in some ways despite all the wine tourism. So anyways, I bought two boxes of the powdered kind since they were out of the liquid. I used one box to dye a thrifted silk halter top that was an unfortunate pale pea soup color (which makes me look jaundiced) and to test out the color. It turned out great so I proceeded with the romper.
Unfortunately cotton doesn’t take up Rit dye as well as silk or wool so the first dye job turned out but it was lighter and more subtle than I wanted it to be. Everyone else liked it but it wasn’t the vision in my head. So at the last minute I took myself (and the surprisingly patient kids) all the way to the craft store again. This time I bought three bottles (which are double the strength of the boxes), you know, just in case I decide to dye Audrey’s whole wardrobe teal. I basically didn’t want to drive all that way just for fabric dye again anytime soon. So now, stocked up on dye, I went about re-dyeing the romper. This time I was using a whole bottle (so double strength) and I only re-dyed the bottom two-thirds of the romper, leaving the top third light. Success! This time it turned out just like in my head.
Finally I topstitched and added the elastic for the waistband and some shell buttons (I wanted to keep with the overall bohemian beach look of the outfit).
Audrey loves it and has been living in it since it was finished. Always the final test when sewing clothes for her as she can be quite opinionated and has her own definite sense of style. As for me, I’m quite smitten with this pattern. It’s the comfort of a dress and the carefreeness of shorts and a tank top with none of the worries of matching clothes. Perfect for summer.