Avocado Dyed Gathered Blouse

For the last several months I have been saving my avocado pits, waiting to have enough to naturally dye a large piece of fabric. We've been pretty cooped up due to the cold, so last week seemed like the perfect chance to try this new adventure!

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  • To begin I boiled 15 avocado pits in my large pot for several minutes then simmered the pits for 2 full hours. Most tutorials say 30 minutes to an hour, but I was hoping to extract as much color as possible. The water turned to a beautiful red color.
  • Next I strained out the pits and little remnants and added alum in proportion to the amount of water (alum purchased through Amazon).
  • Once that was dissolved I soaked my fabric in warm water making sure it was thoroughly damp. This helps the color take more evenly. I used half of a 100% cotton sheet I recently found second hand. It is a very high-quality sheet with a high thread count.
  • I stirred the fabric in the dye bath and made sure it was completely covered. The canning accessory came in handy to weigh down the fabric and keep it submerged. I let the fabric sit overnight in the dye, stirring a few times before I went to bed. In the morning I wasn't satisfied with the color yet, so I heated up the pot and boiled the fabric for 30 minutes, stirring continuously. Originally I didn't want to boil the fabric in fear it might be damaging, but since it was a $2 sheet, I decided I wanted to try for a richer color. 
  • After boiling I allowed everything to cool, stirred several times, and let it sit another night. By mid-day the next afternoon, I then washed the fabric in my machine on cold and did 2 rinse cycles to follow. 
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Following my dye experiment, I couldn't wait to turn the cotton into something wearable so this top happened shortly after!
The Pattern: Striped Linen Gathered Blouse Tutorial (free pattern!) by Fabrics Store
The Fabric: 100% cotton sheet, avocado dyed
The Process: After dyeing the fabric I simply cut out the pattern and followed the tutorial to create the blouse. I did 3 rows of gathering stitches and got the best gathers I've ever done!
Modifications: I made the smallest size and the shoulders and elbows were a little snug. So i let them out 1/4 of an inch into the 5/8 inch allowance and all was better!
Styling & Versatility: I haven't gravitated toward blush pinks or feminine gathers much lately. I've been drooling over clean lines and neutrals. But the natural shade of this pink is very appealing to me and the style of the tops seems to work well with it. I will wear this under sweaters, with a scarf, and hopefully enjoy it into the spring! It seems like a great top to wear around Easter when it's still cold, but you want those lighter colors.
Overal Review: For the pattern, I might suggest sizing up b/c of the slim fit of the arm, but overall it was a quick and painless make. The tutorial calls for linen but this heavier cotton worked very well. I am happy with the top and proud I branched out to try my hand at natural dyeing! I will deifintely be doing it again!

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