The Dyeing Process
When you mention "hand-dyed silk scarf", many folks automatically think of the tie-dye process that their kids do in art class at school or summer camp. The process I use is more technical and time consuming and longer lasting (!) than those t-shirts your kids brought home!
Here I will give you an overview of the many steps involved in creating this fine, silk wearable art.
1) Wash, dry, and press scarf blanks. (actually that's three steps!) This is done to rid the silk of any oils and dirt from the manufacturing process and then the hand-sewing of the edges.
2) If there is a hard-edged design, this is applied to the silk with gutta resist and allowed to dry. Don't forget creating the design, research, drawing it out full size, and drawing the design to the silk.
3) Mix and apply dye, this may take minutes or hours depending on the technique and intricacy of design. Let it dry.
4) Steaming is the next step. I build up a batch of 10-12 silks before steaming. Silks are carefully rolled between sheets of newsprint and sealed up before placing in the steamer (a long, rectangular, stainless steel box specially designed so condensate doesn't drip on the roll of silks.) It takes three+ hours of simmering on the stove.
5) After the silks have cooled, unroll them and let dry once again--they come out of the steamer slightly damp. I let them hang for at least a day in order to let the colors really set.
6) Each scarf is washed out separately in order to assure that any loose color that washes out doesn't "back stain" another scarf with different colors. This requires a wash in a special detergent to lift unengaged dye out of the silk and then they get several rinses before hanging to dry...for each scarf.
7) Each silk is then carefully pressed with a steam iron to get out any wrinkles and prepare it for the all-important product photography.
8) At this point the scarves are photographed, each one is styled in various ways (flat, scrunched, in a circle, wrapped around a mannequin bust) to give the customer a good idea of the colors and designs. No less than four shots of each one and often more to show close up details.
9) Scarves go to the sewing table where a custom label is hand-sewn on, a hang tag is created, a clever title thought of and written on the tag, along with date created, size, and my signature. (These have been previously printed on the computer and hand-cut apart, hole-punched, and hanging ribbon attached).
10) Finally, it's time to sit in front of the computer, upload the photographs, sort and edit them.
11) Create a listing for my website with a description and price and upload that information.
12) Upload pictures and descriptions to Facebook biz page.
13) NOW...the hand-dyed silk scarves are ready to sell to appreciative, discerning customers like you!
14) When you purchase a scarf is it carefully packaged, rolled around a foam roller and shipped in a tube, so as not to arrived creased and scrunched. Gift wrapping is available free of charge! Address the box, take it to the post office, and keep my fingers crossed it arrives at its intended destination! I always appreciate an email or text letting me know that it has arrived safely.