In part 1 of The Making of a Silk Dress Coat I walked through the planning and preparation of the design. Now we’re at part 2, let’s get into the painting!
The Gutta Outline:
Within the tacked outline of the pattern pieces I apply the gutta outlines of the flowers. I’ve used black gutta and clear gutta. Black gutta remains black and the clear gutta washes out to leave the original colour of the silk. I also tried adding some dye to the clear gutta to get the purple colour you can see – but this didn’t work, the colour just washed out with the rest of the clear gutta. I know there are other ways to dye clear gutta – but adding silk iron set dyes isn’t one of them! Lesson learnt!
Filling in the design with colour:
When the gutta was dry I started to layer the colour on. I use Pebeo Setasilk heat-set dyes. Using many layers of dye creates rich, complex colours. I find that the dyes loose their intensity as they dry so many layers are need for the effects that I want, especially on silk taffeta.
I keep the dress coat pattern pieces up on the wall as a reference as I’m painting. I also keep my watercolour studies nearby and vases of the flowers that I’m painting.
Adding Detail to the Silk Dress Coat:
After I finished the painting I took the silk off the stretcher and heat set it with an iron. This is a long process being such a large piece of silk, but it gave me a lot of time to think up my next big artwork! After I’d heat set the silk I stretched it on the fame again and then washed it to make sure the dye had set and to wash out the clear gutta.
Lastly I went back over each flower and drew some outlines with Pebeo Seta Skrib+ markers. This gave the flowers more definition in places and some added colour. These textas also allowed me to amend my failed attempts at colouring clear gutta. After heat-setting the silk one more time I stretched the silk back onto the fame. The last step before the pattern pieces are cut out and sewn into the silk dress coat is the embroidery.