Sara's Bloom

Julie Yonge © 2008

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I consider myself quite a lucky lady to live close to a city that has one of the largest and most wonderful quilt markets and shows in the world. I was fortunate this past year to be able to attend the Houston International Quilt Market on behalf of CQMagOnline and was privy to some amazing artists and products, and throughout the year I will be sharing these with you.

For the April issue, I would like to share the products of Sara’s Bloom. Sussan Riahi, the owner of Sara’s Bloom has designed, embellished and sold clothing throughout her entire life. Although this was my first time to attend Market, I have been going to the Houston International Quilt Show for many years and Sara’s Bloom has been there for about the last seven, when Sussan saw a need in the market for beautiful materials on which to embellish. She chose to make available beautiful Venice laces, appliqués, ribbon flowers and other trims that “go with” garments and other special projects. Sara’s Bloom also features a lace dying kit that enhances her beautiful selection of laces; you always see a crowd around Sussan watching her demo painting her laces. In her booth are art pieces and wearable items to which these beautiful painted laces have been added and even embellished further. She shared that often she can save a favorite jacket, scarf or shawl by adding dyed lace or appliqués to the piece, and she had some examples of several she had done in her booth that were just breathtaking.

The Sara’s Bloom dye kit has seven different colors that can be used as they are, diluted, or mixed to create custom colors. They are permanent lace dyes, washable and are quite reasonably priced. I purchased a kit and thoroughly enjoyed playing with them on some lace and appliqués. Anyone can do it!

In the kit, there are seven bottles of the dye with caps on them, but there are dropper tops which are added once you are ready to use them. You can actually use the small caps for your palette, or just use a small plastic water color palette dish. Once you shake the bottles well, and lay down a plastic drop cloth you are ready to go. You just put a few drops of the different colors either into the bottle caps or your plastic palette dish and then add water to them.

Of course, the depth of color you want depends on how much water you will use….the more water, the more pastel the color. Dampen your lace or appliqué and then, using her Japanese style brushes, put a small amount of dye onto the lace – it will bleed out a bit since your piece is damp.

Then add another color next to that and watch the two shades blend together. If you want more blending, just add water (which I did with a small spray bottle I kept on hand). After you have achieved the desired look for your project, let the lace air dry completely. (Note: A fun thing to do at this point is to blot the lace with a paper towel. You get a beautiful lace outline on your paper towel that can be kept and used for another type of project).

After the piece is fully dry, iron the piece to achieve a softer more beautiful finish (adds a bit of sheen). Note that ironing just adds a softer finish, but the piece is permanently dyed without the ironing once it is dry. And, the colors will be lighter once dry.

However, I found that I could go back and over-dye if I needed to deepen a color.

I found that painting lace and appliqués can be quite addictive; you won’t want to stop until everything you have has been dyed! This really does make it easy to get beautiful variegated pieces. With the Sara’s Bloom dye kit, you can quickly and easily get wonderful results and you don’t have to be an artist at all….the dyes and the technique do all the work for you.

I would also recommend visiting the Sara’s Bloom website,  to see all the Venice lace, appliqués, trims and other embellishing “treats” offered there.

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