a new dress for little Pommie

Pommie in her new dress

One day last week, I set off on a nature walk with Little Daughter. We went down the road to Oak Tree Corner where we noticed that ground squirrels had been making meals out of pomegranates. The peels were scattered just in front of the burrow at the base of the oak. This reminded me to get to juicing some of the pomegranates that we picked on a neighbor’s property in the fall. So, when we got home, I set about the very messy task. The lovely red juice got me to thinking: Could this be used as a fabric dye?

I went to my fabric stash and pulled out a plain piece of white cotton cloth. I tore out a small square of it. Using the pulp from the pomegranate seeds and a small pan of hot water, I made a dye bath. I boiled the cloth in the dye bath for one hour, stirring occasionally. Then I let the cloth sit in the dye bath overnight. Well, after rinsing the cloth, I found that it was now a fine lavender color.

Inspired, I went online and looked up more information about using pomegranate as a dye. Well, what I found was a surprise! I found that it is common in India to get an ochre color from the pomegranates and they achieve this by using the rinds as the dye. So, I pulled some of the rinds from the compost pail and set to work on another little piece of white cotton cloth. Using the same process as before, I did get a yellowish color. However, when the cloth was rinsed and dried, it looked, to me, to be more like an unbleachedĀ muslin or tea-dyed.

Little Daughter’s baby doll came clothed with one uninteresting pajama outfit that was hard to take off and put on. I decided to use this dyed cloth to make her a new dress. I set about drawing a pattern on a piece of scrap paper. As I began sewing up the dress and trying it on the doll, I realized that it would need some adjustments. I redesigned the pattern with more room in the arms and less in the neck opening, plus I decided to make a back closure from velcro. (The head of a doll is just too big to slip a dress over and still have the dress stay on the body!) So, the second try came out much better and I have taken a picture of it for you to see. The body of the dress is made with the pomegranate rind dyed cloth. The green dot fabric is a scrap that was in my fabric stash. I did not buy materials to make this but just used what was on hand. Little Daughter was so happy to give a new look to her doll. And, since the doll had been unnamed as yet, we decided to call her Pommie, after the pomegranates!

What can you make with materials on hand to freshen a toy that your child already has?

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