Sunday, 1 November 2015

Zombies, Shibori and Me

Happy Halloween!

It's been a very eventful weekend for me.  Yesterday, Halloween coincided with a charity event held in Sydney called the Zombie Walk which is held to raise funds for research into brain cancer. This year was the first I'd heard of it but it's the sixth one. I was surprised at the size of the event. It attracts quite a crowd of participants, onlookers and photographers.

I met up with some of my photo group buddies from the Sydney Street Photographers Meetup Group. I decided to zombie up. It was such fun. I had forgotten how liberating it is to put on a costume and a face of greasepaint! I did my hair and some of my make up at home and went on the train in costume and it was amazing how few strange looks I got, just a few laughs along the line of 'she's getting ready to party early'.

Which brings me to the costume. What do the undead wear? Tattered, dirty, 'decaying' clothing and skeleton face make up, according to google, with optional latex scars and fake blood. I was going to be taking photographs so I didn't want to do latex or 'blood' and I wanted to keep it relatively simple.

Last week I had done a bit of experimental Shibori tie dyeing. Shibori is the Japanese art of pleating, folding then tying material between two blocks of wood then dyeing it blue to get that beautiful crackle effect that is on trend for summer. I googled again and found out how to do it from this
Ellle magazine article

I did not use the kit mentioned in the article but Dylon Velvet Black (really a very dark purple) for the blue effect on two pieces of white cotton. I did it in a 15L plastic tub and rinsed in the laundry sink by hand rather than using the washing machine but other than that I followed the instructions on the packet. The only thing I did differently was to put a bit of Woolmix detergent in the rinse water to stop the dyeing process, then rinse again. I wasn't sure how they would turn out but I am pleased with the result.

Stash cotton voile

Stash cotton jacquard

The dry T shirts folded and tied with lots of rubber bands

Then sandwiched tightly between off cuts of wood

For my zombie outfit I already had a pair of grungy grey 'dead' black jeans. I just need to dye some T shirts. I decided to use the same method to dye a grey T shirt and also a olive grey T shirt that I had hardly worn. I was going to layer the green over the grey.

I liked the result on the grey one so much I decided to keep it and not to shred it. 

The green one was a poly cotton mix so I had to do it twice, reheating a 2L plastic bowl of the leftover  dye mix carefully in the microwave to just simmer point on low power with the re-knotted T shirt immersed in it (no wooden blocks this time) and it worked. 

A little artwork with the pinking shears and the seam riper and I had my zombie T. I wore it over a black V necked Tank.

The colour variation is sunlight on my balcony but I took this photo as I was getting ready so it'll have to do!

I had a great time.

Me in Zombie mode
Photo above by Raymond Horsey.

There's more to tell but it'll have to wait for another post.
For more Zombie photos taken during the event see my photo blog Learning to Focus

My next sewing project will be the tie dyed voile. I have found the perfect pattern for it.

Happy sewing,


  1. Love the grey T-shirt. Oh, no, you're inspiring me. I can hardly wait for the next episode.

  2. What a lot of fun! And I love the blue dyed fabric - so pretty. You are crazy cute in your makeup and costume pic!!

  3. You looked amazing and there wasn't that make up left on on Sunday morning! Amazing photos.

    You certainly has some fun getting your costume organised, the green t-shirt worked out perfectly.

  4. Love your makeup, it is brilliant Val. As is the Zombie T which is so cleveer and effective. You have dyeing down to a fine art.


  5. Thanks everyone.
    Babsox, welcome to my blog.
    Coco. I am supposed to be scary!
    Sharon, the eyeliner took days of makeup remover to get off. Honestly.
    Patricia, there's always more to learn a bout everything. Did you know there is a Shibori museum in Kyoto? They take it all very seriously.

  6. Amazing Val, you looked quite yourself on Sunday! Zombies to Collette Dinnegan in one weekend, you do live a fun and interesting life.