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Thread: Airbrushing/Ombre Shading Technique for Dresses?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Airbrushing/Ombre Shading Technique for Dresses?

    I have been sewing competition dresses for a number of years. However, I have noticed the that dresses with airbrushing/ombre shading are extremely popular (and not to mention beautiful). I would love to offer this to my clients and expand my capabilities as a dressmaker, but I have not been able to figure out how to do it. This is very frustrating I have done a great deal of experimenting on my own, but I have not been able to produce "wearable" results (just a lot of fabric in the trash). I have done a good share of research but have not come across anything of much help.

    I have seen plenty of these types of dresses around, so there must be people out there who have mastered this technique.

    Does anyone have any experience with this technique? I am interested with information about the following:

    -What brands of paints or dyes are used, and how are the results best made colorfast?
    -Should the airbrushing be done before or after the dress is sewn together?
    -How do I get an even application?
    -Any good books or online literature on the topic
    -any other helpful information

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Tripping on the Podium
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Midwest, USA
    I've only done sewing for my daughter and a few other girls at the club, so I don't know that I've mastered the technique or produced what you would consider "wearable results". I've airbrushed several dresses, though, and the skaters have worn them and liked them.

    I use special air-brush paints from an art supply store. Unfortunately, I don't have any on hand at the moment, so I can't give you the brand name. There are both opaque and transparent paints. I've used the transparent ones successfully on white or very light colored fabric, but you need the opaque ones on darker colors - for instance, once when I did yellow airbrushing on red fabric.

    I've often applied paint to commercial dresses, so that is obviously done with the dress already finished, but I've also painted fabric after I've cut it out but before I've sewed the dress. In either case, you need to avoid wrinkles in the fabric, because it will affect the evenness of the airbrushing. With finished dresses, I usually hang them to airbrush them. Use a very light spray, and keep adding to it to darken it - trying to use a heavy spray will increase the chances of splotching. No one will notice small imperfections out on the ice, though, so don't worry about it too much. Diluting the paint with water helps it go through the air brush more easily, but you'll need more coats. I set the color by running the finished garment though the dryer - it's worked so far.

    I've tried dip-dyeing as well, but find I get a more graduated effect from air-brushing. I don't know of any books, but the people at my local Dick Blick's (now, sadly, closed) were always willing to share advice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Thank You, that was helpful.

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