Iridescent Silk Chiffon

Iridescent silk chiffon has a shimmery,luminous glow to it. It changes hue and/or shade as it moves. Unlike all the other silks I work with, iridescent silk comes factory-dyed in several dozen colors.

Its special qualities arise from the warp and weft fibers being different shades. Take for example, this “silver” iridescent chiffon veil:

It is actually not silver at all, but rather has black threads running one direction and white threads the other direction:


Now, in another video I have made, I argued that ombre veils were superior because they have dimensionality that shows off movement better relative to solid color veil. Iridescent chiffon offers an alternative way to highlight your veil moves. It can be overdyed to make an ombre, but it also shows off movement quite nicely in its original factory-dyed condition. Check it out:

Looks like liquid silver in motion, doesn’t it? By the way, this fabric only comes in 54″ widths, so it is actually easier for me to make 54″ wide veil. Tedi is dancing with a 54″ x 3 yard veil in the above video.

As if the “silver” iridescent chiffon isn’t cool enough, it looks great overdyed. When it is overdyed, the white threads dye, and the black ones just stay black, so the end result is a color with a black underotne:


Here’s some other photos of overdyed iridescent chiffon. The first one is the silver overdyed. The others are overdyed peacock blue or light pink iridescent chiffons.

Here’s another look at iridescent silk chiffon in motion — this time a teal/peacock overdyed ombre and a handpainted peacock pattern.


You can purchase iridescent chiffon veils in my etsy store:

Functionality of Ombre Veils

An ombre veil is more than just a way to bring several colors together. The ombre brings something to your dance over and above what can be achieved with a solid color veil, or a mottled, tie dyed, or randomly blotchy veil.

A 2.5 minute video is worth a thousand pictures; my dance partner Tedi provided me with several hours of barrel turns holding various veils so you can see what I’m talking about. (As an aside, don’t you hate instructional/informative type videos where the narrator starts out with that ear-piercing “Hi everyone!” and then proceeds to ramble in front of the camera for waaayyyy too long? You click one minute forward into the video and they are still rambling uselessly, so you click two minutes in, three, four. Finally you get to the 15 seconds of useful information in the five minute video? I hate that. I promise to never waste your time like that. The video that youtube tries to make you watch after this one will probably be one of those.)

In a nutshell, the ombre itself brings dimensionality to the veil. It distinguishes the two edges of the veil in 3 dimensional space, so that what you are doing shows up better. The effect is particularly striking on a big stage.  This 3 dimensionality shows up whether the edges are contrasting colors as in the video, or whether the ombre is more subtle. For this reason, when customers ask me for a solid veil, I will usually suggest a subtle lighter to darker gradient of their desired color. It just provides depth to veil in motion; even a subtle difference brings dimensionality to the veil in motion.

An alternative strategy to highlighting movement is with a lengthwise gradient in which the colors transition across the 3 yard dimension of the veil. These aren’t as popular, and for a long time I thought they were inherently inferior. I recently made one by error and was quite surprised. Here is a side by side comparison. I found the way it highlighted movement different and delightful from the usual ombre.

And finally ombres provide options in terms of the direction of the gradient that we hold. Depending on the the colors of your ombre, your costuming, and the lighting, you might decide one direction lends itself more to what you are trying to create with your dance. You can also change the edge you are holding during a dance and play up that contrast.

What about painted designs? I try to do them on a gradient background if possible, for just all these reasons.

I Love Jacquard Silk Acid Dyes

dyejar2I do not keep it a secret that I use acid dyes almost exclusively for my silk art. I love me some Jacquard silk acid dyes. Why? Let me count the ways…

1. what you see is what you get. Whatever color the dye looks dissolved in water is the color it will dye the fabric. Okay, there’s instinct involved in mixing colors, and there are nuanced idiosyncrasies of specific colors that are learned through experience, but these dyes work with me, not against me. Customers ask me for very specific colors , and it is workaday for me to mix those colors up. It has to be, because custom-dyed gradients are the bread and butter of my business. Customers want veils that coordinate and/or contrast properly with their costumes, not veils that clash. Baby pink, shell pink, dusty rose pink, hot pink, slightly-peachy-pink-but-not-quite-peach-enough-to-call-peach pink. No problem. No hassle, no worries. I got it. Most of the time, to be honest, I don’t even dye a test swatch. I just analyze the color by eye, then add the necessary mixture of colors to the pot and dye the silk.

All this is in contrast to fiber-reactive dyes (like Procion MX), which shift horribly on silk. Mix up teal and you get kelly green. Mix kelly green and you get yellow. Mix one kind of brown and you get some other kind of brown. Or maybe something not brown at all, like orange. Do elaborate “corrections” and still not get what you want. Yeah, no thanks. I do not have time for that nonsense.

2. They blend. Trying to do smooth ombres with fiber reactive dyes is awful. The most oft-touted “pro” of fiber reactive dyes (their high washfastness) is one of the reasons they are so poor for making ombres. Once they’ve reacted and bonded with the fiber at the molecular level, they will. not. budge. Which means they won’t blend or smudge into another color very well. Acid dyes can be coaxed to come off a little bit in extremely hot water (as in nearly simmering), and can be partially replaced by another color by overdyeing, which allows them to be blended together. (They are still washable; I recommend warm or cool water.)

3. They get super bright and super intense. If you want pale or earthy, I can do that too with acid dyes, but so many belly dance costumes are bold, bright jewel tones. Not saying it is impossible with other dyes, but acid dyes make some of the absolute brightest and most intense colors.

4. Black is black. Because when you need black, murky maroon just doesn’t cut it. True black is virtually impossible to get on silk with fiber-reactive dyes, but easily achievable with Jacquard’s jet black acid dye.

5. In 18 years, I’ve never had one of their standard colors vary from batch to batch. I also use some of Dharma Trading’s house brand acid dyes for silk, but so far they seem to have more batch-to-batch variability, which causes me some distress.

6. They are versatile and work for all of the techniques I like to use: vat dipping, low immersion, painting, shibori, etc.

If you’ve been itching to try silk dyeing, I highly recommend to give Jacquard Silk Acid dyes a try. You can purchase them at Dharma Trading

So, silk artists, what do you use and why?

Beautiful things that inspire me


This is my pinterest “inspiration” board, full of beautiful images that I love to look at to get my creative juices flowing. Some of them I have interpreted as silk paintings. Others I want to.

Follow Sedonia’s Silk Creations’s board inspiration on Pinterest.

From this board, here is my top list of things I want to turn into a veil design:

Monteczuma’s last remaining headdress:
Monteczuma's Last Remaining Headdress

Johnny Jump Ups:


Sphagnum Moss Cells:
moss cells

Bad-Ass Scarab:

Faience Necklace:


Which one should I paint next?

[Please note that I did NOT call this post “She assembles a pinterest board. What she does next is AMAZING!!!” or even “Seven veils I need to paint now!”. You’re welcome.]


Fairly regularly, I get requests for gold veils with the caveat “please not yellow”. Rest assured, if you request “gold” from me, you will NOT get yellow! Gold and silver are a bellydancer’s “neutral” tones. Gold/black and Silver/black gradients are my best-selling gradients for a good reason: they’ll go with lots of costumes. My “gold”, while not truly metallic of course, are made to match your gold beads, sequins, and coins. Combined with the natural luminousness of the silk, they really do look almost metallic gold. I can even tweak the dye mixture to go with old/tarnished gold tones, or bright gold (or perhaps I should call these options 10k, 14k, and 24k). Your choice. Gold also pairs especially well with purples, pinks, reds, teals, and well, just about anything for a gradient veil.

_DSC8448 goldpurple tobaccokissed