Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How To Dye Fabric Evenly

This year I decided to be bold...I bought my girls white Easter dresses. Who buys a 3 year old and a 5 year old anything stark white?? I made them a deal. Wear these pretty white dresses on Easter for some nice pictures together, then they could pick whatever color they wanted the dresses to be. Not surprisingly, Harper chose pink and Kinley chose blue.

Call me crazy, but they look adorable don't they?!

One thing I've learned from making my products for LumberJacks and Jills (link at top of blog) is that dying material can turn out splotchy if you don't follow certain steps. So I want to let you in on the secrets I've learned!

Here is a step-by-step guide to dying fabric on your stovetop without blotches or light spots:

Make sure your pot is large enough for the fabric to move around, and be sure to clean the pot first. Fill the pot 2/3 full with hot water and the recommended amount of salt per your dye instructions.

While you wait for the water to heat up, fill a smaller container with hot water and add the dye. Stir well, dissolving the dye in the smaller container, then stir the dye solution into the large pot on the stove.

Wet your fabric thoroughly. And I do mean thoroughly. This is one reason that splotches can occur. Every ounce of fabric should be wet before being placed in the dye bath to ensure an even color throughout.

Next, give your baby the box of baby spoons to keep him/her occupied...this fabric needs your undivided attention for the next 5 minutes.

The first 5 minutes of dye time is the most important. Place the uncrumpled fabric in the dye bath and stir the fabric nonstop for the first five minutes. The fabric should move freely. I use tongs to move the fabric around deliberately. 

After stirring continually for the first 5 minutes, I set my timer in 5 minute increments, stirring for the entire first minute of every 5 minute segment. For example: let's say I submerge the fabric in the dye at 1:00. I will stir continually until 1:05. Then I will stir for one minute at 1:10, 1:15, 1:20, and so on until the fabric has been in the dye bath for the instructed amount of time. (Different brands of dye require different amounts of soak time...see your dye instructions)

Rinse and wash according to dye instructions. 

It sounds a bit tedious, but moving the fabric around frequently is key to an even dye. I usually wait until my kids go to bed, then I start my project. During the wait between every 5 minutes I do my regular cleaning/straightening of the house that I do every night.

I chose this subtle china blue color to give the blue a very delicate, feminine feel.

I love dying fabric and recreating a look. Thread often times dyes a different shade than the fabric, which I think makes for an even prettier, less hand-made appearance. Notice above how the threaded flowers are lighter than the fabric in the dress? I have dyed several white onesies for Foster before, and that thread stays perfectly white, which looks so great!

When one of my crib sheets came out splotchy I searched the web for tips and advice and didn't find much. So I hope this helps!

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