Thursday, November 4, 2010

Get Crafty: Dyeing at Home

Are you ready? This is going to be fun!

I had hoped to make an assortment of not-so-frumpy maternity tops to wear to various holiday gatherings, and I wanted some appropriately festive materials to make them. So, recently, I found a beautiful pair of ivory silk dupioni curtains at my local Salvation Army... for $9.00. Bingo!

The only problem with this gorgeous fabric is the ivory color. Lucky for me, it was ivory, not puce. Enter iDye. iDye is a readily available, inexpensive ($3-4 per packet at your local craft store, or more on, washing machine compatible textile dye perfect for this project. There are many colors available for natural fibers, and I chose "gun metal"...

Here is the silk before (after removing the cotton/poly lining, the panel weighed only 6 oz).

One packet can ostensibly dye 2-3 pounds of material, but since I didn't much care how light or dark the gray ended up, I decided to only dye that bit of fabric and see what happened. So, after...
  • one trip through the washing machine (I ran and re-ran the wash cycle with the same dye water for a total of about 45 minutes),
  • making sure to follow the directions for silk (add 1/3 cup vinegar to the dye water as a fixative),
  • washing the silk with gentle shampoo and thoroughly rinsing (the water should run clear; shampoo is an animal fiber, so washing it with shampoo treats it appropriately and leaves a nice scent!),
  • then drying it,
  • and ironing it was ready! Here is my dyed silk:

It is evenly dyed for a uniform appearance, though it also has a slight purple cast to it which I was not expecting but, in hindsight, may have been predictable seeing the color on the package. Additionally, the fabric has lost quite a bit of the sheen that it had an an ivory curtain, though that is the generally accepted and inevitable end result of any non-dry-cleaning dupioni receives. The texture now is more like a crushed crepe... not bad, and a less stiff drape. So, overall, I'm pleased with the iDye process.

Also, it must be noted that there was no stinky dye! And no icky clean up! I just wiped down the lid and top of the washing machine drum with a rag (the agitation splashed little drops of blueish dyewater everywhere), then I ran a large load of old towels to clean out the washer. Ta da! Done.

I'll do a future post about what exactly I'm going to make with this dyed fabric... stay tuned!


Anonymous said...

Wow. so fun! I look forward to see what you'll make.

Reenie said...

Oooh awesome. I've got a couple things I have thought about dying... might have to give it a try. Though I am nowhere close to being the thrift store queen that you are :D

Andrea said...

Excited to see the final project! :)