Monday, May 16, 2011

Adventures of Fabric Dyeing or Making of the Red Dress Part 2

I’ve done small batches here and there, but never actually 12 yards at once. The plan is to have it all come out uniform, no streaks or dark spots, but of course that's easier said than done.

So here goes the adventure…6 yards of cotton organdy, [Fabric Hunting in NY] and another 6 yards of regular pima cotton [used for lining and bodice structure]. We are going from white to red. I bought the dye here after doing extensive research and sample dyeing. These dyes are easy to use [although you might not think it’s the case after seeing the pictures] and result in the most brilliant, vibrant colors. Chinese red has been selected as a definite winner in the red color war. All the instructions you need on dyeing can be found here.

Some discoveries…Cotton organdy is a very good color fast fabric. It absorbs dye so well, it’s actually kind of crazy. Regular pima cotton, not so much. I put both fabrics in a giant tub when dyeing, hoping by doing so I would achieve the same color variation for both. Well, was I wrong. White cotton organdy came out just as I expected…INCREDIBLE! It ate up the dye in the tub so fast, that it only left crumbs for pima cotton. Pima cotton came out a sad raspberry instead. I had to re-dye pima cotton and still wasn't able to achieve the color I wanted. It was much closer, but since it was just lining I wasn’t going to loose sleep over it. [I didn’t just say that; close enough is unacceptable, but there were time constraints].

Conclusions…All cottons are not created equal. Dye all fabrics in their own fun tubs, with their own varying amounts of dye.

PS: NEVER ever pour soda ash right over the fabric, here comes a dark spot if you do! Wear a mask or look like a homeless cowboy in a bandana, it’s not good to breathe in.


  1. That was a lot of work but it came out super awesome and very red! But you can't fool ME with your "just lining" and "wasn't going to lose sleep over it"! You weren't going to...but admit it, you did anyway! :) Love the homeless cowboy outfit - it also reminds me of Pyatachok here (left)

  2. wow looks like alot of hard work. The bucket of fabric looks like something from a horror movie.


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