Thursday, August 20, 2009

To Dye or Not to Dye

For the longest time, I've said I wasn't going to be dyeing any fabric myself. First of all I already have a nice stash of hand dyed fabric that I've bought from other talented people. Then there's the fact that I just hadn't been doing that much sewing the last couple of years. Since it seems I've finally come out of that perimenopausal haze I had going, I really am starting to sew again. That said, I noticed all the pretty hand dyed fabrics ladies had done themselves at QBL this year. Now I'm thinking. . . maybe I'll give it a try.

So where does one start??? Well, since I'm so visual, of course I got a good book for beginners. There are alot of them out there. I read a couple from the library and bought Fabric Dyeing for Beginners which was really helpful. Then I read a bunch of the wonderful blogs they have on the subject including Mel Johnson's, Paula Burch's, and one by Melissa in Canada. These were most helpful and I can't believe the information these generous ladies give for free!

Next I needed the stuff. You know how it is - every new endeavor needs stuff. Since I'm suppose to be on a No Spending Spree (it is back to school time), I started locally. I went into ACMoore's in Erie and found the section for textile coloring. They had Synthanol, urea, and soda ash but no dyes. That didn't make sense - so I looked and looked only to be disappointed. A couple of days later, I went back in just to browse with a girlfriend (because you know its fun just to browse in ACMoore's!) Don't you know I found all the dyes in the clearance ailse (which I wasn't originally going to go down but felt drawn in) for $2 and $3 a jar for 3 oz. I was all happy with that and bought the 7 or 8 colors they had. I'm always surprised when God lends a helping like that. It never gets old and I never take it for granted. I then went up into my stash and found all sorts of fabrics that I can scour to practice with. Because our family is trying to be green I'm using recycled plastics to do the dyeing in but did buy new measuring and mixing stuff at the dollar store.

So after my little scavenger hunt, I think I'm ready to start to begin to hand dye on a dime. With the dog days of summer upon us, it looks like its something to keep me busy until work really picks up again. I did manage yesterday to get the thread work on the arches done and will finish quilting that this morning - Thank God. I'm sooooooo over this piece and am itchin' to get onto the next!


  1. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

    My little Art Group has had a couple of dyeing weekends, but I've been out of town. Is it bad to admit I was a bit relieved? I don't need one more thing to invest in...

    Then again, if I were to walk down the aisle and find the dyes on clearance....

    Glad you're almost done with your arches!

  2. Good luck with the dyeing. I never use urea and I don't think it matters. You can get Soda Ash very cheap anywhere that sells pool and hot tub supplies. It's called PH Up. You don't really need synthrapol either. Any laundry detergent seems to work just as well. I got these tips from some online experts.

  3. I think you will love dyeing. I hardly ever buy fabric anymore except what I am going to dye. Watch's addictive......and be sure to post your results.

  4. I used to think people who dyed their own fabrics were crazy. Now that I do it, too, I know I was right. Have fun!


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