Am I the only one that has found this whole hand dyeing process confusing? For as many people dye fabric there are that many different ways to do it. Add to that, dyeing is a VERY iffy kind of thing. I mean, if you think you are going to hand dye fabric and control the whole process. . . .well you might as well let go of that dream. Anyways, I decided to blog out the way that Jane Dunnewold taught us to dye. I figure if she's done thousands of yards of fabric over tens of years - she must know what she's doing, right?!
So I started out with 12 pieces of pfd fabric ripped to approximately fat quarter size or so. Let me warn you now, I'm not real exact on this whole process since I'm just dyeing fabric for my stash and to get the process ingrained in this menopausal brain of mine. I used a mix of fabrics - some rayon, some cotton twill, some silk broadcloth and some mixed silk and cotton (yes - you got that right - its silk on one side - cotton on the other - cool, huh?!). All the fabric had been scoured - washed in hot water with additives free detergent. I then took the fabric and manipulated it. Now you can do this any way you want. The key here is to do it tightly - I mean - really tight! So I folded it into squares, fans, flag folds, and even tied one in knots. I then used a ton of rubber bans to keep it all together. They end up as these dense masses of fabric.
I then chose the colors of the day - Carmine Red, Forget me not Blue, Forest Green, and Golden yellow. Some are jacquard colors and some are from ProChem. I made a gallon of chemical water consisting of 1 gal of water, 1/3 c of salt, and 1/3 c of Soda Ash. The water must be hot and you add it to the dry ingredients stirring. Make sure you have gloves and a dust mask on while doing this. Still wearing the mask and gloves, I measured out a heaping 1/2 teaspoon of each dye into their individual mason jars. Then, I added 3 c of the chemical water. I like using mason jars because I had them already, you can just screw on the lid to shake well, and they are easily cleaned and stored. I only used a half teaspoon of dye since I know that I will be dyeing the fabric at least 2 or three more times.
I used 4 zip-lock bags (one for each color) and just put 3 pieces of fabric into each one. I then put enough of the dye mixture into each bag to coat the fabric "packets". This is the iffy part - you want to have the dye soak through the fabric so you don't have a ton of white spots - but not to much that it totally saturates the fabric. You then close up the bags, and rocks the bags back and forth to soak up the fabric - DON'T SQUISH IT! I just sort of rocked and shook it. I then stuck the fabric out in the sun for at least 3 hours. The process likes temps to be between 70 - 100 degrees so summer dyeing is perfect !
This is getting long so I'll continue this tutorial with a "Part 2" which will include the rinse out and the "reveal" (which will be as much a surprise to you as to me!)