Thursday, October 18, 2012

Adventures in Dying: Part 1

I had a length of off white linen that had gotten turned a bit pink after washing with a length of red linen (which had already been washed several times before) so I thought I'd try dying it. I really wanted a hunter green linen but they didn't have any when I bought the linen so I picked up an appropriate box of dye from JoAnns and went to work.

Linen before. The camera didn't pick up the pink tint well.

Vat of dye! I didn't really have a good place to dye my fabric and I think this bucket was a bit small. I'll have to try someplace larger next time.

Fabric drying. Hunter green-check Perfect dye job-no check

I got a whole bunch of lighter streaks from the dye not penetrating into the lump of fabric. Probably from using a too small bucket.

I also did something really dumb and tried bleaching my bucket on the other side of the sink where my fabric was rinsing. *facepalm* So there are a few orangish bleach spots where I dripped into the other side of the sink.... :(

I want to try and fix the streaking. Do you think if I dye it again, the color will even out? Or will it just make everything proportionally darker? I may try dying it in the sink since the fabric fit in there much better than the bucket. I'm planning on using this for a petticoat for my red peasant Renaissance dress, so I think it's ok if it's not perfect, but I would like it to be better.


  1. I haven't dyed a large piece of fabric before, only smaller pieces, but you could try re-dying it and spraying the lighter parts with dye before you put the whole think into a vat. I don't know what will happen, but it could help it blend in better?

    Also if you need a bigger bucket, the 5 gallon paint buckets at Lowes and Home Depot are reasonably priced. I have two and both have come in handy for all sorts of things.

    1. Those five gallon buckets are awesome. I used one many times for starching 1860s petticoats. If you have a Firehouse Subs around you, you can get a "pickle bucket" from them, too! Same 5 gallons, but cooler. Once the pickle smell airs out. :p

  2. I have very limited experience with dying, but I did try to dye a wool skirt once that faded unevenly horribly the first time I tried to (hand) wash it. I didn't bleach the remaining colour out first and as a result the dye was darker in some areas than others, depending on where the colour had lightened in the first place. If I was in this spot again, I'd try to bleach or somehow even out the colour and then attempt dying (needless to say say that skirt was a total write-off!).

    ♥ Jessica

    1. It's good you didn't bleach it, actually. Bleach eats wool! It's actually the best fiber test for wool: If a scrap of fabric disappears completely when it's put in bleach, it was 100% wool. If there's anything left behind, it's a wool blend. ;)

      There are dye remover products available that I know have been used with some success. It's not like bleaching.