Dyeing 101

jars of fabric  dyeing 101  new pattern

Yesterday was gray and dreary here in Richmond Town, with wet snow from noon on.  But I was inside, in the midst of color!  I took two dyeing classes at Quilting Adventures, our local quilting arts store.  The first session was basic intro to techniques: “Learn the basic procedures involved in dyeing cotton using fiber reactive dyes and leave class with 24 handdyed fat quarters. This technique is not especially messy or difficult, so it seems almost magical!”,  and my favorite part: All dyes and chemicals provided. 

The second class focused on folding and clamping.  We were able to see what we got with the afternoon efforts, but it will be later this morning before I wash out my color wheel of fat quarters.  That’s because we were using cold water and the dye takes longer to react. 

We used Procion Fiber Reactive dyes, which are permanent on natural fibers.  They actually react with the fiber, rather than merely coating the surface as would a Ritz dye.  The flip side of that is that Ritz will work on polyester, etc., while the reactive dye only does things like cotton, silk, rayon.

For the color wheel of fabrics, we used three primary dye powders and created the range of colors that you see in the first photo.  We mixed our dyes, measured the liquids into the pint jars in various ratios, then stuffed two fat quarters (18″x 22″) of fabric into each jar.  Oh, but before that, we had soaked the fabric in a solution of water and washing soda (different from baking soda).  The soda is essential to the chemical reaction of the dye. 

Then we closed up the jars and flipped them every hour or so for a couple hours.  Can’t wait to see how the fabrics come out!

In the second class, after clamping and folding, we squirted dye on the fabric, then put it in the soda and water.  After we’d finished all the pieces of material, we took the fabric out of the solution, removed any rubber bands, clothespins, etc. and shared our creations!


3 responses to “Dyeing 101

  1. I want to retire and just do fun stuff!!!

  2. i would like to color my boat cushions that are badly faded from uv rays. any ideas or help?

    thank you in advance,

    john marvel

  3. John,
    Thank you for your comment on my blog. Coloring boat cushions – interesting thought. If you can get the covers off the cushions, you might try a dye bath. But then, my approach, if they were my cushions, would be to replace the covers. And failing that, to replace the cushions, and take them in when not using the boat. There’re great paints out there these days appropriate to even plastic or tennis shoes. Some of them might work, but I have no experience with such an approach. Good luck to you!
    Cathy Tyler

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