Saturday, August 4, 2018

dyeing for change

in which our plucky heroine struggles to shift focus...

Between the various rebellious body parts, it has been and continues to be pretty difficult, including time lost trying to deal with dental insurance paperwork, and coping with Stupid Tooth which hurts, because cracked... sewing project is helping me stay sane, but as I am bored with describing ailments, instead, here are a few bits that have been pleasing:

Spent closer to an hour in the sewing room Thursday, and finished up the hemline binding and sewed the patch pockets on my new popover dress. It is wearable now, but will be a better addition to my wardrobe once I overdye it with teal fiber reactive dye... I imagine the white as teal, the various blues and greens shifted towards deeper teal, and the hot pink as a dull plum... much more my style as far as color and contrast.

Friday Night

Fabric dyeing ended up happening late Friday, around midnight, as between getting up at 5AM to get to my PT appointment at 7, then taking time to get some long neglected water exercise in before lunchtime, it turned out that I walked over 10K steps on Friday, came home, ate lunch and promptly fell asleep for most of the rest of the afternoon. Which had me awake far past a sensible bedtime, and so... after about two hours of not terribly difficult processes, the new dress is currently in the washing machine, and our plucky heroine is off to dreamland for a few hours...

I suspect the reason I had good luck with dyeing the dress was threefold - one, I had a container large enough for the entire dress to drift loosely in the dyebath, two, I had all the correct chemicals to use with the dye, and followed the instructions, and three, I did my best to think out ahead of time how the various colors in the print would shift.

The first two were, IMHO the most important, I have known many people who didn't have a large enough "vat" for their fabric or garment to move freely, and that causes places in the fabric to not be thoroughly exposed to the dyebath, rather like unintentional shibori. And having the correct chemicals to use with the dye makes a difference, particularly the very small amount of calsolene oil, which helps disperse the dyestuff evenly into the fabric. Yes, all of this is more of a pain than throwing some RIT into the washing machine, but in return I will get a dress that will have strong, fast, even, color for as long as the dress lasts. I don't do much fabric dyeing, for a whole lot of reasons, and prefer to acquire fabric that is already a good color, but since I had this fabric, and needed the garment, it made sense to me to take the time to turn it into something I will be comfortable wearing.

Saturday Morning

just took the dress out of the washing machine, and while it will take a while for it to line dry, the new color is a HUGE improvement, and the color shift worked pretty much like I had hoped. Overall, the dress color is a varied greenish teal. Overlaid is the black from the old colorway, looking in the abstract rather like black matrix turquoise. Terrible Hot Pink has indeed shifted to a purplish color here and there, and there are also some streaks of very slightly brighter greenish color, where the former print was had a pale yellowy color.


August SMART goals (x=extra)
1 x overdye dress-
2 x --
3 xx -
4 x
x -
5 xx -
6 x x -
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x


  1. Great dyeing job, The new colours are much more suited to you, Fantastic job.

    1. Thanks! I'll try and get some photos tomorrow...

  2. This looks very interesting! I hope you show us a photo of you in the new colorway. It looks like some of the pink remains; is that pink a paint rather than a dye?

    Re dyeing w/Procion: what do you think is the most economical source of the salt needed? So far, for me, it is just the regular grocery-store tubes of table salt.

    1. The pink shows through the dye, just as the black does, and even the yellowish color... the teal dye is transparent, all dyes are. So it overlays whatever colors are in the fabric to begin with. I wasn't expecting the hot pink to go away, but overdue with the teal it no longer leaps out...

      I usually use salt that I buy from a store that sells bulk food items by the pound, as that is cheaper than the tubes. You can also get a large bag, like 20 pounds, from places like Costco,or Cash and Carry. I did that a number of years ago and am just now getting to the end