I thought I’d post a little about my dyeing process. If you’ve been around our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/HomesteadEmporium) you’ll know that I love to dye fabrics. I won’t go into details about my own little ‘tricks’ of the trade but I do know a lot of you would love to see some of my works in progress, and possibly even my dyeing ‘station’, so I figured I may as well share here on the blog. I seem to be a horrible blogger, always shareing on facebook in little spurts of info instead. It fits my busy days better, but doesn’t always give the full scope of things around here.
To learn to dye, I’ve spent many many hours researching. Watching videos, reading books, reading articles, and of course, lots and lots and LOTS of hours of practice!
My favourite place for learning has always been this site: http://www.pburch.net/dyeing.shtml
I get asked a lot of questions about dyeing, and even about sewing, and sewing pads, and honestly, I do not have time to answer all the questions. I don’t say that to be rude, although I know it probably seems rude to one who’s desperate to learn, but it’s simply a fact of my life. When I have time to teach, I’m teaching my own children, and most days I don’t even have enough time to teach THEM all I want them to learn. When I have time to answer emails and messages, I need to spend that time answering business emails pertaining to my products. My customers know how long they occassionally have to wait while I’m harvesting or planting the garden, or tending to emergencies here on the homestead (or elsewhere!) Perhaps one day that will change, but for now I can only suggest that anyone who wants to learn do exactly what I did.
Read, research, watch videos, and make your OWN way into the wonderful experience of dyeing fabrics!
If you want to learn, you won’t regret the time you spend diving into the subject!
Shown in my photos below are some of the different ways I dye fabrics.
There are MANY different ways. Ice Dyeing, folding fabrics, swirling fabrics, scrunching fabrics, or simply soaking fabrics. These are a few of my favourite ways, and a couple of these ways are ones I’ve just tried for the first time! I’m always learning!
When I’m dyeing fabrics, it’s almost exclusively bamboo velour. This is fun, but a little frustrating at times too. 99.9% of ALL the fabrics I see dyed in my research and learning process are flat & thin fabrics. Bamboo velour is plush, and dyes completely differently. So I have to play around a lot, and go through a lot of trial and error when trying new methods.
The fabric shown here in the photos above and below, is one of the very few flat & thin fabrics I do dye. It’s meant for my Comfy Undies, and it’s a lot of fun for me to work with since I get to try all the neat ways of dyeing that I see on most sites/books/articles etc.. This particular piece I swirled up, then ice dyed with softer more pastel colours. These photos show the fabrics after the ice has melted. If you are interested in learning more about ice dyeing, there’s lots of instructions online, simply google “ice dye”.
This piece of bamboo velour shown below is done the same way, but with different colours. Since it’s bamboo velour, it does not swirl/fold as tightly and it soaks up much more dye etc.. It’s a lot more work, but since I use mostly bamboo velour in my products, it’s a must for me.
This is another ice dye, different colours, different method, no swirling of the fabric this time.
I decided to share a photo of my dyeing space, despite it not being pretty. Don’t judge! It may not be pretty, but the stuff that comes out of it is to ‘dye’ for.
It’s not glamorous at all! I really wish I had a beautiful and inspiring work space filled with colourful walls and a gorgeous tile floor but this is the reality of my life currently. We moved onto this property for the homestead, the land, the beautiful farm yard with an orchard and lots of other trees, the barn and outbuildings. We knew full well that the house was nothing glamorous and in need of work. I knew my workspaces would most likely be the last rooms to be finished, and I’m totally ok with that. I refuse to allow an ugly room to stop me from creating beauty! Don’t let all those gorgeous spaces you see on pinterest and the rest of the internet make you feel like you need one of those spaces to create beauty. I’m sharing this photo to show proof that it’s not true. Your work space has nothing to do with what you can produce in it.
Although my workspace is not glamorous, it is very productive and practical!
I have a great big double sink, wall space for pinning information and a lot of my ‘tools’. I also have all my dyes stored here. I even have a small window to allow me fresh air while working with the dyes. Behind me is a HUGE old freezer that doubles as my dye ‘table’. It also works great as a big cutting table. Again, not pretty but very functional! These next photos, as well as the photo above, are during the rinsing process. Both these are ice dyed, and both are a thin smooth fabric meant for my Comfy Undies.
This fabric below is again bamboo velour, and it is scrunch dyed.This one was folded/pleated and then dyed in sections. This is a ‘dna’ dye, but with bamboo velour, you just can’t see the full scope of how dna dye should look. At least not with my bamboo velour attempts… yet. I’m still hoping to play some more and do better!This was the swirl dyed bamboo velour piece shown above.This was the other ice dye, bamboo velour again. As you can see, bamboo velour does not tend to ‘streak’ as beautifully as the flat/thin fabrics. Still beautiful in it’s own way though. The swirl ice dye completed, washed, and dried! This is a very large piece, this part shown is aprox. 36 inches by 54 inches. It’s almost a shame to cut it into underwear! As you can see, there is much more definition in the flat fabrics below, than in the plush velours above. This is the other underwear fabric, this is a relatively small section of the large two yard cut. This photo shows very well how beautifully you can manipulate the dyes to melt into the fabrics with the ice dyeing process. I will definitely be making myself a pair of the Comfy Undies from these two pieces! The rest will go into the shops.
Oh how I wish I could force the bamboo velour to recreate this way! I keep playing with it in hopes of one day truly getting it right. And there you have one of my dye sessions!
This one was more ‘adventurous’ then most of my dye sessions. I mainly dye using the LWI dye process, meaning Low Water Immersion dyeing. Which looks more like this:And this:
Just like all of us!