To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Curl Up and Dye! A Dyeing Tutorial.

Ok, so yes, I am a matchy, matchy freak when it comes to my costuming.  And I live in a veritable wasteland of fabulous sewing trims.  I adore my local JoAnn's, Hancock's, Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Craft Warehouse, and Home Fabrics, but sometimes, they just don't want to cooperate with my sewing endeavors.  What do I do when this happens?  Why I DIY!!!  Sometimes my DIY experience is a fabulous one.  One that leaves me singing like a robin over the first day of spring!  Sometimes, my experience causes me to want to curl up with my blankie, suck  my thumb and cry.  So, it is with mixed feelings that I write this tutorial.  I don't want to scare anyone off from dyeing as it was not that hard to do.  I guess it is the first born, OCD, A type personality that gave me grief during this process.  In any case, let the tutorial begin!!!

For my 1910 Winter Wool suit, I decided to dye the items I needed for the trim.  As I mentioned above I live in a wasteland of trim.  I wish I could fly to the famed LA garment district so I could shop til I dropped for all manner of fabric and trim, but I can't.  Enter a bottle of Wine Rit dye.  Easy Peasy...right?  Sure!  If you aren't my personality type!!!

The instructions said that for a sink dye, to fill the sink with 3 gallons of HOT water, salt (I used 1/2 a cup), the wet materials, and stir CONSTANTLY for half an hour to 1 hour.  Armed with a spatula and Netflix, I did just that. 

After the hour had passed, I did again as the instructions instructed!  "Rinse until water runs clear."  As you can see, after much rinsing and rinsing, the water was not running clear.  Not one for wasting water or time, I just stopped.  If you were to get my trim wet right at this moment, it would bleed a lovely merlot color.  Thank God I am putting said trim on a darker material.

Here is my trim drying over my shower.

In the morning, this is the color that the trim ended up being.  Meh.....I was not happy with it at all.  It was too light.  I tried soaking it in strong tea and it only helped is slightly.  Grrrrrrrrrr and frustration!  So, to Hobby Lobby I went to purchase another bottle of Rit.  After consulting some lovely costuming friends, I found out that I needed to use the WHOLE bottle of dye and hotter water than I did the first time... here is the result of the second dyeing.  It is dark and lovely and soooooo not the right shade.  (my costuming friends were so incredibly helpful, and they were very correct.  After using the whole bottle it did make the color darker....I believe that the use of tea tweeked the color a bit in the wrong spectrum......)

Upon the advice of my husband and son, I decided to slowly bleach the trim....a little bit of Clorox at a time. Slowly, ever so slowly, I added bleach to a warm bath and slowly, ever so slowly, the color began to bleed out of the trim.  "Perfect", I thought!!!  Until I dried the trim.  It again was waaaay too light!!  UGH!!!  Seriously?  I forgot that it dries to a lighter color.  So the perfect color I had when it was wet...and I mean PERFECT...was NOT the same color I ended up with!  POOOOP!!!

Ok, last chance trim and dye!!!  I had a little bit of dye left from the first bottle...idiot that I was I drained the sink after every dying session.  Filled the sink with HOT water, salt and the rest of the dye.  I put the trim in the dye bath for 15 minutes, got it to a shade a little darker than what I wanted, rang out the trim, put it in the dryer that wasn't in use at the time and waited.  Warily, I removed the trim, took it out to my fabric and laid it down.  Low and behold it looked great!!!  Hahahahahahaha!!!  I felt like the crazed scientist whose loony experiment finally works and can now hold his head high in victory!!!

So, I guess I can call this a tutorial in what NOT to do while dying!!!  Here are some things that I think I will remember next time.  

1.  The finished product will be LIGHTER when dry than it is when it is wet.
2.  DO NOT drain your dye bath until you are sure you have the color you want.
3.  Do this on a day when you patience level is at its highest.  Impatience is your enemy here.
4.  Understand that if you are dyeing weird or off colors, you are going to have to be real creative and forgiving with your dye and fabric!

Over all the dyeing itself was easy.  Just follow the instructions and you will have the effect you want.  If you are like me.....drink a glass of wine and turn off your OCD!!!

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