Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Lesson in Dyeing


I bought this sweater when I went Shopping with Cory.

I'm a huge fan of cardigans as they were for work and every day life.

One of my number one criteria for purchasing an item is fit.

The print feels like a take on a traditional french toile.

This sweater felt very versatile to me.
Cory on the other hand thought the print was a bit too gaudy. 

 Although the print was beautiful,
I thought I might get more wear out of it if it were a solid color.

If you don't count tie dyeing, this was my first time dyeing any clothing.
I had read a magazine article a few years ago and it seemed pretty straight forward.
Their key tip was follow the instructions to a T.

I made the trip to JoAnn Fabricand chose this beautiful "China Blue."
I picked the Dylon brand because it could be done by hand instead
of in a washer and listed fabrics beside cotton.
Suitable fabrics: Cotton, linen, ramie and rayon.
Wool, Silk and polyester/cotton mixes will dye to lighter shade.

This sweater is 100% wool, so I knew it would dye to a lighter shade.

Items needs to complete the dyeing process.

1.  salt (4 TBSP)
2. Measuring spoons/cups
3. Some place to put the dye when dissolving.  I used two small plastic cups.  A large sour cream container would be perfect.
4. rubber gloves
5. a place to dye the clothing.  Dylon recommends a stainless steal sink.  I bought a $5, 10 quart bucket.
6. A utensil to stir the dye.  I used a large giant metal spoon.

 What I didn't think about:

The color was not strong enough to influence the dark brown, instead it simply replaced the ivory.

Dyeing by hand takes a couple hours.  There is the prep time: washing the item and leaving it damp; dissolving the dye powder in warm water then adding the dissolved dye water and salt to the bucket. Once the prep is complete, submerge clothing in the dye and stir continuously for 15 minutes.  I put my bucket in the bathtub as I knew I would make the occasional spill. After 15 minutes have passed, stir every couple minutes for another 45 minutes. Rise in cold water and wash again in warm.  Lay flat to dry, away from sunlight.

Total time dyeing: 1.5 hours

 What I wasn't prepared for was the bleeding of the brown.  This sweater had clearly been washed rarely by it's previous owner.  I washed it immediately when I brought it home and during the prep process before dye.  The brown muddied the dye slightly and so the blue is more muted than the package image.

 The finished product!

Sweater: $2.50
Dye: $2.99
Bucket and rubber gloves: $7

Total cost for a custom sweater: $12.49

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