Have you ever had a white fabric that you wish matched another fabric better? Here at Mood, we always recommend ordering swatches but sometimes a fabric is a gift, or something already in your fabric stash. We’ve all bought a lot of fabric with no particular project, because it is beautiful and we want it. Recently I got this gorgeous white lace and wanted to pair it with this ivory velvet panel. While I could’ve left the lace as is and just made a white and ivory skirt I decided to tap into my knowledge of dyeing to get the lace to a shade I liked better.
Fabrics & materials used:
- 2 panels Famous NYC Designer Parchment Floral Silk and Rayon Burnout Velvet Panel
- 1.5 yards White Geometric Lace with Finished Eyelash Edges
- 2 yards Tapioca Polyester Satin
- 2 yards 0.5″ Wide Elastic
- 1 package iDye in Ecru
- 1 package iDye Poly in Brown
To properly dye a fabric you first need to establish the fiber content so you know what kind of dye to use. This particular lace is 94% Nylon and 6% Rayon so I need to use dyes to address both kinds of fibers. Nylon requires a dye like iDye Poly and Rayon is essentially synthetic cotton and will require a dye that can dye cotton like iDye. The iDye Poly requires heat so I bought a pot specifically for dyeing. Stainless steel or enamel pots work best, but please remember the pot you dye in cannot be used for food later! I also recommend playing with a swatch of the fabric you intend to dye if you can, exposing it to similar temperatures to see if it shrinks or has any issues.
Before getting started:
- Don’t go in with any exact expectations, there’s no way of knowing how a particular fabric will take to a particular dye and if you go in with an open mind you’re more likely to be happy with the results.
- Wear old clothes, an apron (if you have one) and gloves (please ignore photos where my husband and I aren’t wearing gloves — I’m also trying to shoot photos at the same time for demonstration purposes!)
- Cover any nearby counters or floors, especially if you have white counters like I do.
- Get everything you need ready and in your work space before you start because once you start dyeing your fabric you need to watch it like a hawk.
I start by rinsing the fabric in warm water and gently agitating it around, to make sure it’s completely wet and clean. Also fill your pot most of the way with water.
Open your iDye and iDye Poly carefully, there are instructions inside the packaging. I know how to do this and I still read over the instructions, every dye is different. So even with reading this tutorial I suggest reading over your dye’s instructions at least once.
The iDye Poly comes with a color intensifier packet, the iDye doesn’t. For I was hoping for a tea stained look so I choose brown and ecru dyes. The packets are dissolveable if you want to use the entire thing; I only used half the dye, but the entire intensifier packet.
I started with the iDye Poly, I was hoping for a lighter shade so I used half the packet. Make sure to mix the pot well before putting your fabric in. Now is also when you heat your dye bath up to a simmer on the stove.
Here you can see the covered counter I mentioned earlier; I’m just using an old towel, nothing fancy. Use a spoon and stir the pot mixing the dye well before adding your fabric. Don’t be like me, wear rubber gloves and be careful when dipping the wet fabric into the hot dye. Please do not burn yourself! We add the fabric in wet for more even dye distribution. I like to dip it in slowly before beginning to mix it around with the spoon. Just like the pot, once a spoon is used for dyeing it cannot be used for food again, you definitely don’t want to eat these chemicals!
This dye worked incredibly quickly, I am not kidding when I say to watch it! This light purplish brown was achieved after only about 2-3 minutes of dyeing. I took it out fearing it would get darker. Gloves are probably most important during this step, please do as I say and not as I (and my husband in this photo) did. Rinse starting in hot water adjusting it down to cold as you go working the fabric in your hands until the water runs clear.
So at this point, this is where we were, not bad, but the lace still had bits that were whitish, remember the 6% Rayon? At this step, you could pretty much see all of it. Set the fabric aside, dump out the iDye Poly pot and refill it with warm water to put back on the stove again.
Now it’s time for the iDye, again I opted to use half a pack and bring the pot to a simmer before adding damp fabric back in.
This dye bath simmered for longer for the necessary effect, I’d say this one went for 15-20 minutes. Please keep in mind that how a dye project looks wet is different from how it will look rinsed out and dry, so always dye until it is a little darker than what you really like.
Again it gets pulled out of the dye bath and rinsed out, starting with hot water and working our way to cold until it runs clear and then gently wring it out and hang to dry. Or if your fabric can handle it, gentle cycle in your dryer. While that is drying be sure to clean your dyeing pot, the spoon, your sink, your hands and anything else the dye may have touched by accident this stuff comes off easier sooner than later.
Here’s how it looked still slightly damp.
Here we go completely dry, also a comparison shot with the ivory velvet – to me this is much better!
Let me know in the comments if you would like to see a tutorial for constructing the skirt itself.
Is there anything you’ve dyed? Or is there a fabric you would like to try dying? Do you still have questions? Post them in the comments!