I was determined to dye turquoise the unbleached-muslin-colored cotton curtains I had made many years ago for the Cottage since I was painting the interior pale aqua.
These are all the curtains tossed together.
(They were slightly stained but would certainly do for now.)
This window needs curtains that are easy to open and close.
In addition, there were sheer cotton voile panels at the front door window .
Four panels of cotton voile for privacy and light filtering.
I had been given 2 linen panels that could be used for the two additional windows in the main room. Why not dye them all?!!
I bought a packet of turquoise iDye for natural materials.
iDye for natural fibers in turquoise.
I read the directions on the back which instructed to either dye in a washing machine or in a pot on the stove using 2 pounds of fabric per pack of dye.
Here are the problems I had with those instructions:
1. I wasn’t about to use my washing machine to dye fabric.
2. I had way too much fabric to put in a pot on the stove.
3. How do you figure what 2 pounds of fabric is?
I decided to use the bathtub in the cottage to dye the curtains. I ran some hot water into the tub.
I tossed the dye packet in the tub of hot water. The package directions said the covering would dissolve.
And it did dissolve and the water started to turn blue.
I stirred and stirred and stirred.
But even when the water was deep blue clumps of dry dye kept coming to the surface.
I added more water because I didn't think there was enough for all the curtains at one time.
Add non-iodized salt to the water and thoroughly dissolve. (I had to run over to the house to get my neti pot salt.)
Here's the entire load in the dye at one time.
I had rubber gloves on so I could swish all the fabric around with my hands until everything was well-saturated. I held each clump of fabric under cool running water to rinse much of the dye from it.
Rinsing the linen.
Then I took each panel out and wrung it lightly so I could put it in the clothes basket and carry it over to the house.
Please notice there are deep turquoise curtains and pale mint green panels.
Once in the house I washed the fabric in the washing machine with mild detergent and cold water, then partially dryed the curtains in the dryer and ironed them.
Everthing linen - deep turquoise; everything cotton - pale mint green.
Mistakes and how to fix them:
1. The clumps of dry dye could have been avoided by putting the dye packet in a pot of boiling water and dissolving it completely before adding it to the tub.
2. Dying a huge amount of fabric at one time could have been avoided by doing each different type of fabric separately and one at a time. (What a thought! Genius! Wished I’d have thought of it then.)
3. Running to the house for salt could have been avoided by amassing all the ingredients for the project BEFORE starting. Mise en place as my chef friend says.
4. I forgot to wet the fabric while it was in the tub before I started so I had to try and wet these huge pieces of fabric in the bathroom sink. Wet them FIRST next time.
5. Different colors of finished product could be managed by using all the same fabric. I did not know this would happen and it’s not necessarily a bad thing except I don’t really care for the pale green.
Well, friends, that’s my how-not-to- tutorial.
Oh, yeah, I have a few spots that are overly saturated with dye.
The spots are not large and might hang in the folds. Oops.
To minimize this while in the dye bath I rubbed the fabric against itself. I could have totally avoided it by practicing #1 in the how to fix mistakes section.
Here’s a little before and after.
- Four panels of cotton voile for privacy and light filtering.
Lovely mint green. Hmm?!
Cotton voile dyed turquoise became mint green.
I’m glad to have had this practice for the time when I’ll be using more expensive fabric and absolutely need a perfect result. What’s your tale of a learning experience? Did it go horribly awry? What could you salvage?
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