Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Celebrate Baby---Spring Dye Bath (the good and the bad)

I'm pretty simple when it comes to newborn clothes and stick with onesies, gowns, and leggings for the first couple months. All things that are comfy.
So dyeing bodysuits is a good way to throw style in the mix.
I've shared a couple tutorials before about dyeing fabric and dyeing elastic. And last fall I dyed a slew of onesies for baby shower gifts. This time around I went with bright colors for Clara.
Yipee! Lemon yellow!
Of course when Clara wore it to church on Sunday (with a little skirt) two old men asked how old my baby boy was. Eh. People often asked if baby Lucy was a boy or girl, and she was wearing pink with butterflies. Fashion over...gender?
Sure, why not.

So, here's what I did....and shouldn't have done.
I followed the same steps used in the tutorial above.

Mixing, dunking, stirring, rinsing, washing, drying, etc.
And ended up with some beautiful shades.
But it's always experimental. Not everything turns out as I hoped, some fabrics are splotchy, sometimes I make dumb mistakes. The adventure is always fun though.

These two turned out great.
(RIT liquid dye in colors Lemon Yellow and Purple):
These two turned out the worst.
They were both dunked in RIT Liquid dye, Aquamarine. The right fabric went in first and I have a feeling the dye wasn't mixed very well into the water. There are huge color splotches all over the neck and cuffs. The left fabric went in second and was left in for a very short period of time and looked beautiful (see above photo of wet fabric). But....then I washed it with the purple onesie above.
Um, dumb.
The color totally changed.
Lesson learned.

These two turned out okay.
They have some slight splotching here and there, due to the onesies themselves. These were both old worn-out bodysuits and had slight pilling on the surface and a few milk stains. So the dye gravitated to those areas, resulting in splotches.

But it's nothing a cute baby can't fix.
She'll still get use out of them.
So in summary....

Tips for successful dyeing:
• Make sure the dye is mixed well with the water (just like making jello)
• Use a large bowl so the fabric can swim freely. In the photos above I used small plastic containers since I was only dyeing one item per color. But the containers were too small. The fabric was too bunched up inside.
• Use the hottest water from your sink. A large bowl is helpful with this too since a large quantity of water will stay warm for longer (rather than the small containers I used above).
• Make sure your fabric is thoroughly wet and saturated with normal water before dunking it in the dye bath.
• Only rinse and wash fabric with fabrics of the same color for the first few cycles. After a few washings you should be able to wash the dyed items with other clothing as well.
• When using old fabric and onesies, old stains may dye differently than the rest of the fabric. But hey, might as well give them a shot. Throw them in the dye bath and see what happens!

And that's about it.
Please feel free to leave your own tips in the comments!
Happy dyeing.

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