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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Scatter-Dyeing French Terry Fabric

When I started planning this fall's capsule wardrobe, I kept thinking about sweatshirts and fleece pants! Those were definitely missing from my closet last fall and winter. I want them to be cute enough that I can wear them out of the house to run errands or for casual socializing. But I still want them to be super-comfortable and not too fitted. So far I've made a blue Linden sweatshirt, using the pattern from Grainline Studio. I love it! It didn't take long to make and turned out perfectly. I definitely want to make some more, but with patterns or something so they're not too similar. 

So I bought some white cotton french terry to dye. I decided to try just scattering the dry dye powder onto the fabric and see what happened.

First I washed and dried the fabric (using no fabric softener as it can interfere with dyeing). Then I soaked the fabric for 20 minutes in water and soda ash (mix 1 cup of soda ash per 1 gallon of water). Next I laid out the fabric on the grass, right side up, and gathered my chosen dye colors: red, yellow, and turquoise. With my helper, I sprinkled on small amounts of each color. 

I decided to add green as well:

Here is my cute helper:

I let it sit for a few minutes, while I thought about how to keep all the dye from smearing and transferring from one side to the other. When dyeing with procion dye, you should keep the fabric wet for 24 hours before rinsing. I knew I wanted to put the fabric in a garbage bag to keep it wet, and I realized I could use the bags in between the layers, too. I put them on top of half the fabric and folded it over. Then I laid a bag on top and rolled up the fabric.  

As I rolled, I added another bag. Then I put the roll inside one more bag, tied it up, and set it inside for 24 hours (keeping the wet fabric warm will help the dye work). 

The next day, I rinsed the fabric in cold water for a long time, until the water ran clear. Finally I could see how it looked! I machine washed it in warm water with Synthrapol detergent, which helps remove extra dye so the white parts stay white. Then I dried it on hot to help set the dye even more. 

I love how it turned out! This is the right side:

And here is the wrong side (the terry side with the loops). I like this side a lot, too!

Now I'm trying to decide how to use it. I might make another Linden sweatshirt. I'm also interested in the Mesa knit shift dress from Seamwork. Hopefully I'll whip something up this weekend. 

Do you think you'll try scatter-dyeing? I bought my dyes, soda ash, and Synthrapol from Dharma Trading Co. They have 130 colors of procion dye available, so you should be able to find the colors you need. 

Here's another photo of the right side of mine, just for inspiration. Give it a try!

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