Friday, February 18, 2011

Bleach Dying Fabric

I had a blast the other day with a length of purple silky fabric, a dish of bleach, and an empty paper towel tube. My result turned into a dress that I can't wait to have an excuse to wear. And the best part: The bleaching and the sewing all happened in one day! And half of that while I was on the phone, to boot. So, do you want to learn what I learned? Ok, then!

You will need:
- Fabric suitable for dying. This means not silk.
- Old clothes that you don't care about. I didn't do this because I was to excited, but you should.
- Somewhere outside. DON'T DO THIS INSIDE! I still smell bleach and it's giving me a headache.
- Something to apply the bleach to the fabric. Paper towel tube, paint brush, eye dropper thingy, spray bottle...
- A bucket of water.
- A dish of bleach. Normal Clorox will be fine.

Here's the bleach and the object I used to put the bleach on the fabric with. I didn't need that much bleach at all, since I was putting so little on my fabric.

A scrap of the fabric I used. I'm not sure what kind it is, but it bleached just fine. I read that natural fibers work best, but that bleach weakens silk fibers. So, stay away from polyester and silk and you should be fine.

The picture is tilted, but it gets the point across. Dip your applicator in the bleach and let it soak up a good deal of the stuff.

This one's tilted too, bit again, it gets the point across. Apply your bleach.

Make sure your bleach really gets into the fabric. Apply as much as you think you need to. Then wait. The time will vary depending on your fabric and how much you put on, etc. I waited between three and five minutes.

Rinse it out really well.

Hang it up to dry. See the spot where the circles aren't very dark? If that happens to you, wait until it's dry to go back and re-bleach it. Yeah, you'll have to wait for it to dry again, but that's better than the bleach spreading due to the water and making blurry marks... Which is what happened to me.

When it's dry, turn it into something awesome. I cheated on this dress in a couple of ways. The bottom isn't hemmed... That's the selvage. It doesn't look much like selvage, so I figured it would be fine. And it was. I also put the bottom elastic too far down, and rather than just take off the tape and re-sew it, I folded the inside and stitched really close to the tape, trimmed the extra off the fold, and zig-zag stitched the raw edges. You can't even tell!

Links I used:
Dying With Bleach - This is the site I primarily used for the bleach dying. There were some other sites that I googled, but I can't find them now.
Ruched Empire Dress - This is the site that gave me the idea for the dress. Check it out. There's some awesome stuff here.

It's looking like I'm not blogging tomorrow. Haven't finished reading The Two Towers, and haven't seen any new movies.


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