If you are not new here, you know I love cotton jersey fabric and various embellishing techniques. You may not know that I am a planner in most areas of my life, but I am creatively impulsive. Last week on Instagram, Latifah Saafir posted about her excitement and anticipation of an ice dye project a friend was working on for her. I was immediately intrigued and after a quick google search, I discovered I had most of the supplies on hand to give it a try.
I think my first try (detailed later in the post), was a roaring success and I have used the resulting fabric to make a maxi dress using Butterick 6050.
Working with lightweight knits can be tricky. To stabilize the neckline and armholes I hemmed in some Dritz clear elastic and finished it off with a twin needle.
I didn't photo as I went along, so here is a quickie explanation on scrap fabric. The edges on the dress are serged, though not shown in this example.
Cut a length of clear elastic one-inch longer than the fabric on each end of the seam(far left). Place the elastic on the wrong side, edge-to-edge, and sew a zig-zag stitch along the middle of the elastic without stretching it (middle). Fold wrong sides together, trim excess elastic and lightly press (far right). I then secured it with a twin needle on the right side of the fabric.
While the machine was set up, I hemmed the dress with the twin needle.
Tulip dye powder in Turquoise, Red, Marroon, and Pink
Fabric that has been pre-washed with no detergent or softener. I repurposed fabric from sheets. It should be damp to allow for better dye flow. I used a peach colored cotton jersey from a previous mishap.
and a pale yellow one I used for this dress.
The parfait process:
Scrunch the first damp fabric (blue) and place it in the bottom of the prepared hamper then add a layer of ice to cover the fabric.
Sprinkle the dye powder on the ice
Lightly spritz the ice to get the powder to begin to flow and reduce the chance of clumps.
Add the next fabric layers and repeat with ice and dye.
I wrapped the hamper in more fabric to catch the overflow with the hope that it would be awesome with all the dye colors. It adsorbed the water, but the overflow dye was too watery to dye the fabric.
Now the hard part, wait for the ice to melt.
After being in my 80+ degree garage overnight it melted this much
End of day in 90+ degree Texas heat
When all the ice melted, I rinsed the fabric in my washing machine and dried it in my dryer. When it was all done, I was so excited about the results. In addition to the one I made the dress with, here is the blue one:
The colors are well blended and muted.
and the peach one:
The "texture" of the ice can be seen so well in the melting.
I embarked on this project rather impulsively using what I had on hand. Now that it is done, I can think about what to do differently next time.
1. Use good fabric with a plan for what to make with it. Scrap is good for experimenting, but what if you have a good result? It is worth the gamble ruining good fabric over having a good result on fabric you couldn't use.
2. Use two dye colors, side by side in the dye layer for more color blending. I may try another dye brand to see if I get stronger colors.
3. I left the ice to melt without interfering with it. Next time, I will check the collection pan and empty it when full. The bottom fabric sat in the dye water possibly blending the dye more than I would like. The stacking of the fabric made the middle and bottom ice melt very slowly. Next time, I will remove the fabric when the ice melts on the top allowing more heat to the subsequent layer (or maybe not based on Denise's experience in the comments) .
4. I will wear gloves. I had them, but was working so quickly I didn't take the time to put them on. The dye washed away in a day.
I don't know what I will make with the other fabrics yet. Little Miss has her eye on both... we will see.
I am happy with the process and my final result. What do you think? Please let me know if you try it; I would love to see your results.