Friday, July 14, 2017

Ice Dyed Fabric Maxi Dress

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.



The full front of this pattern is perfect for showing the range of colors achieved in the dyeing process.



Pink isn't a color I would normally reach for, but I was open to experimentation. Furthermore, I was using the dye I had on hand. :)  


The colors were more vibrant on some areas and muted in others. I used the softer colors on the back with the twist detail.



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.



Now, let me tell you how I dyed the fabrics using the parfait method.

Supplies:
Tulip dye powder in  Turquoise, Red, Marroon, and Pink
Image result for tulip dye
Dollar store hamper to hold fabric, sand sifter toy to elevate fabric from melting ice, and oil drip pan to catch the water.

 Stacked

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. 



a blue cotton jersey


 and a pale yellow one I used for this dress.

Ice: I used about 20 lbs. of ice. A 10 lb bag I bought and the rest from my fridge.

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.

 With morning light



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.


Happy sewing,
Bianca

33 comments:

  1. Love this dress! That blue piece is going to be something gorgeous as well -- any plans for what you'll do with it? Thanks for the tips on what you'd do differently next time; those were super helpful. I'm definitely encouraged by seeing what lovely effects you got on the first try!

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    1. Thanks so much! My daughter wants a dress with the blue one and because it is a fast fun project, I may do it and dye another for myself.

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  2. I love ice-dyeing. You get deeper colors if you use fabric that doesn't have any finishes on it.

    You also get deeper, more reproducible colors, if you use soda ash pre-soak and fiber reactive dyes.

    I made photo-tutorials for snow-dyeing and ice-dyeing.
    https://badmomgoodmom.blogspot.com/2016/04/snow-dyeing-experiment.htmlhttps://badmomgoodmom.blogspot.com/2017/03/ice-dye-experiment-2.html

    The ice slows down the dye uptake in a chromatography process. (Can you tell I have a BS in Chemistry?) Since bluer colors take up more slowly than pink/red, I'm going to try giving the blue powders a head start before sprinkling on the fuchsia. Stay tuned for more dye experiments!

    Dharma is an excellent source for supplies and instructions. No affiliation--just a happy customer.
    http://www.dharmatrading.com/home/learn-how-to-ice-dye.html

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    1. Thanks so much Grace! I loved reading your post and seeing your results! I will consider the soda ash wash next time. I really appreciate the Dharma link too!

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  3. Oops I meant to comment on your blog, not send you a message. Oh well. I think your experiment came out GREAT!

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    1. Thanks Linda! It happens more times than you think :)

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  4. That dress and the fabric are amazing! I went straight to Amazon and bought the pattern. Going to set up to try ice-ish later today!

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    1. Silly auto correct! *Ice-dying

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    2. I am so excited that you are doing this!!! I saw it and ran to do it and now you are doing the same :D ! Please share it when it is done!

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  5. Gorgeous! Like you, I'm not a fan of pink but yours is so vibrant. It looks wonderful on you. I'm looking forward to see what yo make with the blue fabric.

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    1. Thanks so much Sherri! My daughter is thinking about what she wants. I can't wait to see it too!

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  6. Love this idea of creating a look totally your own! I want to try blues, greens and purples to go with my hair! Beautiful look and great tutorial - thanks for sharing!

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    1. Ohhh! I love those colors! That sounds great!

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  7. Checking in! I put three layers in, and I have discovered that there's a good reason for leaving them until more melting has happened. I pulled my top layer when the top ice melted, but because it's wet, the ice under it had frozen to the top fabric. Pulling fabric before the layers over AND under it have melted results in a lot of disturbed ice. Nothing catastrophic, mind you, but if I had arranged things in any kind of design, I'd be sad right now. As it is, I didn't, so I'm not 😁

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    1. Denise! You rock! I love that you are doing this right now!!!! Thanks for testing the theory on removing layers. That makes so much sense. I am glad it didn't have a catastrophic result! I can't to see what you get, please share!

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    2. I will! I'm straight up copying you with different colors. The pattern we'll be here Saturday 😁

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  8. Bianca, this is so cool! I've never done this but now must try it! Thanks for all the details and the very helpful photos! Sue

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    1. Thanks so much Sue! It is a great way to change fabric that, compared to other embellishment techniques, is fast and easy. You should give it a try!

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  9. Maybe instead of catching the water in an oil pan you could use a kiddie pool. And set another clothes basket upside down underneath the basket of fabric to keep it out of the water.

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  10. This experiment turned out really cool! I've been curious about ice dying, so it's nice to see how it works. The neckline stabilization technique is helpful, too. Thanks for sharing your experiments! Love the dress.

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    1. Thanks so much Lisa! I am really excited with how this turned out. I am glad it has been helpful!

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  11. Love your dress! The ice dyeing is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing this technique!

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  12. Another update! Bianca, I think you largely nailed it the first time. I pulled my fabrics as the layer of ice over them melted, and they are dyed, but the colors are nowhere near as vivid as yours. Mine are all pastels, and I was using pretty vivid dye. Next time (and there's for sure going to be a next time!), I'm going to let it sit all day, and maybe overnight, like you did. I'll post the picture of the dress when it's done!

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    1. Yay! I am so glad you had a successful result and are going to do it again! You can do one more color on top of what you did already and leave that for a day. That way you have a bold color on the pastels. I can't wait to see your dress!

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  13. It is truly so beautiful. Love the vibrant colors and you look great in pink.

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    1. Thanks Tomasa! I think I will add a bit more of pink to my wardrobe :)

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  14. Besides Dharma, Pro Chemical in MA is a great resource with pages of instructions for the dyes. They are very economical because a little goes a long way; people may want to share an order with a group which is what we weavers/dyers do ...have a dye party. And if you want to explore more dye work look up Shibori which is lots of fun too.
    Anyway, really enjoy reading about your endeavors.

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    1. Thanks so much for the dye tips! I have used Pro chemical for woodblock printing dye, but not powdered eyes. I will definitely check them out. Two weekends ago, I took a Shibori dye class and loved it! I'm so glad I took a class because it is so involved! When I'm willing to commit to that time commitment I may start my own fermentation pot.

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    2. Where did you find the Shibori dye class? I'm in the greater Houston area.

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  15. Wow wow wow! The colors are so vibrant and they blend together so well. Between you and Sue Parrott, you're convincing me that I need to try this asap! Well, literally asap because we only have a couple of weeks before fall sets in! :D

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  16. You should totally give it a try! Every sunny day I am tempted to try again or over dye what I have already done. It is so satisfying.

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