Thursday, June 19, 2008


I am finding it hard to blog these days, mostly I'm not interested, but also I am very busy spending my mornings dyeing and my afternoons and evenings working on projects. However a former student asked me recently to post about my dyeing so I will give you all a quick tutorial on easy dyeing.
Start out with PFD, prepared for dye, cotton, you can find links on my website
to Test Fabrics where I buy my fabric. If you don't have access to PFD fabric, first wash what ever fabric that you are going to dye to remove any sizing and chemicals that are on the fabrics.
Cut the fabric to the desired size and then soak for at least 15 minutes in a solution of Sodium Carbonate, PH Plus powder for the pool, and water. While the fabric is soaking you can mix your dyes.

I mix my dyes on top of my washing machine. I cover the machine with an old blanket that I spritz with water. I place a mixer in a dishpan on top of the blanket and mix my dyes in the blender. I do this to help contain any dye that might become airborne. I always wear a mask, gloves and old clothes when I dye, because where dye lands dye stays!! Old shoes too and even dye underwear. Things can get messy.
I mix 14 different colors and then place them in squirt bottles and quart drinking bottles for storage.
I spin rinse my fabric in the washing machine to remove the excess soda water. I have the black tube from the back of the washing machine hanging over the lip of my laundry sink and the bucket that the fabric soaked in under the tube to catch the soda water and reuse it again and again.
Then I pleat my fabric and place it on clear plexi-glass platters that I had made, thanks Melody, and apply the dye in a gradation. I let the fabric dry flat over night on black metal shelving that I bought at Menard's. These are set up in my dye area as well.
Once the fabric is dry I wash it out in the washing machine using hot water and regular laundry detergent with just a little Synthrapol. It gets rinsed twice and fabric softner added at the end. I iron it while it is still damp. And wallah, gorgeous hand dyed fabric. It's a lot of work but well worth the end results.


Priscilla said...

Thank you so much! This is like magic to me.

suequilts said...

Frieda, you are so generous with your information. I love the way your dyed fabric looks. I have a question - when you apply your dye, do you simply run the tip of the bottle over the tops of the pleats? Or do you saturate between the pleats as well?


Monty Burns said...

Interesting, gives me some new ideas to try out!

Anonymous said...

OMG! I hope you're not putting dyed underwear in your quilts. If you do, make sure you point out to us exactly where it is. Thanks for the tutorial. I am glad that you showed the pic with the mask on. I had a bad experience in a dyeing class recently where a mask was not on the class supply list. Since I am new to dyeing it never occurred to me that a mask was needed.

Anonymous said...

Love your work Frieda. Beautiful stuff...

Linda said...

I hope you don't totally abandon your blog as I enjoy following it; I can tell from the posting time though that it is a chore.

Thank you for the tip on folding the wet fabric before applying the dye to get the striations -- that is what makes your fabrics so great.

Also enjoyed seeing your garden -- esp. the poppies (my favorite flower) which do not grow here in Florida.

Candyce said...

Love your fabrics. Question- which particular fabrics do you use? I looked at Fabricart site and there are hundreds. Cotton, silk ???
I would like to do both.
thanks for the tutorial.
Candy in Missouri (Hi - you were here with us at the Lake a few years ago)@

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