OMBRE OR DIP DYEING IS AN EASY WAY TO TURN PLAIN WHITE FABRIC INTO SOMETHING SPECIAL – OR BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO AN OLD PIECE OF FABRIC.
By Judy Newman
White cushion covers can be piece dyed – this vibrant orange dye makes quite a statement.
Then I’ve experimented with a simple double dipped effect with blue dye on white linen napkins. And once the dye bucket comes out, I always find I’m looking around for what else can go into it. In this case, an old single cotton sheet destined for the clothing bin was given a second life and re-birthed into a table cloth.
Blue and White Table Linen
1. Mix two batches of dye – following the manufacturer’s instructions but making one batch of half strength. You need clean, stain-free fabric which must be wet before adding it to the dye bath.
2. Experiment with some calico first, fold the pieces in different ways. Pictured here you can see folded strips dipped on one end, folded strips dipped on the edges and a square folded into a triangular shape then the edges and/or the centre (point of the triangle) dipped.
3. First dip in the half strength dye then dip a smaller section in the full strength dye, leaving the fabric in the dye bath for a few minutes (use pegs to hold on the side of the bucket). Rinse the fabric until the water runs clear to remove the excess dye; avoid getting dye onto the white sections. I only dipped the edge of the triangle-folded piece then decided to dip the centre (point) as well which gave a tie-dyed effect.
4. Having experimented with the calico, I decided to do simple straight folds and dip the long folded edges into the two dye baths.
5. Keeping in mind that there are two strengths of dye – if you overdye using the full strength you’ll cover up the lighter colour. Rinse the fabric and hang to dry.
6. With my batch of dye calling out to be used, I found an old pale blue cotton sheet which is the perfect size for a casual outdoor tablecloth. First I dyed the entire sheet in the half strength dye bath.
7. Then put the ends into the full strength dye bath, leaving the centre of the fabric outside the bucket.
8. Rinse the entire piece until the water runs clear then hang to dry. Hmmm what else is there that could do with a new colour?
The orange and white linen cushions were dip dyed using a radiant orange colour. Wet the fabric first, then dip one end of the cushion into the dye bath leaving the other end hanging over the edge of the bucket so it doesn’t come into contact with the dye. Rinse the fabric until the water runs clear and hang to dry, placing the dyed end at the bottom of the piece in case the colour runs.
Notes: Natural fibres such as linen, cotton, wool and silk are easiest to dye. Fabrics need to be clean and stain-free. Follow the manufacturer’s directions and don’t forget to add salt if directed.