A Whole New World

Now that you all have the song from Aladdin floating around your head, I can discuss my new soon-to-be sewing addiction. 

I've mentioned a time or two that quality fabric is rather limited in my current part of the country. While I can find quality online, it often seems that a) it costs waaaay to much (remember, I'm not paying for it) or b) it still isn't quite what I had in mind.

For my most recent project (which I'll share in greater detail after it's up on The Sew Weekly), I struggled with finding the perfect trims.  However, I did have a ton of lace on hand and scored some cute buttons off ebay. The only problem? They were white. My dress on the other hand, royal blue with a grey Bemberg lining.  They clashed.

What to do...what to do?

Dye them!

That's right readers, my whole new world is dyeing fabrics and trims!  This was a great way to test the waters and I think this is going to be addictive!

Here's what I did:

I bought a pack of Rit powder dye in Black.  The store was out of grey and what's grey really - just a lighter shade of black.  I filled a large stainless pot with hot water, per the directions, wet the lace, and threw it all in the pot with just a sprinkle of the dye powder.  I wasn't dyeing much and I didn't want the pieces too dark so, used the smallest amount I could.

I let the lace sit in the dye for about 2 minutes while waiting for the water to simmer.  When I checked it though, I thought it was a bit too dark and too blue.  So, I washed it, set it aside and cut a new length.  This piece, I swirled in the water and removed within seconds.  This came out slightly lighter than the first piece.  After the laces were washed and hung, I checked on the buttons, which were now nearly the same shade grey as my lining.  So, I rinsed them and set them out to dry too.

At first, I wondered why the buttons had come out so much better than the lace.  I know different materials take to the dyes differently but, the buttons were a nice warm grey and the lace looked grey-blue.  It didn't take long to realize though, it was due to the buttons actually starting as a very pale ivory, whereas, the lace was bright white.  So, to warm the color of the lace, I let it dry and then set it in a cool black tea bath for about an hour.

Check out the results:

Left to right: twice-dyed finished lace, single-dyed lace, original white lace,
original white buttons,  finished dyed buttons, set on the grey lining

Now that I've tried it on trims, I'm (nervously) ready to tackle a bigger project. I can't find silk locally, and at $40+/yd online for charmeuse in the colors I want, dyeing seems to obvious solution. For only $12/yd + ~$4 for dye, I'll (hopefully) have the perfect silk for my upcoming dresses!  Wish me luck!

Any tips before I plunge? x


  1. Wow, what a difference the dye has made! I can't wait to see the dress. I wish I had some advice for you on dyeing your fabric - but I've never done it. The only I know is that natural fibers take to dye better than synthetic ones - so your silk charmeuse will have no problem taking to the dye.

  2. Thanks, Annabelle! I expect to post the new dress sometime this week (have to wait for Mena to post it first). I hope you're right about the silk taking the dye. I've chosen two jewel tones so the silk will really need to slurp up the color!


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