Dyeing Fabric

I think I'm hooked.

My quilting group had a fabric dyeing workshop on Saturday with Brenda's mom, Meg. Meg took us through the whole process of dyeing fabric using Procion fibre reactive dyes. We started with unbleached cotton muslin, presoaked in soda ash.

Next we mixed 3 colours of dye: a red, a yellow, and a blue, from which all the other colours would be created. Since we were dyeing 24 small pieces of fabrics (fat quarters, or 1/4 yard), each a different colour, we used ziploc bags to keep each individual colour separate from the others.

In each bag, we added the dye in varying ratios according to a preset colour chart. (We learned that both new and used bags can spring a leak!) After a fabric piece was added to each bag we were done for the day!

Back home, after sitting in the dye for at least 24 hours, the fabric was ready to be rinsed and washed. When wet, it was difficult to distinguish some of the colour gradations.

Here is the final result after ironing. My fabrics are actually much more mottled than they appear in this photo. Aren't the colour gradations beautiful?

I have no idea yet what project(s) I will use these for. Any ideas? For inspiration, Meg had this beautiful quilt on display that she made with her hand dyed fabrics.

Footnote: I just loved how bright and colourful all these threads looked after coming out of the washing machine, I had to include them too!


  1. The process looks like fun & the result is absolutely dreamy! I can't even begin to imagine what to make. Until you decide, I do hope you'll have the displayed so that you can look at them often.

  2. Thanks for the great post with all the details. My colours are definitely more in the orange since I did the fall range, and I also have some lovely yellows. I'm not as thrilled with the greens. I also have some yardage that I folded and rubberbanded which has pure colour -- reds and blues and yellow. It was fun, but definitely a bit messy getting the fabric out of the bag and into the washer.

  3. Ooooh, so pretty! I want to try it!

  4. Oh wow, Laura, those colors are just gorgeous! Don't get me started on another project, please... lol :) That looks like so much fun, though. And that quilt--I want it! Looks like stained glass.

  5. i know what you mean about being addicted to dyeing- i love dyeing my spinning fiber!!
    your fabric turned out beautiful. i a tempted to spin those threads that were left over!

  6. this looks like a happy fabric rainbow!! i LOVE your new fabric stash! oh how i wish i could come and play with you...so much fun!! :)

  7. I have never found a good use for those threads, but I have such a hard time throwing them out. I'm glad you enjoyed the experience.

  8. Delicious color! that looks so fun. Thanks for sharing.

  9. oh, those would make some pretty fabulous bookcloth!

  10. Fabulous colours there!

    You could put the threads under some net or wash away and quilt/ sew all over it and make it into a fabric patch that could be used for applique ATCs or just as a fabric block. So pretty.

  11. Won't bother with all the gushing that this project deserves! but let it be known that I'm feeling craft envy!

    I would frame all the strings in a shadow box and enjoy them on the wall . . . that's totally my groove.

  12. this looks like sooo much fun! can't wait to see what you'll do with the fabrics. and, the threads would make a beautiful bird nest!!


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