Hand dyed fabric exploits

About 2 years ago I purchased a class form Craftsy called ‘The Art of Cloth Dyeing’ by Jane Dunnwold, and I have been totally hooked on dyeing fabric ever since.

This weekend I turned my bathroom in to my chemistry lab and began to play.

yellow hand dyed fabric

The top yellow pattern was made by continually folding the fabric in half until it could not be folded any more. The bottom yellow fabric was scrunched up in to a tight ball.

red hand dyed fabric

The top red fabric was pleated. The bottom red fabric was folded in the same way as the yellow above but the pattern here is much more pronounced.

blue hand dyed fabirc

The top blue fabric was made with a flag fold. The bottom blue is a pleat fold the same as the red pleated above.

I wanted to show you the different outcomes you can get with hand dyeing even when using the same techniques. For some people this would be off putting, but it is this lack of uniformity and the organic nature of the designs on the fabric that I adore. Manipulating the fabric by folding creates a resist to the dye and can produce some stunning patterns.

It is this unknown quality that separates hand dyed fabrics from printed fabrics. A print will be repeated across a width of fabric and each print will be exactly the same. You can see from the photographs that hand dyeing produces a unique pattern across the entirety of the fabric. Whilst it is possible to control the variables in hand dyeing to achieve a similar result, each batch of fabric dyed will be inherently unique.

The fabric squares in the photo’s are 10 inch cotton poplin and I used procion mx dye, which is a fibre reactive dye for cotton, linen and silk. The dye will react differently to different types and weights of fabric.

All of the fabrics here were dyed with 1 pure colour, that is a colour that does not have any other colours mixed in to it. I will do another post showing some mixed dyes and adding colour using a technique called overdyeing (basically dyeing the fabric again in another colour).

If you fancy giving hand dyeing a try Colourcraft (UK) do a starter kit, which comes with 6 dyes and the auxiliary chemicals needed for dyeing, however you will need to buy a wash product such as synthrapol.

My favourite of the dyed fabrics is the blue pleat fold, which is your favourite?

Lisa at The Quilting Bird.

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