Friday, 4 July 2014

Project Formal: Dyeing the lace

All this prosaic sewing has been very useful for halo shining, but today I had the day off, and have devoted the sewing portion of it to delightful frivolity. (There has been a small amount of hinting, increasing in frequency, that there are Only 130 something days until I have to come up with the  formal dress)


I've dyed the lace.
I'm not sure that the outcome is successful, as the recipient is not home yet, and may reject this black and pale purple combination as not being true to her vision, but I think its quite interesting in its new shades
When I burn tested the laces (there are 3 differently sourced laces), I had a quick ignition, bright flame, a woody smell and an ashy remnant, no beading, which I thought indicated a natural fibre, such as rayon or cotton. As this is elderly lace and was quite costly at the time, this seemed a likely fibre for its composition, so I dyed it using a fibre reactive dye, by the tub dyeing method, using these techniques from Dharma fabrics specific to black.
Note: Soda Ash is called Washing Soda in Australia (sodium carbonate) and I bought mine very inexpensively from the supermarket.
I had several dyes, and chose #300, as it is described as having a blue cast, and the under fabric for the dress is a silvery blue. I now strongly suspect that the netting of the lace is a polyester, and in my opinion, the cast is purple, rather an attractive purple, but definitely not blue.
At the same time, my older daughter threw in a cotton/lycra singlet to tie die.

Quite interesting again, and much more purple than blue.
In the left over dye bath, I soaked some some allegedly Irish Linen placemats that my mother retrieved from a church garage sale in case I might need them.


They were a pastel blue that I find hideous, and I much prefer their new colour. They may end up in a garment, or we may have new placemats.
All this dyeing took 3+ hours of activity, and 30 minutes soaking time in dye fixative solution. I enjoyed it, but I don't think I'll be doing it regularly.


Anonymous said...

Ohh - what a lovely way to spend the day. I once sewed around 20 different strips of lace to a piece of cotton, then put it into a suitable for natural fabrics Dylon dye bath. The laces all took the colour slightly differently due to their differing composition. The effect was very nice and harmonious. I hope your daughter is delighted!

Paola said...

Thanks for keeping us up to date with the formal dress. It's like reading an episodic novel, with each post leading up the reveal! Looking forward to the next instalment.

Sharon said...

Very interesting outcomes and I have toyed with this but so far haven't been game. Really liking the look of your daughters dress colours.

Patricia said...

Just curious- did you stir or just immerse the fabric for that period of time?
The results look lovely.

kbenco said...

Thanks Patricia, I dyed the lace according to the instructions at Dharma that I linked to. This involves a full half hour of stirring the fabric at a simmer, then a soak in hot water mixed with fixative. The second dye job was just soaked in the left overs, and did not dye as darkly nor as evenly.

Patricia said...

Thanks Karen, it was the "soaked" comment for the place mats that made me ask.
I have tried it both ways as well but the place mats look even in the pic so I thought I would check. I am no expert but have never gotten black so deep. Good on you for doing it right.