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Dyeing Fabric

Dyeing your fabric is an easy way to make your project look 'old'. There are a few different methods you can use to dye your fabric.

Tea Dyes

The very best tea to use for dyeing is Earl Grey, followed closely by English Breakfast. Tea dyeing gives your fabric a dirty, unwashed look. Over a very long period of time, the tea dye will cause your work to disintegrate, due to the tannic acid in the tea. Mounting your design on an acid-free backing can help delay this.

Coffee Dyes

Dyeing your fabric with coffee will give it a brown, old look. There is less acid in coffee, and your work should last over 75 years.

There are a few variations for coffee dyeing your fabric other than a basic dye bath.

Coffee Rub You can rub coffee grounds directly onto the fabric. While it is very messy, it distresses the fabric more and will give you a dark colour. Make a paste from unused coffee grounds then spread the paste on your fabric. Once you have rubbed in the grounds, dry the fabric completely then brush off the grounds. Press with a hot iron, and you're ready to sew.

Coffee Dye Bath Use two cups of cold coffee-it doesn't matter what kind of coffee you use the darker the bean the darker your fabric will be.

Dyeing Your Fabric — General Information

Always use a cold water dye bath, as hot water will shrink your fabric.

Long-sit dyeing will give you darker colours the longer it sits in the dye. Just lay your fabric in the dye and leave it. Try to leave it in unfolded, as you will get different shades on the folds.

To get a mottled effect, you can use the old tie-dye method

Leave your fabric in the dye anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour. If it is still not dark enough, return it to the dye bath. Remember your fabric will be a lighter colour when dry. Use your hairdryer on a corner of your fabric to check it, and return it to the dye bath if it's not dark enough.

To set your colour, add 1 teaspoon of alum to the dye bath. Leave the fabric sit for 5 minutes.

It is always best to do test swatches when doing your own dyeing. Do this also if you plan to dye your fabric after you stitch your design. Sew a square with all the colours in your design, make notes of how long to leave it in the dye bath for desired results.