Thursday, January 7, 2010

Easy Fabric Dyeing


(Submitted by Kathie R. Kerler, American Quilter magazine contributing editor)
Hand-dyed fabrics are popular among quilters. Some use hand dyes because they like the mottled effect, while others want a gradated range of shades within a single color for a project. Many quilters think only of immersion dyeing and are not familiar with a product called Dye-Na-Flow by Jacquard. This product offers an easy way to dye or color fabric without using tubs or baggies, large quantities of water, or salt and soda ash. Other products may be similar to Dye-Na-Flow, but this is what I have the most experience with. It is available online or at many retail shops.
Dye-Na-Flow is a concentrated liquid color that can be used on any fabric, natural or synthetic. I have colored silk, organza, and most often cotton. After dyeing with Dye-Na-Flow, the hand of the fabric does not change. It remains soft and easy to stitch.
To use, simply mix a small amount of the Dye-Na-Flow concentrate with water in a cup. Tape your fabric down over a sheet of plastic and paint on the color with a sponge brush. It doesn’t take much concentrate to color a large piece of fabric. Add a little Dye-Na-Flow to a small amount of water, maybe ¼ to a ½ cup at a time, until you obtain the intensity desired. Because it doesn’t take much product, the smallest jar at 2.25 oz. lasts a long time. While the manufacturer does not make any claims, I have had some jars for more than ten years, and the product is still fine. The finished fabric is heat set for 2 – 3 minutes with an iron.
You can manipulate the fabric and Dye-Na-Flow for a variety of effects. If you spray the fabric before applying the colors, as I did, they will mix more. You can use salts to create bursts of color. Or you can do what I did on the sample shown here and scrunch up the fabric so that as it dries, the colors pool in the “valleys” and leave striations. This is not an exact science—experiment to get the look you like.

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