Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dyeing fabric

Dana over at MADE 's recent post on dyeing onesies inspired me to try it myself. I have a bunch of white onesies just waiting to be made unique. If you recall this post, I made iron on appliqués for a few of them.
To dye the onesies, I first washed them to rid them of the packaging starch. Once finished, I left the onesies damp. While the wash cycle was going, I dissolved a package of "Bahama Blue" DYLON dye in 4 cups warm water as directed by the package. I also filled a home depot bucket with a few gallons of warm water from our bathtub.

I'm fairly accident prone so I decided this needed to be an outdoor project. Next to a hose. On the grass. The last thing we need is a turquoise patio.

I added 4TBSP of salt to the bucket of water and then poured the dissolved dye into the bucket and mixed it with some tongs to assure it was mixed well.

In went four onesies and some muslin fabric ( I let half the muslin hang out of the bucket...trying for an ombré swaddle blanket). I stirred constantly for 15 minutes and removed my first onesie. I rinsed it in cold water and threw it in the washing machine to sit while the rest marinated in the dye bath a while longer. I removed the second one at a half hour and also pulled about 6 inches of my submerged muslin end  out of the dye bath to try for the gradient effect.
L: 15 minute dye bath
R: 30 minute dye bath
The remaining two onesies sand muslin stayed in an hour thanks to an 11 week old who refuses to sleep anywhere but on me in the afternoons. With daytime naps being a constant struggle, I often give in just to ensure he gets at least one good stretch of zzzzz's. He's a real cat napper, napping no longer than 45 min at a time. This is why quick projects like this tend to be my cup of tea these days.

My favorite thing about the dye bath is that each onesie came out a unique shade of the same color. Some vibrant ( the ones that basked in the bath an hour) , and others very light ( the one that dipped in for just 15 min).
Ombre effect dyeing technique= success!
 Similar to Aden and Anais swaddle blankets
 for a fraction of the cost

Once all your fabric is dyed, rinse in cold water and then throw it in a warm wash cycle. I like to throw in old towels to absorb any dye that may escape. To be extra careful not to have my next load tinted a special color (er-- turquoise in this case), I run my washer on its cleaning cycle afterwards.

I took it one step further and added some swag that I had printed onto iron-on adhesive paper.
Aviator glasses
The sun never sets on cool
Showin some Big Wheel love
It's an easy one afternoon project, perfect for baby shower gifts or your own little one.


  1. did you just by some muslim or did you buy a blanket with finished edges?

  2. I purchased gauze muslin at Joann's. I still need to finish the raw edes with my serger.

  3. Bah! The little one in the sunglass onsie, too cute!::I die::