Ranging in age from 13 to 70-something, our band of seven women–most of whom had never tried textile dyeing before–dyed silk and rayon scarves and other textiles using several techniques including shibori, low-water immersion, and ice parfait dyeing.
The whole experience was a blast! There was a lot of planning and organization, I must admit–plus, I made them lunch and snacks–but it was all worth it! And the experience resulted in a stash of many of the supplies needed to safely dye more fabric.
As the weather warms up here in New England and across the U.S., I thought it would be a good time to share some of the tips I learned from my fabric dying party experience.
- Know your guests and plan accordingly. If most are inexperienced dyers, start with a small project such as a hemmed silk scarf that has been prepared for dyeing (PFD).
- Have clean-up cloths available on each table. If you use PFD fabric, these cloths–which are sometimes the best dyed pieces of the day–can have a life after the party.
- Using alphabet beads, string your guests’ initials onto a large safety pin and have them ready to attach to the fabric. After the pieces come out of the dye bath, you’ll know whose is whose.
- Provide take-away bags filled with a small amount of synthrapol, an extra set of gloves, and written instructions on rinsing, washing, and drying the hand-dyed fabric.
- Supply plastic bags or containers for safely transporting the freshly dyed fabric home.
- Be sure to dispose of dyes responsibly at the end of the day.
The article I wrote about my dye party experience, including more how-tos and a practical advice, is included in the new eBook from Quilting Arts, Dye Your Own Fabric.Dye Your Own Fabric includes 10 tutorials on how to dye fabric, including ice dyeing, ice-parfait dyeing, flat dyeing, snow dyeing, techniques using thickened dyes, and shibori techniques. With dyeing season approaching, this eBook is essential for a colorful, hand-dyed season.
P.S. Have you ever hosted or been to a dye party? Add your tips to mine in the comments section below.