Saturday, August 17, 2013
Scrumple tie-dyeing pants-a tutorial
I bought some white pinwale cord fabric on clearance recently, and decided to make my girls some really BRIGHT pants. Here’s how. I’m using Procion dyes-I assume that you have basic knowledge of how to use them. If not, I sell dye kits with full PDF instructions, and if you’d like the instructions only to see how they work please email me and i’ll send them to you. No strings attached!
First up, you need white pants, made from a cellulose-based fibre. A little bit of synthetic is OK. Note that if they are sewn with synthetic thread this won’t dye-I sewed these pants with a coordinating colour. Soak them in your soda ash/salt solution, then hang them to dry. You want them completely dry, so they’ll really suck up the dye and give you vibrant results.
Lay them flat on a firm surface, and start scrunching. (I should be wearing gloves. I always forget when they’re dry.) Grab a handful of fabric and scrunch it up. Hold it in place with your thumb and palm, jump your fingers forward and pull the next crumple up. You’re aiming to finish with a nice tight disk, with an even distribution of fabric between front and back. Think of it as pleating, but without the straight lines-you want an even depth all over, with a flattish top and bottom.
When your crumpled part gets larger, hold it in place with one hand while you push the loose fabric toward it with the other, still aiming to keep the scrunches random and around the same depth.
Band your bundle (you may need an extra set of hands here). You’re aiming to hold the folds in place, but don’t go so tight that your disk wants to cave in on itself. Keep it flat.
Mix up a small amount of dye-for these size 8-9 pants I used 1.5 cups of water with 2 tsps of Procion. I’m using green here, for the blue and green pants-I do the lighter colour first. Pour it into the bottom of a shallow container. Around 1cm deep is fine-you want the pants to wick, or soak up the dye slowly to the point you want it.
Drop your pants in. You’ll notice they start wicking the dye up right away. Give them a gentle push from above all over to make sure all of the bottom layer comes into contact with the dye. As it’s your lighter colour can leave them in until the dye creeps up to about halfway up the sides of your bundle-it will continue to spread when you take it out. Usually, having the lighter areas slightly bigger than the darker areas gives you a better visual balance of colours on the finished item-otherwise the dark colour can overpower the lighter one.
Lift them out and let them drip out the excess, holding them dye side down.
Now for colour number two, the darker-in this case, blue. Do the same thing-pour your mixed dye into a shallow container, drop the pants in dry side down, and press gently to help the uptake of dye. When the second colour has wicked up the the level of the first, they’re done. You can pull them out a little earlier if you want more white in the finished product, or leave them a little longer if you want no white at all.
Take them out, and let the excess drain.
Sit them, dark side down, onto a rack of some sort. This is a gate we scavenged, and until we have somewhere to use it as a gate i’ve commandeered it. Leave the dye to set, for at least two hours but preferably overnight. Make sure they don’t dry out-once they’re well-drained pop them into a plastic bag if need be. I throw a tarpaulin over all of my stuff (there’s usually lots) and leave it overnight.
The next day-wow, they’ve changed colour completely! Alright, so I didn’t take photos of this part with the blue/green pants, but i’m sure you’ll understand it with the pink/purple. Rinse them with cold water, still keeping the lighter side up. After a few minutes it’s time to untie, and see what you’ve created……………
Voila! Your pattern is revealed. Keep rinsing (a fence or clothes horse is handy for this) until the water is clear, or nearly so. Then hot wash them with double the soap, hang to dry and they’re ready to wear.
My three rainbow girls, ready to go out for the day. I fully expect that when they hit their teenage years, they’ll rebel by wearing black or grey. It would be fitting. I’ll show you how to do the stripey variation another day.
Feel free to take this method and add your own twist-add more colours, use the same method on t-shirts or jackets (it makes really funky towels), use resists-experiment! If you do try it out, please share your pictures on my Facebook album dedicated to customer and fan showing off. I love to see your work!