I’ve been wanting to have a go at dyeing with tea for a while now.
I had an old white cotton skirt with a broderie anglaise hem that I wanted to incorporate into my current project (using up the pant legs from the green jeans) and needed to be less, well, white!
I also wanted to try it on this cream rayon dress mum gave me with cool embroidery details
and a vintage (gulp) wool cardigan that had become yellow with age to see a) if it would work on rayon and wool, and b) what colour would cream go in a tea bath?
I boiled a big pot of water and then added LOTS of old tea bags, most of which had been sitting around in the kitchen for years as we drink coffee!
I let the tea brew for an hour or so and then removed all the teabags – or so I thought!
The pot wasn’t big enough for all three garments at once so I soaked them one at a time. The cotton skirt was first, I left it in for about two hours giving a stir every now and then, and took it out for a rinse.
I left the rayon dress for a bit longer, as supposedly it it harder to dye. The great thing about a tea bath is that you can use the same liquid over again. I put the wool cardigan in last and left it over night (about ten hours) as I wanted to see how brown it would go.
Unfortunately, when I took it out the next morning it was very blotchy. It was a lovely caramel brown colour, but blotchy. I couldn’t understand how this happened when the other two were fine? Was it because it didn’t get stirred?
When I emptied the pot of tea I discovered the problem. Teabags still at the bottom of the pot! Arrrgg! If you want a nice even colour, take out ALL the teabags first! And give it a stir now and then.
I also gave the garments a spin in the dryer to “set” the dye, hence the slight shrinkage of the cardigan. I’m not too worried about it as I was planning to try and felt it anyway.
Here’s my after shots of the skirt and dress:
They came out a kind of pinky brown colour, they look a bit washed out in these photo’s, you can see a more true representation of the colour in this one:
Now it works better with the other fabrics I’m using.
I started with a pair of slightly faded green jeans, then made them into a skirt like this.
It was a bit plain so I decided to add some patchwork applique and lace
My favourite so far!
If you look at the back of the waistband you can see the original colour where I’ve pulled the tag off. It’s now more of a turquoise green.
I am using the cut off pieces from the legs for another project which will be revealed soon.
I haven’t posted for a while so here’s some pics of this large bag I made ages ago for my mum.
The bag base was originally cut smaller than this. I had a small scrap of floral fabric from Nana’s stash that I wanted to use for the flower shapes, utilizing as much of the piece as possible. After building up the layers underneath the flowers grew in size and I knew I would have to re-cut the bag to fit them on without looking all squashed up.
This one is a photo of mum wearing it so you can see the scale.