Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dip Dyed Curtains

Hello everyone! Today I'm giving an easy tutorial on dip dying fabric. Because my rental came with plain white curtains, and we have to pay for them as part of the lease anyway (because of our dear kitty who you'll see is my trusty assistant), I thought I'd work with them to add some color to the room.

One of the first things I did when we moved in was modify the curtains to make them more like shades. Most of the windows have pretty nice views with lots of plants/greenery, and I didn't like it that every time I wanted a little privacy I lost all the view. But they're plain white, and the walls are plain white, and I kind of crave color so something had to change.

Utrecht had a few different brands of dye, but I chose this one. It cost a little more than Ritt but I'm worth it. ;)

There are two types with this brand--one for natural fabrics and one for synthetic--make sure you get the right one.

The process of dying is pretty straightforward. This dye can be used in the washer or in a pot on the stove (the water needs to be hot). I don't have a huge pot so I used the kitchen sink filled with hot water.

Yes, the water was pretty cool by the time I dyed the last fabric panel but it didn't seem to matter. It might matter when I go to wash can see I live on the edge!

I wanted a striped look so my plan was to fold the fabric like an accordion and dip one side. Of course you could get really intricate with the folding and have an equally intricate pattern on your fabric. But I wanted to keep it simple for my first time trying this and am also planning to add more decoration to them with stencils/stamps.

I wanted to see if dying the fabric wet or dry made a difference (and it did) so I tested it out using some fabric scraps.

The fabric on the left was dry when I dyed, on the right, wet. Aside from the wrinkles which can easily be ironed out, the wet dye has more texture in the gradient from yellow to white; the dry dye is much smoother. I liked the texture so, ironing afterward be damned, I wet the fabric first. Time to get started on the final pieces! Here are the fabric pieces folded and being dyed:

A few things: I held the fabric in the dye for three minutes, and moved it around a bit make sure it penetrated evenly through the folds. I definitely wished toward the end that I had invented a nifty way to hold the fabric over the sink to relieve my tired arm (maybe a long skewer and some clothes pins?). Also, I put rubber gloves on later in the process because I kept getting dye on my hands--not good!

I learned after doing one or two panels that the more wrinkled the fabric, the more interesting the texture and striations so I started scrunching it up during the folding process.

It was a little bit of challenge to keep those folds while holding it in the water but not too tough.

When the three minutes was up I'd pull it out, wait for the dripping to stop and hang it on a line to dry. Fortunately my line is right outside my kitchen. Unfolding the fabric to hang it on the line was definitely the most challenging part. What can happen is that a corner of the dyed section can fall against the white section, getting dye on the white section, and ruining your design. Fortunately I learned this with the test pieces and had no mishaps with the final panels. If you have a second person to help unfold and hang it's a lot easier.

Here's a "before and after" of my office area and my dining room "after". I have to say I'm loving the change and am now thinking how pretty a nice charcoal color would look on the walls in the dining room. Until next time...!  :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Chevron Border Print Pillow Cover

So I am certainly not the first person to blog about making a pillow cover. I bet if you did the search "making a pillow cover", you'd get over 50,000 results returned. Holy frijole, I just did that exact search and got 7,580,000 results! But I digress...

I wanted to make a pillow cover using one of my fabric designs, Chevron Border Print, so I thought I'd document it. I recently decided to start doing "step-by-step" tutorials for my creative projects and here we have the inaugural entry. :)

But seeing as there is already so much info out there, I'm just going to offer up a few tips and point to sites that already do a great job of explaining the process.

One thing I learned years ago from my trusty "Singer Sewing Projects for the Home" book is that, in order to prevent the upturned, pointy pillow corners, you should round the corners a bit. I didn't see this outlined on many other blogs so I thought I'd mention it. It keeps the corners from flaring out like wings, and makes it look more like an actual square. If you cut the fabric perfectly square, the corners will point out once you have the pillow inside.

It's easy enough to do--take each piece of fabric and fold in half twice. On the open end (the corner that is not folded) measure in 1/2" from the edge and make a mark. Make another mark halfway down the side and connect these two marks. Then simply round the corner but cutting along these lines.

And I wish I had looked at this pillow cover tutorial on DesignSponge before I made mine because I love the way they sew in the zipper. I'll never do it my old, clumsy way again!

Without further ado, here's my finished project:

What I love about pillow covers is that it took about an hour to complete, and the materials were about $35--no better way to update any room!