Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Project - Tea Stain Dye

I'm continuing to work my way through the pile of clothes I've bought at Goodwill this summer!  One of the first places I head to is the white section.  I often find great shirts and sweaters in perfect shape, but a little boring in their white state.  Plus, white is not a good color for me - everyone can instantly see everything I've been eating and drinking since I put it on.  A little fabric dye, though, and voila!  A totally new shirt!

I used to use tea bags to dye some of the shirts - I really like that aged look it gives them.  However, no matter how I handle the dying process, no matter whether or not I use something (and I tried lots of things) to try and fix the tea color, it always eventually fades to a too light color.  So I recently had an idea I can't believe I didn't think of sooner - use Procion dye.  After a few experiments, I found that Procion Ecru will give me the tea stain color I like if I cut it way down.  I use 1 teaspoon in 1 1/2 gallons of water (1/2 pound or under of fabric) for a light stain color and 1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons for a darker stain.  If you're new to dying fabric with Procion, see my past post here.

This white sweater is a good example - I found it at Goodwill for $1.00 and in perfect shape.  Not even a fray anywhere.  The only question was, its tag said it was made of 96% baumwolle.  ????  I just got a smartphone earlier this summer and am still not used to being able to look stuff up when I'm out and about - so I bought it anyway.  How can you lose for a buck?!  And if it turned out to be wool, I decided I could play around with some kool-aid dying on it.  Turns out baumwolle is German for cotton - perfect!  I dyed it a tea stain shade,

added a little three prong blanket stitch edging for interest, and I have a new summer sweater - and a new German word!

I also had a nice surprise dying another dollar find.  I bought this linen shirt planning on embroidering around the collar and sleeves after it was dyed.  I dyed it sage green and instantly, up popped a design right where I'd been planning on embroidering - there was a pattern stamped along the edges in white.  On white.  Hmmm.  It didn't show up at all before dying!

Time to decide what to dye next!

Happy Creating!  Deborah


  1. so many possibilities still to explore with that cardigan

  2. thanks for the procion tea dying formula!