Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Indigo Dye Dresses and fabric. First Results

As promised, here are the results of my first time trying to dye fabric with real indigo dye. First of all, let me tell you how it works. You get a kit, or you buy the dye and chemicals and a dye vat, which in my case is a 5 gallon plastic bucket with a lid. For someone who wanted to dye large pieces of fabric, I saw that a 5 gallon bucket isn't really big enough. A larger deeper container would be better, as you have to swish the fabric under the water for several minutes without letting it go to the bottom of the bucket. All the pieces I am showing here were actually dyed twice. the first time some spotting occurred, or I decided to try to get a darker color. It is amazing to see the fabric come out of the bucket green and then when it hits the air, it starts to turn blue. it gets bluer and bluer. I think the color depends on several factors. the type of fabric, the time left in the vat, and the amount of dye you put in. I posted several pieces of fabric to show how they fared. The flour sack fabric dyed lighter blue and a dark blue too, so there is a factor unknown to me how this occurred. The first dress is modeled by Miss Rag doll. Her dress and bonnet were white with black designs. The black designs can still be seen under the blue.  The second dress is modeled by our headless black honey child doll, who the dress was originally made for. Poor Honey Child's head is waiting to be worked on and repainted if I can find the right paint. This dress was a super faded out flour sack fabric, and that is why I dyed it. It is very pretty now, even without any designs at all. The dark plain blue is nice to me and rich looking. I haven't had time to investigate how to get designs in the fabric that the blue doesn't cover, but I think some kind of sizing is used. I can only imagine what the old factories used to be like. All those huge dye vats, and after a week the indigo vat starts to smell, as it is organic, but I think the vat will stay alive for atleast two weeks. I let mine die, because I couldn't really find more to dye right then. Not to worry though, I have another kit. HaHa Another concern is in a dress or piece of clothes that has lots of pleats, or a very full skirt, you have to be sure to get all of the cloth soaked under the water and try to seperate the folds some, otherwise parts of the folds might not get dyed. This caused me to dye the solid blue dress twice. Drat, running out of room again. Hope this helps any one wanting to try to dye fabric.


  1. You're giving me the blues, Martha. Haha! Gorgeous, deep, beautiful blues. :~)

  2. Martha, you know I am eager to learn all I can on the subject of dying cloth. I love the colors you have gotten from the indigo. All of these pieces are just lovely. I am sure you are imagining all kinds of pretty things you can sew for your dolls. Maybe you will send me information on where to buy a kit so I might make a few messes myself! :~/ Ha!