Another Merckwaerdigh kit creation:
I underlined most of the bra in the by-the-bolt stretch mesh from Fashion Fabrics Club. The mesh was dyed on the stove using Jacquard acid dye in Ecru. The result is deeper than ivory but lighter than most light-colored nudes. I have sometimes seen this color referred to as “natural.” It is a good neutral for the ivory and peachy pink in this lace.
Here’s the white vs dyed ecru mesh:
For the sake of comparison here’s nude, white, and the ecru mesh:
When I posted my last BHS10, View D bra on Pattern Review someone wrote a rather lengthy comment about how I basically destroyed my mesh by dyeing it on the stove. They must have thought I was boiling it in a cauldron or something! In actuality I carefully monitored the water, keeping it at or just below 120ºF to the best of my ability. (I would switch my 5-gallon stainless steel pot to a cool burner if it started getting above 125ºF.) I generally set the burner to medium-high and then lower it as time goes on. I stirred constantly, leaving the fabric in the water for about 10 minutes. Halfway through the process I dissolved a teaspoon of citric acid into the water and continued stirring and stirring. After the 10 minutes were up I took the fabric out of the water and washed it in a five gallon bucket using Dharma Trading Textile Detergent. The water was probably around 100ºF. After I finished washing it I put it in my spin dryer for a minute, then draped it over a laundry rack near the wood stove so it could completely finish drying. I was very conscious to not stretch or otherwise stress the fabric until it was completely dry and cool. I know lycra doesn’t like heat but it turned out fine, especially since I’m using it as a reinforcement for my lace rather than firm standalone support. I don’t consider bras forever items anyway due to the regular exposure to sweat and body oils while being stretched around the body, not to mention the damage laundry detergents and the washing process do over time.
If you’ve never worked with acid dyes – or any other dyes – before, here’s what you should keep in mind:
- I highly recommend using the Dharma Trading dyes over the grocery store RIT. You need far less of it, plus you can get dyes that are actually made for the fabric you’re working with. The colorfastness is much better. RIT is more of an all-purpose dye. It is meant to dye plant-based fibers, protein-based fibers, AND nylon. However that means that it dyes nothing particular well. When I would use RIT and did the post-dye wash I would get some very colorful water. The Dharma dyes seem like they “bond” to the garment better and I don’t have crazy amounts of dye discharging in that post-dye bath wash.
- The Dharma Trading website has excellent, in-depth tutorials. Print them off and read them in their entirety before starting.
- Keep a timer handy. Partially through the dye bath you’ll need to add vinegar or citric acid (acid dyes) or soda ash (fiber reactive dyes).
- Always prewash the fabric using Synthrapol or the Dharma Trading Textile Detergent. This will remove any dirt/grease/oils that may be lurking on your fabric and help prevent splotches. Keep the fabric wet until you can put it in the dye bath.
- Make sure the materials you use – the bucket/pot, measuring spoons and cups, thermometer, and stirring utensils – are reserved for dye use only. Dharma Trading doesn’t sell the toxic stuff, but you still don’t want to cook your food in the same pots you’ve been using to dye fabric.
- Wear a mask and gloves. You don’t want to accidentally inhale dye powder and the gloves will keep your hands dye-free as well as protect them from the chemicals. I also wear a big plastic apron to protect my clothing.
- If you dye on the stove, stick to stainless steel or enamel pots. Sometimes the dyes react oddly to aluminum.
- If you are dyeing nylon-coated rings and sliders place them in a stainless steel tea ball so you don’t have to try to pick them out of the water. (Sidenote: I usually have to leave the rings and sliders in the dye bath for a longer time than the fabric in order to get a similar level of saturation.)
- Make sure you match your dye to your fabric. The fiber reactive dyes will not dye nylon or other synthetics, and the acid dyes will not work very well for cotton.
- In general nylon dyes very well, and polyester poorly (if at all). It depends on the fabric.
- Dyeing fabric is more of an art than a science. You have to use your judgement and be comfortable experimenting.