It's no secret that I'm crazy about Fehr Trade's FREE Lacey Thong pattern, so what more appropriate project to use to perfect some dyeing techniques for lingerie delicacies?
After researching several different dye products online, I learned that JACQUARD dyes fit the bill for what I want to accomplish. Lingerie in general, and bras and panties specifically, are constructed with a myriad of different fabrics and components which run the gamut of fiber content and each individual fiber can require a different dye. Here are the 3 products I will talk about:
The little jars on top contain Acid Dye and the pouches across the bottom are i-Dye and i-Dye Poly. These two products come in dissolvable packets meant to throw in the washing matching to dye a large load but I just used tiny bits of each and the stove-top method.
Here are the fibers the different Jacquard dyes will color:
Jacquard's i-Dye: dyes natural fabrics including cotton, silk, wool, linen and rayon
Jacquard's i-Dye Poly: polyester and nylon
Jacquard's Acid Dye: dyes protein fibers including wool, cashmere, alpaca, feathers, silk and some nylons. It also dyes the white rings and slip rings used in bramaking. Don't be afraid of the acid, it is simply vinegar.
I did all of my dyeing prior to constructing the panties. On this project, this is what I started with, color-wise:
The lace and fold-over elastic on all of them was white. I dyed this first in Acid Dye to use for my color match for the fabric:
The panty fabric for the violet and teal were poly/cotton blends but neither color was the exact match I wanted. The violet fabric was too blue and the teal fabric was too turquoise. Since the content on both fabrics was mostly cotton I used Acid Dye on them and I liked the results.
The panty fabric for the Aztec gold was white cotton knit from a 6-pack of men's Hanes t-shirts. Soft and lightweight and perfect for this project. I used Acid Dye on it, as well.
Here are the final dyed pieces ready for the cutting table:
All of these dyes are made to be used with hot water, either in your washer for a large item or on the stovetop for smaller pieces. The Acid Dye and i-Dye require that fixatives be used along with them. Acid Dye uses vinegar and i-Dye uses non-iodized salt.
Here are the basic tools you'll need for stovetop dyeing:
A large stainless steel pot. (No aluminum...it affects the dye) I had an old pot with a steamer insert that worked great and made rinsing and washing out much easier.
Utensils such as tongs and a spoon or spatula to stir with.
An old cup or jar.
An old towel you don't mind staining, used for blotting after the rinse.
Vinegar, used to intensify and set Acid Dye.
Salt, used to intensify and set i-Dye.
Dedicate any tools you use for dyeing strictly for that use, don't use anything you plan to cook with in the future.
I also found this tiny little spoon to be invaluable for adding the dye powder. A little bit of dye goes a long way:
I wasn't able to take any pictures of the actual stovetop process since it was time sensitive and I was dealing with a pot of boiling dye but I can report that it is actually a simple process. My results were excellent!
Prior to starting this whole process I mixed up a pot of Acid Dye and added snippets of all kinds of laces, fabric and elastics to see what all it worked on. It was fascinating to see which fibers grabbed the dye and which didn't:
While I was at it I threw in the first bra I made thinking that it might come out with over-all coverage of some sort. NOT! It didn't budge the satin bow at the center bridge, the cups of polyester Tricot or one of the elastics on the straps:
I will even this up using i-Dye Poly at some point.
I plan to do a lot more dyeing and can't wait to do some bra and panty sets. I drool over the kits on Merckwaerdigh's Etsy site and now I can make my own!
Bottom line...don't be afraid of dyeing!