I recently spent the afternoon at my pal Louisa’s house, to have a crack at a little bit of tie dyeing.
Equipped with a number of large pieces of unbleached cotton, we were ready to go. Louisa had done lots of prep before and had worked out how to fold the fabric in order to get a chevron effect from the dye. This involved folding the fabric into a concertina pattern and then rolling the folded strip of material neatly, making a half twist at regular intervals and binding tightly together. This took quite a bit of time, and many pins were involved, but was worth the effort!
I tried the same technique on one piece of fabric, but bound it with string in a cross formation, rather than around the circumference. As you can see from the picture, mine wasn’t especially neat – I was having a bit of a haphazard day and my concentration kept wandering off! I also decided to have a bit of an experiment with a second piece – I folded it alternately horizontally and vertically at random intervals, from either end of the fabric, and then rolled the material into a cigar shape before binding.
Then we got round to the fun bit – mixing dyes up, hurray!! Firstly, we had to dampen the fabrics so that they were better prepared to hold the dye. Louisa had picked up a few lovely colours of Dylon dye, so we began with a green batch. Louisa had done some dyeing the day before, so experimented with dip-dyeing some of her dyed fabrics.
With the pieces of material she had prepared, Louisa was able to dip one side of the roll into pink dye, and the other side into green dye. The effect was fantastic – each of the chevrons came out slightly differently, with the pink accenting the green.
My attempts were not quite so technically advanced, as I am a complete novice at this! For the piece which I randomly folded, I dip dyed it in green, leaving half of the material in the dye for 5 minutes, before removing it and leaving it upside down for the ink to seep through to the other half.
The roll I had made gave an interesting effect. I realised that the material I had been using had not been pure cotton, as the colour did not hold as well as it did on the other materials. This gave a wonderfully pastel result. The direction that the string had been bound around the roll gave the effect of spiky edges on each of the chevrons, which I’m quite happy with!