Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sartorial Sundays

Ok, so finally you're getting this post on time, and not a few weeks late. All Sartorial Sundays are up-to-date, if you feel like reading the older posts. So, I have never really done tea dyeing. I mean, I helped my mother do some "ageing" on cotton batting years and years ago, but never on clothing. I knew that there was many ways I could mess this up, but luckily bleach could always restore my cheap skirt back to it's original downy whiteness, and I could start all over... sigh, like I'd want to do that right? The first thing I did was research! I had read Gail Carriger's blog on tea dyeing, so I had that as a starting off point. I then starting trolling the interwebs, and found this really helpful blog with all the does and don'ts nicely broken down, including reminders not to burn yourself, so yeah, I knew this was the blog for me, because obviously, if I wasn't warned, I would burn myself. Therefore, if you want the more detailed step by step, head on over to Lotus Out Loud for the full details, otherwise, you'll get just a vague step by step here, but with PICTURES!

Here is the skirt, originally and holey.

So, what I first did actually was to see if my skirt, while wet, would fit in the pot I had (yeah it did) and then I left it to soak in the bathroom sink. Look at my olde tyme sink, you can either burn or freeze your hand, no nice lukewarm water for you! Also, wet fabric takes dye better, which I remember from my days in the theatre (say it fake posh please). I had to help bulk die fabric, which had the coolness of being in a giant vat, so I felt like a witch!

Here is me waiting for my pot to slowly boil... yeah, 16 cups of water takes some time. Time I should have spent cleaning that other burner, but, whatever, I'm really lazy at heart, though you wouldn't know it.

So here are all my calculations. I gauged the skirt at about three yards of fabric, but water for four yards covered the skirt better, so that would mean... 32 tea bags! Oh my! Luckily I had this new box of 50 tea bags, black tea as recommended, and what was nice about this brand is that they don't have a string or a tag, so just throw them in the pot! Although, as some have said (Gail), what a waste of all that tea... but it actually has a longer life as part of a skirt, because usually tea just passes right through you (oh, don't look at me like that, you know it's true).

So the brave little bags did jump to steep in the giant pot of boiling water. Side note, my whole house now smells of strong bergamot tea. I think it's kind of nice, I mean, I don't like my tea strong, but the smell is nice. Other members of the household have been more vocal, I think brunt fruit loops and piss have been mentioned more than once this day...

So, as recommended, I didn't try to squeeze the bags by hand, but used a slotted spoon and a wooden spoon in tandem, and it worked quite well. Though my slotted spoon now has a brown tinge... hopefully it will all come out in the dishwasher...

So, I wrung out the skirt and shook it out, so as to get an even color, and into the vat it went! I steeped the tea a long time (about twelve minutes) because I wanted a darker color, so I was also planning on keeping the skirt in there for awhile. Perhaps if I do it again I will leave a lid on the pot so that the vocal member of my house will shut his yap. I left it in for about 90 minutes.

After pouring out the tea you can see that it's not quite as dark as you think it is, but I was forewarned, so I knew it would be lighter.

A close-up of the fabric post rinse pre-wash, because I am going to use the cold water washing machine method and maybe a few minutes in the dryer as well to be safe.

Here it is all washed and dried! It has a wonderful peachy tone that I just adore. Also, whew, it looks good with the top and my over skirt! The skirt has amazing uniformity of color, so I must have done something right! Only near the waistband is there a little splotchiness, but it's under the over skirt, and even if it was, character right? The skirt is now definitely darked than the shirt. Now that they dying is done, time to get me some yarn on!


I thought you were going to start writing in verse with that one paragraph -

So the brave little bags did jump to steep, in the roiling, boiling pot of waters deep.

Soon enough the house was filled with the scent of sweet bergamot. I thought it quite delicious; some others, perhaps not.

THAT IS AWESOME! I should so use that.

We should at least maybe turn this into some children's book. An adventure-filled tea party?

LOL! Where there is always the friend who doesn't want to be there, and it smells. All art should be done by painting WITH tea.

Now THAT is an idea. I think we must discuss with at least 75% seriousness.


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