Fabric to Dye For
have always loved unusual, one-of-a-kind fabrics. If it's hand-dyed,
hand-printed, embellished, or has a unique construction, I pretty much
have to have it. If it's from a faraway exotic place, well that's even
better. I'm intrigued by how these stunning fabrics are made and
increasingly want to try these techniques at home to make my own unique
cloth. Dyeing, fabric painting, printmaking, beading, and embroidery can
turn the most humble cloth into something extraordinary. While I am
very comfortable with hand-embellishment techniques, I am just starting
to experiment with fabric paints and dyes.
Students at the Hèrè jè Center in Mali create colorful fabrics dyed using wax-resist techniques.
Fabrics dyed with kakishibu.
In our new eMag, Colorways: Artisan Hues in Fiber and Fabric, I learned about dyeing techniques plus a whole lot more. From a trip to Mexico to explore natural dyeing traditions to
visiting a craft cooperative in Mali, West Africa, that helps women
support themselves by creating beautiful hand-dyed cotton, you will
travel the world as you flip through the digital pages. The interactive
elements of the eMag bring people and places to life with video
interviews, slide shows, project downloads, and more.
For example, the eMag introduced me to a really interesting Japanese dyeing technique called kakishibu.
Made from the juice of unripe persimmons, it is applied to fabric by
dipping or brushing and is especially ideal for dyeing silk. The cool
thing about it is that it reacts to sunlight, so you can create
interesting sun patterns on the fabric. You'll get all the information
you need to get started with this simple technique that creates fabric
with warm brown tones, from pinkish tan to chestnut brown. It's a great
technique for dyeing newbies like me because it's so easy to do. You
don't need heat or special dyeing equipment-just cloth, juice, and sun.
The resulting fabric can turn into a fabulous sewing project.
can't wait to try out some of the techniques at home. And if you are a
general "fiberholic," then you will find lots more information on dyeing
yarn and fibers for knitting, crochet, and weaving in addition to
cloth. For more dyeing techniques, history, and information, check out Colorways or learn something new in one of our other exciting eMags and take your projects to new artistic heights.