Hi guys! I’m still here! Ha! I’ve slowly been learning that I am no longer capable of doing ALL THE THINGS! I can do some of the things. Sometimes. And, honestly, sometimes not (lots of the time not, even!). But I’m still (slowly) making and as long I’m making, I suspect I’ll have a desire to share my makes, so I’ll keep coming back to this space!
Anyway, I’m very excited to share the most recent thing to run through my sewing machine:
An ice dyed lounge set!
Sometime this last winter I saw this amazing ice dyed set made by Kelli over at True Bias. I loved it and wanted to make one for myself. I’ve had a bit of experience tie dyeing and tub dyeing, so why not add ice dyeing to the mix? Luckily for me Kelli also includes a tutorial for how to ice dye in that post. I had pretty much all the dye stuff, I just needed some fabric and to decide what patterns to use.
I actually found a Simplicity pattern (of a loungewear set) that I wanted to use but my local Joann didn’t have it in stock so in the end I just decided to use patterns I already have and have sewn. So for the top I used my tried and true Union St. tee pattern that I’ve probably sewn (or hacked) at least 10 times by now. And for the bottoms I used Simplicity 9337, which you may recall I posted about earlier this year.
For my fabric, I kept in mind that I needed something mostly natural. I wasn’t sure I was going to find something I liked that didn’t have synthetic material in it (considering I needed something with stretch and I wanted something lightweight) but I ended up finding a white 100% cotton jersey at Hobby Lobby. The fabric is not great quality by any means (it’s not terrible; it’s just not great, if you know what I mean) but it was only $6 a yard and as I needed 3 yards, this price was a lot easier to swallow than the $21/yard I had been suspecting I’d end up having to spend. I also thought I’d end up having to buy online so I was glad to find something in town and for cheap! I took my fabric home and washed it up so it was ready to dye!
I also bought a couple of little kid shirts from Hobby Lobby so that my girls could dye something and so that I could kind of test the process out before doing my fabric. Their shirts didn’t turn out super great; I used way too much dye so the shirts were very saturated in color (like so much so that the blue we used on their shirts just turned out black. Oops!). We did this during winter so we actually used snow for their shirts which was a fun variation. And the girls had fun! We wore masks and for many of the steps they were just watching since I didn’t want them handling the dye or soda ash but it was a fun little project and it was good to do a tester run before moving on to my fabric.
How we set the ice dye up was that I got one of our large totes and inside the tote I placed an old metal 9×13 pan. On top of that I put a cooling rack and then on top of that I put my fabric then the ice then the dye. The plastic tote was easy to rinse out and clean but the metal pan and cooling rack became a bit rusty and no matter how much I cleaned them, they still had dye seeping out of cracks so definitely don’t use your nice kitchen equipment! You can find these things at the dollar store or at a thrift store and then keep them on hand for projects like this. (Do as I say, not as I do. I used my nice cooling rack and had to go buy a new one since the first one was ruined after this project).
You can see in the picture above that I was very generous in sprinkling on my powdered dye. When I looked back through Kelli’s post I realized that she has a much lighter hand in dusting her ice with dye. And you can see the result in our fabrics. Hers mostly stayed natural with a few striations of dye. Mine is mostly dye (I’m sure our fabric choices also impacted this; she used a french terry where my cotton jersey was thin and probably didn’t take much effort for the dye to seep through). Anyway, I did want mine to be more heavily colored and I’m happy with how little white I had on my fabric in the end.
A word on the dye: I got my dye and supplies from Dharma Trading Co. My mom discovered these guys over a decade ago and we’ve done a TON of tie dyeing using their products and they are AWESOME. The colors turn out very vibrant and if you prep your fabric (or shirts or whatever) correctly, you won’t have any fading or bleeding. They have tons of colors to choose from and (in my opinion) they’re pretty inexpensive. Plus a little goes a long way. But, like I said, you do have to use the right products and follow instructions. Kelli lists everything you need on her blog post about ice dyeing and Dharma also has instructions for various dyeing methods and all the products you’ll need to use (for the record, I’ve never used their recommended detergent. I pre-washed my fabric for this project using my regular laundry detergent but we’ve done many tie-dye projects where we pull t-shirts right from their packages and start the process without washing). Anyway, Dharma Trading is great.
For this project I used the colors Better Blue Green and Better Black (not all their colors are named “Better”…just the ones I used haha).
I loved how my fabric turned out! I also loved how many colors came through just using those two dyes: blue, green, gray, purple, pink. So cool. The dyed fabric gave me some serious aurora borealis vibes. So beautiful.
Next came cutting the fabric out and this part really had me cursing that I’d bought a lower-quality fabric. The grain was next to impossible to find! I’ve never learned about blocking fabric but I imagine this skill would have served me well here! As it was, I fiddled and inched the fabric as best I could but I’m sure that certain pattern pieces were cut off grain. Time will tell! The 3 yards of fabric was enough though! I was a little worried I’d run short but I had enough and even had a few larger scraps to spare.
My pockets ended up being a little bit wonky but I made up for it when sewing the V in my v-neck. Check it out! Ah, beautiful! There may be many mistakes through this set, but at least the v-neck is something to be proud of! Since I’ve sewn these patterns before, there wasn’t anything I found particularly tricky and for the most part, I didn’t even have to look at pattern instructions. See? I’m learning (although I suppose I should admit that I had sewn the v-neck version of the Union St. Tee just a couple weeks previously so it was fresh on my mind).
And here’s a peek at the innards and the tags I used.
Here’s the other Union St. Tee I made recently. The fabric is from Blackbird Fabrics. It’s a bamboo jersey knit I got on sale for $10 USD. It’s lightweight, fluid and lovely. Would definitely buy again (although it’s currently out of stock). I didn’t evenly distribute the neckband in this shirt and I thought I could fudge it with an iron and top stitching but it pulls terribly so I’ll be unpicking it and resewing. Otherwise it’s another win in my world of Union St. Tees (spoiler: they’ve all been wins).
Anyway, that’s that! A totally one of a kind tie dye lounge set. And I absolutely love it! I doubt I’ll wear them out and about in set form but you can bet I’ll wear them as separates outside of the house and together for any and all activities inside the house! It was fun to do something a little different! Sometimes sewing can feel a bit tedious and it’s projects like these that re-instill joy into the craft.
Pattern: Top-Union St. Tee from Hey June Handmade; Bottoms-Simplicity 9337
Size: Top-Medium; Bottoms-Small
Alterations: Top-None; Bottoms-shorten length by 3 inches
Fabric: 100% cotton jersey from Hobby Lobby
Cost: Fabric-$18 total for 3 yards; everything else from stash
Would I make this again?: Yes!
I had all my dye stuff on hand, but just for anyone who’s interested, here’s a cost break down of the dye supplies I used for ice dyeing (Note that I probably used about half of each container of dye I used):
2 oz. Better Black Fiber Reactive Procion Dye $3.85
2 oz. Better Blue Green Fiber Reactive Procion Dye $4.15
1 lb. Soda Ash Fixer $1.69
Heavy duty gloves $2.15