Dye: Using fabric dyes, this age-old
technique isn't just for the 60s anymore.
Using fabric dye and rubber bands will
create distinctive designs. Fold or twist
various areas of fabric, then rubber band it
tightly. Prepare dye according to package
directions. Be sure to wear rubber gloves to
protect your hands!
Dye can be
just as damaging as bleach to your
unprotected skin. Please take the proper
safety precautions recommended.
Once your garment is ready, place in the dye
for at least 15-20 minutes. The longer the
garment remains in the dye, the darker and
deeper the color will become. Remove from
the dye and rinse according to package
directions, usually in cold running water.
Ring out garment until water runs clear.
Carefully remove bands and dry.
Couching: Add texture to plain fabrics
by sewing down cording, braids, or twists.
Trace the edges of a brocade design with
Printing: Apply a variety of designs to
liven up fabric. Practice makes perfect with
this technique. Ink is forced through a fine
screen that has a vinyl stencil affixed,
using water-based textile inks.
blocks: Create personalized designs by
piecing coordinating or contrasting colors
together in many different shapes.
Applique: Using a satin stitch, by
hand or machine, sew around the edges of cut
out shapes. Stabilize the back of your
design with interfacing.
Weaving: The oldest technique for making
fabric. If you have access to a loom, you
can weave special designs and textures out
of simple yarns. You may be limited by the
loom's width, but color combinations and
textures are unlimited.
knitting: By crocheting or knitting your
fabrics, you are making a wearable garment
from 1 long string. Texture can be added by
using simple stitches. You can also
introduce multiple colors into a design, as
well as embellish your finished work with
cross stitch, embroidery, or ribbonwork.
painting: Using textile paints and inks
allows for maximum creativity. Remove any
sizing or special treatments before
beginning. Use brushes, old kitchen
utensils, or objects such as spools to
plastic under your work to prevent bleed
through. Heat set according to the paint or
Washing 100% wool results in a thick, soft
fabric. Washing wool changes its
characteristics (as would washing any
dry-clean-only fabric). Be prepared for up
to 50% shrinkage, and make sure to finish
the raw edges of the fabric before washing.
Some wool blends will not felt and will
pucker. Experiment with swatches to see what
the fabric will do when washed.
Beadwork, sequins, embroidery, ribbonwork:
By adding these fine touches to your fabric,
you can improve the overall design. Just
about any fabric can be embellished.
washing: 100% silk can be turned into a
matte-finish suede-like fabric just by
washing in a simple acidic solution. Finish
the raw edges of the fabric and soak in warm
water. Squeeze out the excess. Fill the
washing machine to a low level and add 2
cups of white vinegar. Agitate to mix. Add
the silk and agitate for 12 minutes, the
full rinse and spin cycle. Dry fabric on a
delicate cycle. Repeat until the desired
hand is achieved. Press with a pressing
Discharge dying: This is the process of
removing dye from fabrics with bleach. This
works well on rayon, cotton or linen. Don't
try this on wool or silk as they will
degrade. Fabric blends usually won't
cooperate either. Use caution when working
with chlorine bleach; wear gloves and in a
up (similar to tie dye) with rubber bands or
dental floss. Experiment with different
twists and folds. You can also use dental
floss to stitch in a design. Pre-wash bundle
and leave damp, but squeeze out excess.
Submerge bundle in 1 part bleach solution to
5 parts water. Agitate and leave in for
about 30 minutes. Time will vary depending
on how much dye you want to remove. Rinse
with cold water, handling gently. Squeeze
out excess and remove bands or stitches. Put
fabric in neutralizing solution of 1 part
white vinegar to 2 parts water. Then wash
with detergent (without bleach) and dry.
twisting: Works best with light weight
silk. Fabric will keep its shape if stored
in a twisted ball. Soak silk in warm water,
squeeze out excess. Fold lengthwise in half,
then again in half. You'll need 2 people for
gather an end and twist in opposite
directions. Squeeze out any bubbles that
form. Twist as tightly as possible, until it
starts to curl. Then fold in half and repeat
the twisting until you form a ball. Secure
the ball with white cotton thread, then
place in the tow of a stocking and tie off.
Dry in your dryer with towels (to keep the
noise down and absorb moisture). 2-3 yards
will take about 3 hours to dry depending on
your dryer. Test the center of the ball with
your finger for dampness. When it's
thoroughly dry, untwist. If it's still damp,
the fabric won't hold its crinkly shape.