Notes on tea dyeing.

Notes on tea dyeing.

Virgin pink/ tea dyed/ undyed and washed a few times

During my 4 year stint in Wisconsin, there were quite a few online fabric purchases, often yielding some surprising results, like this extra pink sweatshirt fleece. I love the random spattering of flowers, but I am not in love with the pinkness of it. Adeline on the other hand, loves it, and just today asked for a pair of pink flowered shorts.

I’ve had the plan to dye this in tea for a while; there was a sample swatch running through my laundry for months. I’m pleased with the results, although looking at Adeline’s tunic (on the far right) the colour would have been fine after a few washes. Too bad after several washes, the fabric is so pilly.

Instructions for tea dying:

  1. Pre wash and tumble-dry fabric.
  2. Make a huge pot of tea. I used around 25 Tetley Orange Pekoe tea bags.
  3. Remove tea bags and let cool. I didn’t want the pieces to shrink since I had already cut them out. The water was just cool enough to put my hand in.
  4. Soak fabric for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. And most importantly, dye extra fabric. I chose to make the cuffs from a different fabric; I wish I had kept my options open. I didn’t even have a piece to take to the fabric store for zipper matching.

The difference is subtle, but I’m sure I  will use it again to salvage online purchases that aren’t quite the colour I expect. Anybody else have tricks for dealing with undesirable fabrics?


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