Monday, July 18, 2005

About that tie dye thing.....

Several of you asked about my tie dye t shirt orders and whether or not I'm in business. The answer is yes, I try to make a little $ doing what I love and t-shirts are part of that. My business is called 'Harmony Fibers' and has been a base for everything from alterations to vending at quiltshows to producing commissioned art quilts. I don't have a website yet, but am headed in that direction.

So, here's a few pics from a recent dye session. This is a small order--16 shirts for a family vacation. I use 100% cotton t shirts and mx dyes. The customer wanted a basic spiral variation that I love to do (though haven't quite perfected).

Here, the shirts are prepped, tied and have their first layer of dye.


The rainbow of colors are squirted into the wedges made by the rubberbands. Blue is eliminated because I will use it in the next step.

Then, the shirts are flipped:

Now, for a typical spiral shirt, the same pattern of colors would be repeated on this side. Instead, I'm going to soak this side with solid blue.


The shirts are allowed to batch anywhere from 4 hours to 24 hours, depending on how tightly I've pushed the deadline. These shirts got a generous 24 hour batch. My tables are covered with plastic, then a layer of newspaper. The plastic protects the tables, and the newspaper absorbs excess dye.

To finish, I fill the washer with cold water and a bit of Synthropol (a detergent designed to soap out mx dyes). I take the rubberbands off each shirt just before it's added to the agitating water. The shirts are allowed to agitate for 15 minutes, then spin out. The cold rinse removes soda ash from the shirts and stops the dye's chemical reaction. I choose cold water because I believe it keeps dyes from migrating to where they shouldn't be.

This step is followed by a long soak in hot (140 degrees or hotter) water--at least an hour, preferably longer. The hot soak allows any unused dye molecules to hydrolize, or react with water. The shirts are then put through a full wash cycle with hot water and warm rinse. If the rinse water is tinged with color, I repeat this step, though rarely do I have to.

And that's it.

You can see the spiral of color behind the blue. Groovy! Here's another version I made last summer. The model is *moi*, of course, striking a pose at the end of last week's beach camping extravaganza.


Peace Out.

8 comments:

Elle said...

Thanks for sharing! I've been really fascinated by dyeing lately. Soon I'll try it myself.

Emily said...

I am totally mesmerized! I don't know if it's the excitement of seeing the process or that groovy spiral at the end. Must.....do.....tie dye.......

Charleen said...

I love the solid blue with the peek-a-boo spirals. I would have thought the ink from the newspapers could come off on the shirts.

Melissa said...

you ARE a groovy chick! I like those shirts...

Gerrie said...

Thanks for posting these great photos. I would love to do this for my vacation with my family next month. Wow!!

Dorothee said...

Slurp!!! That shirt looks fab!

Diane said...

Wow! Thanks for posting the in-progress shots, and the link to how to fold the fabric. What great spirals! I wanna try it!

Jo Griffith said...

Wow....Your shirts rock! Ever thought about following what is left of the Grateful Dead in a VW van?

Jo