For the second year in a row, Gabriela of Chalk and Notch and I decided to collaborate and create the perfect sweatsuit using her Page Hoodie pattern and my Hudson pant pattern.
This year I wanted to try another dying project and decided to try out ice dying since I have seen it popping up a lot in the DIY world. Luckily I wasn't the first to give it a go, so I was able to rely on others posts to walk me thru it. I will be sharing my step-by-step process, but if you want to try this out yourself, I highly recommend checking out Heather of Closet Core's post on it as I found it really helpful.
The first thing you are going to want to do is gather supplies.
Fabric - I used a cotton / spandex blend french terry and ribbing and they worked great. I think you will want a mostly natural fabric to take the dye, so think cotton, linen, rayon etc...
Dye - You want a Procion Dye (I got mine from Dharma Trading) which is highly concentrated (I used about 2oz for my project). Remember that the dye splits when the ice melts so one color will end up being 4 or 5 colors all watercolored together. I used the color mist gray and as you can see it produced purple, yellow, blue, green and gray.
Here is a photo of some of the dyes I tried on scraps of fabric. All of these were single color dyes:
Colors from left to right, top to bottom - Terracotta, Khaki, Golden Brown, Mist Gray, Wisteria, Ice Blue, Nightshade, & Timber Wolf.
Soda Ash Fixer - You need to presoak your fabric in soda ash to get the colors to stay vibrant. You use about a cup per gallon. I got mine at Dharma Trading as well.
Mask - Make sure you protect yourself by wearing a mask during the process. The dyes can be really harmful if you are breathing them in.
Ice - I think just about any ice will do. I used ice straight out of my freezer, but you could get it from the gas station or even use snow. I'm guessing that the size of the ice will slightly alter the affect which could be cool to play around with.
Kitchen / Mixing Tools - You do not want to mix your eating and dying utensils / bowls etc... for health reasons. So I bought all of the following items at the dollar store and will reuse them for dying projects only.
Tin Serving Tray
Tongs or Large Mixing Spoons
Once you have all of your supplies you can get to work. Begin by mixing your Soda Ash into warm water in a large tub or bucket. Mix to dissolve and let your fabric soak in it for about 15 min.
While your fabric is soaking, prepare dying work space. Put down a trash bag and then a large tray with a drying rack on top. Make sure you also have your gloves and mask on and get your dye and tongs or mixing spoon handy.
Once your fabric is done soaking, ring it out so its damp, but not dripping and place it on the drying rack. You can twist it, scrunch it, or whatever you like. I used two trays since I had lots of thick fabric. Make sure the fabric is all centered over the tray so it stays as clean as possible once the ice starts melting.
Cover the fabric with ice. This is honestly the most frustrating part of the process for me. The ice wants to slip all over so you almost need to hand place most of them. I found myself tucking ice into little fabric pockets to get it to stay around the corners.
Once the ice is on, immediately sprinkle your dye on top of the ice using a plastic spoon. I used my entire 2oz dye but my fabric was thick and there were about 3 yds. You might not need nearly that much. It's going to sit like this overnight to allow the ice to completely melt into the fabric and then the tray and allow the dye to make it's way into the fabric fibers.
It's going to look really dark and scary in the morning when you come back to it. Don't worry. It will lighten a lot once its rinsed and washed.
Rinse out until the water runs clear and then wash and dry in your washing machine.
In the end it will end up something like this. Pretty right?
Now for the fun part - sew it up into something fun like this Page Hoodie and Hudson pant.
For the Hudsons, I used my high rise hack tutorial which you can find here. It's a really easy change and gives that more modern fit that I really love right now. The drawstring is a gray cotton cord that I bought from Fabric Fairy. It's great cording and currently my favorite source for it.
For the Page Hoodie, I sewed up the cropped version and used Gabriela's crew neck hack. I love how simple this pattern is to sew up without the hood. I wear my Pages all of the time with my Hudsons or with leggings in the winter. Definitely a staple in my handmade wardrobe.
And that is it! So far I have only tried ice dying with french terry and ribbing, but I have a lot of dye in other colors so I think I will try some rayon next. I think it would be so pretty for a robe or swimsuit coverup. I also want to try it over colored fabric.
Also, don't forget to hop on over the Gabriela's post to see her super comfy neutral Page x Hudson loungewear set.