Monday, January 20, 2020

Dressing to DIscuss Dying

I was asked to give a program on “Dyes, Types  and Uses” for an ASG  neighborhood group.  In general, I don’t mind giving a presentation about something I enjoy, though I always make sure my audience knows I am not an expert.  For my presentations I like to incorporate something in my outfit that supports or illustrates the topic.  I spotted this outfit in the Oct 2019 BurdaStyle magazine. #115.  It was the perfect outfit for the presentation.

Burda Oct 2019 115

  A colorful, easy to sew top, and  coordinating necklace. That could be used to illustrate the use of dye on different materials; fabric and wood.  

I dyed some very inexpensive wool lycra knit using Rit brand, general purpose, Aquamarine dye and the instructions for protein fibers.  I had bought this fabric specifically for experimenting with dying and fabric manipulation.  I prefer silk and wool when I do this, but these types of fabrics can be expensive.  So, when I find some light-colored wool or silk yardage sold “As Is” because of defects or dirt, I snap it up.
My wool sucked up all the dye in the solution, resulting in a deep color. There were some light streaks and dark blobs, which is not surprising when dying wool with general purpose dyes.  There are better dyes designed specifically for protein ( wool ) fibers. But they are not available in grocery, big box or hobby stores.

The Burda top is easy to sew, I serged the seams, and used a coverstitch for the hem on the sleeves and bottom edge. I tapered the sleeves to be narrower from elbow to wrist. A style preference.

Burda top 115 from Oct 2019 issue
Burda top 115  Oct 2019 issue
The necklace was made of unfinished wood circles, (Amazon) rubbed with the undiluted dye, the edges colored black using a sharpie pen.  And sprayed with a gloss finish spray.   To form the chain from the circles I cut a slit in the rings with a handsaw. The slit allows just enough flexibility to interlink the rings.  I have strands of Christmas tree “chains” made this way.  That is where the idea came from.
Dyed wooden necklace

The presentation went well, and I got a lot of questions about the necklace.

ASG Dying Presentation 
As part of the presentation I talked about using Rit Dyemore and IDye Poly to dye synthetic fiber wigs. At the end of the presentation I donned a wig I had dyed using Rit Polydye.  

My silly selfie of  me as a “blue hair”


Love the  Urban Dictionary's definition: "An old person who's white hair appears blue. Usually it is the only thing you can see over the steering wheel of the car they are driving."


  1. Lovely! I hope you will venture into the YouTube world as I'd love to watch any videos you make on this subject!!

  2. This is so interesting! I've never dyed fibres before. How do you set the dye? How is the garment laundered after dying? Aaaah, I wish I could have attended your talk. =)

    The wood necklace is to 'dye' for! Love it. =)

    1. Dye is set on wool fabrics with heat. I dyed this fabric in a simmering dye bath in a pot on the stove. I washed the fabric in the washing machine, delicate cycle with synthrapol detergent. I suspect there may be a bit of fading with future washing.

  3. I think your top turned out lovely. I keep thinking I would try dying something. My experience with dying anything was a long long time ago. I remember it being messy which has been the turn off for me. It appears that the dying process may be quite different now. Love the necklace also!

  4. Great outfit, necklace, and amazing shoes!

  5. Love the hair! I have had zero success dying anything at home. Love the top and the necklace. And your shoes!