patterns to dye for

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our new limited edition collection showcases the painterly patterns of Brooklyn-based designer Rebecca Atwood. it inspired us to try our hand at shibori, a traditional Japanese dyeing technique featured on our sea spray hand wash. not only was it fun, but we ended up with some fabulous, fashionable fabric. here’s our step-by-step so you can try it at home.

 

what you’ll need:

  • jacquard mini indigo dye kit (includes indigo dye and a reducing agent, rubber gloves, assorted rubber bands + two wood sticks)
  • string, wood blocks + clothespins
  • one 5 gallon bucket with a lid (this may get dyed)
  • a long wooden stick for stirring
  • white, 100% natural fabric items (we used t-shirts, dish towels, baby onesies, bandanas + even a lab coat)
  • method 4X laundry detergent

 

what to do:

1. prep your vat

  • fill the 5 gallon bucket with 4 gallons of warm water
  • empty the indigo dye and the reducing agent into the bucket and stir clockwise to mix. then stir counter-clockwise to pull the bubble “flower” into middle of the bucket
  • let sit for 45 minutes to 1 hour. the liquid should be yellowish-green
  • before dying the fabric, skim the “flower” off the surface of the water and set aside to save (add this back to the vat after dying is complete)

 

2. prep your fabric

  • fold, twist and bind your fabric however you want. use the rubber bands, string, wood blocks, sticks or clothespins to experiment with patterns

 

3. dye your fabric

  • wet your folded fabric with water, and squeeze out excess
  • dip your fabric in the bucket of dye for 3-5 minutes, then remove (it should be yellowish-green in color)
  • allow the fabric to oxidize for 15-20 minutes (the color will turn indigo as the fabric oxidizes)
  • repeat both the dip (3-5 minutes) and oxidization (15-20 minutes) as often as you want to get darker shades of indigo

4. rinse your fabric

  • keep the dipped fabric bound and rinse in the sink to remove excess dye
  • remove your binding (cut with scissors to remove rubber bands and string) save wood blocks, sticks and clothespins for reuse
  • bag for final wash

5. wash your fabric

  • rinse the fabric by hand with detergent to remove excess dye
  • hang to dry, or proceed to wash in the washing machine
  • the first time you launder the fabric it should be washed separately in cool water without detergent (after the first wash the dye should be set and you can wash with other dark items)
  • hang to dry, or tumble dry on cool
  • iron, and admire your beautiful pattern

tip: this is a great way to refresh old T-shirts, dish towels and pillowcases. don’t forget to share what you made on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and tag #methodlovesRA.

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