Violets are blue
No coloured elastics?
Here's what you do!
Yes, you can create custom colours to match your fabrics so your elastics, findings and hardware will all be colour co-ordinated. Here's a bra that started out as white fabric, white elastics and white lace.
First let's talk about the fabrics and findings that will dye well. Generally speaking, fabrics and elastics made of nylon or nylon/spandex blend will dye well with acid dyes (the kind I use). In another post I will list the things we carry that will dye successfully.
About the dye powder itself. I use acid dyes to dye nylon, spandex but it can also be used for cotton too. When I say acid dyes, don’t worry – it’s only a mild acid, like vinegar, specifically for nylon and nylon/spandex fabrics. We use Acid dye from G & S Dyes in
Assemble the equipment you need
- a stainless steel or enamel pot (not one that will be used for cooking)
- wooden, bamboo or stainless tongs to lift things out of the dye bath
- an old tea ball for the small findings (not your regular tea ball!)
- an old ceramic mug or cup to develop the dye colour
- a set of measuring spoons (again, not one you will use for cooking)
Do not use aluminum anything for any dyeing project. The dye reacts with the aluminum and will cause grey streaks or weird colours to appear on your materials (ask me how I know that!)
In an old mug or cup, put 1/2 tsp of dye powder and add a bit of boiling water to it. Stir and if you feel any crystals of colour, crush them with an old spoon. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes. This will develop the dye. This is very concentrated dye and we used 1/2 tsp to dye all of the stuff for one bra. We actually could have used a little LESS dye powder.
In the meantime, get a large ceramic, glass or stainless steel pot (NOT one from the kitchen but one you use only for dyeing) and put just enough water in the pot to cover the articles. You can add more later if needed.
Add the dye to the water in the pot and stir well. Bring the dye almost to a boil. You don't need to boil the water for nylon...that's why we used the boiling water from the kettle to develop the dye. But the water needs to be hot. I actually have this pot on a portable element to keep the water hot.
Test the colour on a piece of strap tape or strap elastic. Wet the sample before inserting it in the dye bath. If it takes the dye immediately, you know it's a good candidate for dyeing. Nylon will take the dye immediately, so it does not have to be in the dye pot very long. Add more water if you want a lighter colour.
Add the sliders and rings to the dye bath first. They take the longest to dye (sometimes 15-30 minutes). I have an old tea ball that I put all the pieces of hardware in so they won’t go down the drain when I empty the water.
In the meantime, wet all the articles to be dyed in hot water. When the sliders and rings are the colour you want, take them out. It is time to add the other WET items. The 3 most important things to do while immersing items in a dye bath - stir, stir, stir! Nylon takes the colour right away, so if you don’t stir, you will end up with blotchy, streaky or unevenly dyed fabric. Take things out as soon as they are the right colour or slightly lighter.
Rinse under tap water, and check the colour. If it is too light, put it back in the dye pot. Not all fabrics and elastics will dye exactly the same colour, but you should be able to get all your findings to be in the same colour family. It takes a bit of experience to get everything the right colour.
Some people use a bit of vinegar in the water to help set the colour, but I have not found that necessary with the things I have dyed. However, you can certainly use 1/4 cup of vinegar in a pot of this size, if you feel it is necessary.
Rinse everything in water until it is clear, pat dry on paper towels (there should be no colour on the paper towels) then hang to dry.
You can actually see that part of the lace is starting to dry (the lighter parts) while the end (the darker part) is still a bit damp. Once it is dry, you can start to sew!