I come from a long line of sign writers and am happiest with a brush and some paint! Add
paint to fabric and I get really excited!!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Snowing shirts

I have been a sewer of clothing for many years and one of my biggest beefs over time has been how poorly made some clothing lines are. If I buy an item of clothing, I expect strong seams with a sensible seam allowance, buttonholes that do not unravel, top stitching that lasts, and buttons that stay on. I think some of my expectations rubbed off on my son.....I just finished altering 7 dress shirts for him and 4 more that were his for his Dad. The boy choses clothes well and I can’t say I am sorry to be done. I gotta say, Calvin Klein knows how to construct a shirt!

To give myself a bit of play time while doing that, and since we have had some substantial snow falls here, I tried some snow dyeing. I used the instructions for Procion MX dyes from Pro Chem. I have been dyeing fabric for years and I aim for strong, bright colors. I have to admit, I am not completely satisfied with the results of my efforts with this method. I did get some great, crystal effects and some interesting lines where I folded and pleated. But, my pieces are too pastel for me.

Various stages of process

Fabric manipulation, dye solution and dye powders

I did figure out a couple of things I could change to get the results I prefer: I will use a thicker layer of snow although I used more than the recommended; I will pour the blue dye first as I was hoping for more blue and green than yellow; I will use less water than they recommended for my dye mix; and I will try mixing the dye directly with the snow rather than making a dye solution. The one thing I did do was toss in a piece of fabric soaked in soda ash in the bottom of each dishpan to catch all that draining dye solution and those pieces gave me the intensity of color I was looking for.

A variety of the results

So, I am currently trying layering some Setacolor paints after completing some fabric manipulation. We will see how that goes.


  1. I have never heard of dyeing fabric using snow before. You are always up to the most interesting projects! Good luck with your findings and hope you are happy with the next batch. Happy New Year.

  2. I dyed fabric last year using this method and I sprinkled on the dye powder straight from the jar. You will get very intense colors if you try that. I must get out my container and try some.