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DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

An adventure in ice dyeing (tutorial included!)

I’d recently been obsessing over some tie dye lounge sets made by the gorgeous Jenny and Louise of Cut One Pair. All those pastels had me wanting a set of my own! Unfortunately with that little global pandemic called Covid-19 currently ravaging the world, it’s been impossible to get hold of the liquid Rit dyes that the girls used (first world problems of epic proportions 😂). These liquid dyes are premixed so there’s no faffing with mixing anything and they even work on synthetic fabrics! I can see why there’s none left!

So with that option out of the window, I went down a google rabbit hole of what else I could do! There are other tie dye kits available but none had the colour spectrum I was looking for. In the end I stumbled across ice dyeing! I found this blog and this video and I was mesmerised! The overall effect is one of a watercolour painting and it is beautiful!

The process looked simple enough to replicate and, best of all, I could use Dylon hand dye sachets. Now those I knew I could get hold of!

The concept of ice dyeing is a simple one – you just cover your clothes/ fabric in ice (or snow if you have it), sprinkle over your desired colours and watch the magic happen! The ice allows the dyes to move about through the fabric in unexpected ways.

I made myself a new hoodie and shorts set just to try this technique out! I used the Tilly and the Buttons Stella hoodie from the book Stretch. I made it in a size 8 (a couple sizes bigger than my measurements) and straightened out the side seam shaping to creates an oversized boxy/ boyfriend style hoodie. For the shorts I copied a pair of old Hollister shorts for a slim fit booty short. The fabrics I used were both from the stash – the hoodie is a thin French terry and the shorts a fleece back sweatshirting. I’ve only got a vague idea of where they’re from and absolutely no idea on the content. Just from feeling it, I’d say they both had some cotton content but probably not 100%. All this meant was that I couldn’t be sure how the dye would take as Dylon works best on natural fibres.

I chose to use a mix of 4 different colours for this project – sunflower yellow, peony pink, passion pink and fresh orange.

And this is the result!!!

Here’s the step by step of what I did!

What you need:

  • Fabric/ clothes
  • Ice
  • Powder fabric dyes like Dylon hand dye
  • A metal cooling rack
  • Bucket
Start by wetting your fabric then fold, twist or scrunch it up to fit over the cooling rack and bucket.
Cover the fabric with ice!
Sprinkle over the powder dyes where you want them. I just dotted it around randomly but you can choose to do it however you wish. Try lines of colour for an ombré effect for example!
Leave the ice to melt. Depending on hot it is, this may be quick or slow! Once melted, leave for a couple of hours to allow the dyes to fully penetrate the fabric.

Now just give it a wash! I stuck mine in the washing machine with a little detergent.

I’ve washed mine since and the colour has stayed remarkably well! I love the end result – it’s an unpredictable process but it worked better than I imagined! I definitely want to try it again. I think I’m addicted already!

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