Blue Monday :: All About Creating Indigo Cloth 2 Dye For
My Blue Monday blogs are all about my indigo dye process. I dye yardage for quilting and sewing and wearables such as socks, shawls and clothing. I’ll begin with sharing how I select fabric to dye for quilting. All of the fabric that I dye for quilting is cellulose or plant based. Natural dyes don’t work on synthetic fabrics, so no blends are selected. I read the fiber content label on the end of a fabric bolt. My quilting fabric consists of the following:
Muslin >> I prefer premium 100% unbleached cotton muslin with a tightly woven thread count. I also want fabric that has had no chemical treatments. I avoid bleached muslin because the whiting process makes the fibers weak. If I’m going to take the time and care to dye fabric, I want it to be as strong as possible. Bleached muslin is thinner, fragile and prone to tearing easily after dyeing. Dye colors come out crisper on unbleached cotton fabric. Muslin is available in different widths including 108”, which is ideal for dyeing a quilt backing.
Broadcloth >> Premium 100% cotton broadcloth is another favorite for quilting. It can be difficult to find other than Kona cotton, and is more expensive per yard than muslin. However, broadcloth takes dye beautifully.
Yardage >> Most of my yardage is in two or three yard bundles. But depending on the resist design pattern I also dye one yard and fat quarters. If I know I’ll be using strips, I break the fabric into strips before dyeing. The yardage is dependent on the resist design pattern that I use. To have variation in a quilt made from indigo dyed fabric, I create different visual patterns by manipulating the design created to resist the dye. Some resist designs take longer to create than others, such as Gullah and Shibori stitch patterns and Algonquin wrap techniques. I also create variety and contrast on indigo quilts by using fabrics colored with other natural dyes and store bought batiks.