Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tie-Dying: the making of an island baby

Not surprisingly the Year of Weddings - the year my husband I attended 10 weddings - was quickly followed by the Year of Babies. Something like a million babies were born to our friends from about April to December that year.

Overwhelmed with the prospect of buying baby presents for that many babies, I decided to give everybody the same baby present. And being a crafter with masochistic tendencies, I decided to make everybody the same baby present. Thank god for the art of tie-dying.

Here's the only tie-dye onesie I kept for myself. You can see I was experimenting with tying techniques...

Here's my island baby wearing the onesie in the arms of her good friend Lily.

This all happened a couple of years ago and I didn't document the process to share on a blog. But I can share some tips that I learned through the whole experience.
  1. Understand the process ~ read and fully understand the instructions for developing and setting your dyes. Different dyes use different methods of colour fasting. You don't want to be caught Googling how to make your dye fix in the middle of the process.
  2. Have extra articles to dye ~ small packets of dye make a surprising amount. After you're done tie-dying, it's better to have a few extra articles of white clothing left over than buckets of dye. You can keep the extra clothing for another time, but you can't keep the dye. 
  3. Know your ties ~  tie-dying can produce pretty ugly stuff if you don't know what you're doing. Before you start dying, spend some time deciding which patterns you like. Watch Youtube videos on how to tie different articles of clothing. You'll be surprised at the variations in tying and the results.
  4. Less is more ~ if you're tie-dying small items, like onesies, keep the colours to a minimum and the pattern basic.
  5. Practice makes perfect ~ getting the desired result can be challenging. The process is a bit finicky, particularly on small items like baby clothes. Don't lose heart! Try again if at first you don't succeed.

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