Posted in Sewing

First Trousers & Bleach Dying

When I decided I was going to start sewing seriously the first aim I set myself was to make some nice comfy casual trousers for myself. I had bought three such pairs in recent years and over time they were giving up. So once I had a few small projects under my belt I made my first attempt on some cheap cotton we had laying about from The Bendy Knitter‘s more artsie days. Well you’re not seeing those they were awful but I learnt a lot.

I decided I should head out and find something cheap to make my second attempt out of, I found this denim print polycotton. It’s very light weight as you make expect for a cheap polycotton.

Denim Polycotton

I finished them and fitted, I was very happy with that. But they looked awful, like drab blue scrubs, not what I expected at all, the denim detail was far too small to see without getting REALLY close up. So there aren’t any pictures at this stage.

I stewed on it for a bit and as 2015’s 3 Wishes Faery Fest  approached my thoughts were turning to costumes. One of which was a nautical type theme, I started thinking along the lines of well I have blue trousers, lets get more blue things and be a water fae. But these trousers won’t do, what can I do with them. Bleach Dye them of course.

So after buying elastic bands, rubber gloves and some cheap thin bleach I was ready. Giving the trousers a good soaking first and with the help of several elastic bands the trousers were twisted and balled up nice and tight. It’s really important to get them nice and tightly wound otherwise you’ll end up with too much colour gone. Now I filled the sink with bleach and water. I don’t remember the exact quantity, but almost anything looks like it will work, lots of things I’ve read suggest anything from equal quantities to 4 parts bleach to 1 part water, however that seems excessive to me, I’m more likely to have held back and used 1 part bleach and 2 parts water. The trousers were then left in for 5 – 10 minutes, the time really depends on the colour of the garment and the dyes used, which of course you’ll never know before hand. Also I should note here that 100% cotton is best used for this , using polycotton was a risk but one I was willing to take, it could have fallen apart. When the time is up give them a really good rinse and a turn in the washing machine on their own, maybe even two, until the smell of bleach has gone. and viola…

frozen trousers

Now is the time to talk colours, you may or may not know that, dark fabrics are made by dying with various other colours. When you bleach dye you wash out some of those so your end item will be made of the colours that were used but separated, in a tie-dye style. It’s quite exciting waiting to see what you’re going to get.

As you can see I think I pretty much hit the water fae colours maybe a little lighter than I had planned, a minute less in the bleach might have been a good idea. It’s been commented they look a bit more frozen than water, with The Bendy Knitter calling them my Elsa trousers more than once! Personally I’ve never seen Elsa wearing trousers! (That’s Elsa from Disney’s Frozen, if you didn’t know!)


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