Saturday, July 18, 2009

Set That Red Dye

RED: it can run, leak, tint and destroy. I blithely made a simple quilt with red velvet on the top and a natural pin-striped cotton on the bottom. The red leaked out the first time I washed it, so now I have what I call the strawberry shortcake blanket. The velvet is still lovely, but the natural cotton is pink. Very pink. The pink that whipped cream becomes when strawberry juice soaks into it.

So how do you prevent this mishap? Forethought, of course, and either a mother or Google for research. When I wanted to set the dye in some fabric I had just purchased for a baby quilt, I used the computer to help me out.

To make a fabric colour-fast, put it to simmer for 15 minutes in a large pot of water, vinegar and salt. Use 1 cup of vinegar and 1/4 cup salt for 4L water.

When you pour out the water, it will likely be pink. Crisis averted! White t-shirts saved. Now you can safely launder the red fabric as per usual. I would still pre-wash it to remove the salt and vinegar before sewing. A garment, though, could just go in the regular colour wash cycle. I wash everything with cold water, as it keeps the fabrics brighter and saves energy.