Warning: Unnecessary Geek Out
I, for one, find the history of textiles fascinating. Which, by the way, is not a great pick up line. Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of tie dye. It's tacky and really shouldn't exist beyond the point of hanging on the summer camp clothes line. However, my mind was ever so slightly changed when I went to an exhibit at the Kent State University Fashion Museum a few months back . They had a resist dye exhibition with some really amazing bandhani garments made solely from mechanical resist techniques like binding, folding, twisting... basically tie dye. I was inspired. There was one piece that was highly detailed with people and animals and it told a story all from scrunching up fabric in the right way. While amazing, I had no idea how to even begin to work on something like that, other than spend 40 years as an artisan in India. However, there was another piece that used similar techniques, but from the Caribbean that was an almost perfect plaid pattern. This was still pretty distant from the type of tie dye I've seen before but was slightly more in reach. So I decided to give it a shot as a technical experiment.
Fabric - best with non-synthetics, like cotton
Step 1: Tie Technique
1. Accordion Fold: For this to work, you'll need to do an accordion fold on the fabric so that when you paint the edge of the folded fabric, you'll be painting each successive layer.
2. Tie: Measure out how far apart you'd like your horizontal lines to be. Use a heavy duty thread to tie each section as tightly as possible. I did a first knot with one piece of thread, that came in with another to get it tighter.
NOTE: Make sure that the edges of the accordion fold are visible after tying. It's easy to let one flap cover the others.
Step 2: Stitched Technique
Accordion fold - like the tie method, be sure each fold is visible on the edge. I also cheated a bit and used a tab of hot glue on the edges between the layers. I just cut off those edges when I was finished dyeing, but it helped keep it together while sewing.
Set sewing machine to the longest stitch setting and sew a baste stitch for the horizontal and vertical lines you'd like to see in the finished fabric.
After the lines were stitched in, I folded the fabric again keeping the stitched lines on the inside. I then rubber banded it all together.
Step 3: Dye, Wait, Rinse
2. Let the fabric soak for about 30 minutes.
3. Once it's good an soaked through, rinse it out keeping it tied up. It's messy, so do it in a utility sink or bathtub. Twist it, squish it, do whatever you need to, but don't open it. Keep at it until the water runs pretty much clear.
Step 4: Paint Edges
Step 5: Dry and Open
Keeping it all wrapped up, let it dry over night. Try to sleep, however, the anticipation may be too great.
2. Cut the threads
Now for the satisfying moment of truth. On the tied piece, just cut the threads and pull open the fabric. Ooh, pretty.
3. Seam Rip
The stitched piece will be more of a pain to open since you'll need to take a seam ripper to it, but hopefully you have a podcast to listen to and a steady hand.
4. Finish Drying on Flat Surface
The fabric may still be a bit moist, but you can finish drying it on a flat surface to ensure that gravity doesn't have it's way with the remaining dye.
Voila! The closest I got to resist dyed plaid.
Step 6: Use It!
* I'm using the term loosely. It still looks more like tie dye than plaid.
1. Cut out two pieces of fabric the same size
2. Stitch them right sides together leaving a 4" gap on one side.
3. Flip it right side out through the gap.
4. Top stitch around the edge including the gap area.