Tie Dyed PEACE Dress to Salsa Music



Introduction: Tie Dyed PEACE Dress to Salsa Music

This is a dress that I have been making for children. I have this listed in my Etsy store etsy item link. The dress is tie dyed and then I make a block printed patch on tie dyed fabric and sew to the dress and add trim.

Watch the movie first (Step 1) then you can go through the detailed instructions.

Here are the steps:

1. Buy the blanks
2. Prepare blanks for dying
3. Dye
4. Prepare dress for printing
5. Prepare fabric patch for printing
6. Design and carve block print
7. Ink the block
8. Print the patch
9. Heat set patch
10. Sew onto dress
11. Trim dress

And here is a list of supplies (can be purchase from Dharma Trading Co. and PRO Chemical):

1. Some item to dye, t-shirt, etc. (fabric should be cotton, rayons, linens, or hemp)
2. Procion dye
3. Soda Ash (or other dye fixative)
4. Salt
5. Water
6. Some buckets
7. Rubber Bands
8. Synthrapol detergent (very concentrated pre- and after wash detergent for dying)

1. Cotton fabric
2. Screen printing ink
3. Print supplies: brayer, ink plate, rubber or linoleum block

1. Sewing machine
2. Thread
3. Pom pom trim (for this dress)

Step 1: The Movie

This is the video version, enjoy!

Step 2: Clothing Blank

Take a blank, PFD (prepared for dying) dress. You can buy PFD clothing from suppliers like Dharma Trading Co. or if you have an item you want to dye, wash in a detergent like Synthrapol, available at Dharma Trading and PRO Chemical, two suppliers I use for dyes and auxiliaries (chemicals and other supplies needed for the dye process)

Here I am dying several infant lap tee long sleeve dresses, 100% cotton jersey, from Dharma.

Step 3: Bind With Rubber Bands, Soak and Prepare Dye Bath

To create the tie dye effect, bunch up some fabric on the bottom of the skirt in a pattern and bind tightly with rubber bands.

Dissolve salt in warm water. The amount depends on the weight of the fabric and the dye. Here I am using about 1/2 cup. When I use the washing machine, I use from 2-5 cups per load, depending on the color.

While the salt is dissolving, measure the dye using the proportions from your dye manufacturer. (I experimented a lot at first before getting the colors I wanted. And light colors are easier than dark). I mix my dry dye with a cup of hot water first.

For this batch, I think I have about a pound of fabric, maybe less. For this color dye, I will need about 1-1/2 tablespoons (if you want to be more accurate you should weigh the dye, this would be about .38 ounces). Each dye color has a different proportion and then you may even want to vary that to increase or decrease the color intensity.

When your fabric is rubber banded, soak in a bucket of regular water (not the salt water)

Step 4: Mix the Dye

Mix the dye according to weight of fabric, color and intensity desire. Here I am using 1-1/2 tablespoons dye. I mix with about a cup of HOT water in a small container before adding to the water with the dissolved salt.

Mix well, then add add the rubber banded fabric.

Stir and agitate the fabric constantly to disperse the dye evenly.

(NOTE: I am doing this in a bucket but if you have a large amount of items to dye, use the washing machine, you will need to adjust portions and make sure you watch the machine and don't let the water drain until you are finished)

Step 5: WAIT and STIR

Stirring the clothes in the dye bath, time it and wait from 30-60 minutes, depending on how intense you want the color. Darker colors will always take more time. Unless you want a mottled look, make sure you stir every 10 minutes or so. This is where the washing machine makes sense.

Step 6: Dye Activator

Now that the dye has soaked in (for this color I waited about 30 minutes) The dye has to be set.

Dissolve a dye activator (or soda ash) in a cup or two of hot hot water. (you can buy this from the two previously mentioned suppliers in step 2)

Remove the clothes from the dye bath and place in another bucket.

Add the completely dissolved (important to completely dissolve the activator in water) activator to the dye bath and mix well.

Place the clothes back in the dye with activator bucket and stir/agitate again for about 30 minutes (longer for darker dyes).

Now rinse and wash. Rinse until the water runs clear.

After rinsing, wash the clothes in Synthrapol and hot water. Synthrapol removes any last lingering dye that might be in the cloth.


Procion dyes and the auxiliary chemicals used with them, need to handled carefully and cautiously. Make sure you work in a ventilated area and use a dust mask.

Also, get a good pair of chemical resistant gloves to wear for the dye process.

Step 8: The Block Print

For this dress, I used a block print and screen printing ink to create a print on tie dyed cotton fabric.

Using PFD cotton fabric (Dharma Trading is a good source for this), I tie dye the fabric using a hot pink dye, going through the same steps as I did for the dress.

When the fabric is dyed and dry, iron to prepare for printing.

Design and carve your print (I used a rubber block for the PEACE design, linoleum or any other print object would work).

Using textile screen printing ink on an inking surface (here is a metal plate, you can use anything really) roll the brayer in the ink to get a smooth, even consistency.

Roll the ink onto the rubber block design, photo shows a good inked design.

Step 9: Print the Patch, Sew

Press the inked rubber design onto the pink tie dyed fabric. One inked block will make one print. Re-ink for more prints.

Let dry several hours, then heat set the print using a hot iron:

Cover the print with another piece of cotton and iron for 3-5 minutes, moving the iron over the fabric without stopping.

Then, cut into squares and fold the edges under and iron a small hem so the patch is ready to sew onto the dress.

Step 10: Sew

Pin the patch to the dress and machine stitch close to the fold.

Pin the pom pom trim along the dress hem and stitch.

Step 11: The Finished Product!

The dress is finished now!

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