Ombré Fabric

All of the beautiful examples of ombré out in the world have made me want to try my hand at some ombré dyeing, so while I was visiting my parents I bought some muslin fabric and RIT dye and gave it a go.

First I cut up some fabric strips and tested various dipping times and dye ratios to get the look I wanted. Here are my test strips, drying in the sun.

I used a bottle of violet and one of purple, and I attempted to follow these instructions from RIT on ombré dyeing. The piece of fabric I was trying to dye is 120 inches wide and 3 yards long, and its large size made everything more complicated.

I boiled 4 gallons of water, then added the dye, plus salt and dish soap to an 18-gallon bin that my parents happened to have. I also added another 4 gallons of hot tap water because I could only boil 4 gallons at a time, and the first 4 took FOREVER to boil.

I folded the fabric in half-lengthwise, then wrapped it around a piece of pipe and wet it with the hose. Then I lowered it into the dye. See how my fabric is too wide for the container? This prevented me from getting straight dye lines. I should have folded it lengthwise once more, or scrunched it up.

Here’s the end product, drying on a setup I rigged in my parents’ backyard. It’s folded in half, so it’s twice as wide as it looks there.

Before I left I decided that I was dissatisfied with the end product, and tried to use the leftover dye to even up the dye lines and change the color. I ended up deciding not to leave any of it white, and this is what I ended up with:

I don’t have a place here to hang up such a large piece of fabric and photograph it, but you get the idea. Originally I was going to use the fabric as some sort of wedding backdrop, but since I’m not entirely happy with how it turned out I nixed that idea. I’ve thought of cutting it into long strips, and using those for decoration, or just not using it in the wedding at all and sewing a dress out of some of it (or maybe a cat bed–as soon as I draped it on the couch Delicious climbed on top). What do you think, what should I do with my many yards of uneven ombré-dyed fabric?

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