Bleaching Fabrics

fabric bleaching
Bleaching fabrics like quilting cottons is something I’ve wanted to try for a while. This seems like a natural progression for someone obsessed with fabric like I am, and apparently the crafting world at large is thinking the same thing, because there are some fabulous books currently out and soon to be out that can easily walk you through all you need to know to do this (more on that in a minute).
On Sunday, I decided to try bleach discharge. I pulled out a dozen or so fabrics, in a range of shades from dark to light, some blues and greens, some pinks and reds, to see how the different colors would react. I set up shop in the backyard with an empty plastic bin, and mixed a simple solution of 4 quarts water with 4 cups bleach. I added the fabric into the solution in three different batches (not sure this was entirely necessary, but I did), then set the timer for 5 minute increments. (Note I did not add soap in the solution, the bubbles could be from stirring.)
fabric bleaching
I have to say it didn’t seem to alter the fabric at all for most of the time it was in the solution (although I’m sure it was), but when I did start to see a change in the fabric colors it happened fast, so my advice is to keep your eyes on it. This batch came out about 15 minutes later, I left the next fabrics in for the same amount of time. Then I ran them all through a wash cycle to remove the bleach, then pressed them out.
Here’s the results-
fabric bleaching
fabric bleaching
All of these are quilting cottons, with the exception of the linen Lotta Jansdotter on the bottom right of the last photo. Some fabrics changed quite a bit, some not so much. But fun, right? The most interesting changes are when the dye washes away and brings out some undertone in the original color that didn’t show up as much in the original. I think I’d like to play with this some more, adjusting the times the fabrics are in the solution, etc.
fabric bleaching
I started a new pillow, pairing one of the bleached pieces with its original (an Amy Butler print). This is very cool stuff. I am really excited that Malka’s book is due out in November. If its anything like her blog and beautiful fabrics, it will only inspire me further. And Amy’s book came last week, which sort of sent me off on this tangent to begin with, but more on that tomorrow. I’m going to try to blog every day this week, to get me back in the habit, plus I just have lots to talk about.
Oh! And today I have a interview up over at The Progressive Pioneer
(thank you Amy!).
Have a great day!

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