July 23, 2020
Tie dye has been creeping out of the counterculture and into mainstream fashion for years. Now, in the midst of a pandemic, it's having a legitimate moment. Just give it a Google and you'll find 218,000,000 results relating to the craft. It's fun. It's family friendly. And it boasts cheerful and bright designs. So its popularity makes sense, especially when we could all use a little extra cheer.
You can make it. You can buy it. It's available practically anywhere, from Walmart to Etsy to Macy's. So, with so many options and so much tie dye available now, we all want to know:
What makes a truly good tie dye?
Dyed and Company has some tips for you with the 4 Ps of Good Tie Dye.
Note: the first of these is relevant to both shoppers and crafters but crafters will definitely want to read all 4!
Products Every tie dye t-shirt starts with two things. Dye and shirts. The quality of each is important.
Using the right dyes ensures vibrancy and staying power. For hobbyists, craft store dyes are popular options. They are easy to use, readily available, and fun. They aren't always very vibrant and often fade quickly. If you're making shirts to wear for the summer, then that's ok. If you're buying your new favorite shirt that you'll wear day after day for years to come, you need more. Dyed and Company uses quality, durable, vibrant Procion Fiber Reactive dyes.
Picking the right shirt plays major role in whether you'll love or never, ever wear a piece of tie dye, too. Cheap shirts are cheap for a reason. Some folks don't mind coarse, heavy cotton that's cut like a box. In fact, lots of people prefer them. If you're dyeing for yourself, choose a dyeable that you'll actually want to wear. Dyed and Company focuses on using super soft ringspun jersey cotton, like Bella Canvas, because we know it's what we want to wear. How many times have you purchased something, loving how it looked, only to find you didn't actually like wearing it? When you're buying, or designing, tie dye, pay attention to the products.
Planning/Placement Here's where your design comes in. You can buy great dye, read all the directions, tie up a great pair of cotton leggings, and then a carelessly placed bullseye pattern ruins the whole thing. Planning out where the colors will go, where the pattern will start and end, is crazy important. And you really have to pay attention to both dye placement and pattern here to make really good tie dye. Perfect dye placement isn't going to make up for a carefully placed fold, and vice versa. Think it through. Look at your piece carefully and think about where you want the different folds and colors to go. Before you fold, take note of where different points are, the collar, the seams, etc., and be aware of those points as you fold and dye. Notice the thought put into the pieces you purchase, too.
Patience After you sink your savings into products and spend hours planning how you want an item to look, have the patience to carefully tie and apply your design and, for the love of all the colorful shirts in the world, RESIST THE URGE TO WASH IT OUT EARLY. The process is exciting and it's so, so hard, even for professionals, not to get swept up in that excitement and want to see your finished product right away. But this is not that craft. Waiting for dye to process ensures the proper chemical reactions between the fabric and the dye to get the results that you want. If you don't, you'll have wasted all the time you used to plan, and all the dreams you had of the perfect spiral will literally fade as you wash dye down the drain. Just don't do it. Don't. Give your dye 24 hours to work so you can get the vibrancy you paid for.
Practice You can file this right along with patience under things you don't want to hear. But it's absolutely true that practice makes perfect. The more you practice tie dye, the more you'll learn. The more time you spend practicing folds and dye application, the better you're going to get. Want a tip to practicing folds? Fold the same piece ten times before you dye it. See how different the pleats are each time. See how much more nimble your fingers get. Did it get easier by the end? Did it get better? Keep practicing and it will!
So very gratefully yours,
Dyed and Company
January 23, 2019
After several months off to move (TWICE) and celebrate the holidays, we are anxious to start getting out hands dirty again!
"Off" probably isn't accurate. Despite a bit of quiet time and absence from markets, we've been doing lots of arm chair work which includes projects like tie dye necklaces and a new logo. We hope to have both ready when market season rolls around again and maybe even a new website. Until then, you can always message us about orders or any products you might be interested in or ideas you have. We love to hear from you!
Margaret Cooper, Dyed and Company