I have a weakness. I’m heartily tempted by price points when purchasing fabrics. Fabricmart does this to me on a regular basis. The real downside to this weakness is not that my fabric shelves are continually overflowing, but that I end up with fabrics I would not have purchased could I have seen the whole fabric and not a swatch or picture of a swatch. Take this first swatch. When Fabricmart tempted me it was with a cotton silk in coral, aqua and mint, for a more than reasonable price and swatch similar to this:
Not my best colors. This is more of a summer color grouping. But it would be OK with my spring coloring. What arrived in the mail stunned me:
I didn’t think this was the fabric I ordered. That “coral” is more like a fuchsia in my mind and the masses of green were hardly mentioned in the description. I considered sending in back. But truth is, I love the cotton/silk blend. It is the most comfortable fabric to wear (IMO), very easy to sew with and easy to launder. It’s only downside is that I love it so much that these fabrics barely survive a year in my wardrobe. I keep buying them because I know that I wear them to death. So I kept this fabric hoping I could do something with it.
Another fabric I purchased was described as bright pink. It was 100% silk again at a price I could hardly pass up. It was also another fabric I considered sending back because bright pink was really blinding pink:
and what you are seeing is not the fabric as it came into my house. You are seeing it after I ran it and a package of Rit Dye Remover through a sanitary wash. (That’s the wash where the washer heats the water to boiling and is generally best for removing color). I wet this fabric before putting it into the washer. Dye and remover works more evenly if applied to evenly wet fabric. There’s about 12 feet between the sink and the washer. If I’m not careful, I can make a dangerously large puddle on the floor. So after wetting I lifted the fabric and put it into a colander to allow some of the water to drain. I watched in fascinated horror as a bloody red discharge accumulated in my sink. This fabric was not dye fast and would have ruined other fabrics. (I wash my silks. Usually on a delicate wash and cool water. I’m deliberately being tough on this one because of its objectionable color.)
I didn’t want to send either of these fabrics back. I like cotton/silk and I like these rougher silks like matka. So I asked myself, what can I do with them?
I was hoping that the Dye Remover would greatly lighten the blinding pink fabric. I think it just removed the excess dye. To be honest, I’m not sure why I bothered with Rit Dye Remover or even why I have it in the house. I have never been satisfied with my Rit dyeing experiences. I used to think it was something I wasn’t doing right. After all my aunts all had wonderful experiences and regularly dyed things. I assumed they left out a step that I needed to find on my own. Like maybe I wasn’t getting the water hot enough. Or maybe I need to add salt, vinegar or some other setting product. But nothing I ever did worked. On the Dharma site I learned that most people feel the same as I do i.e. most people are not satisfied with their Rit Dyeing experience. I decided to try Jacquards Discharge Paste.
Psst I tried a laundry bleach pen. You know how people are always displaying wonderful projects that were completed with a simple, stain-removing pen? Not happening at my house. The pen had no effect on either fabric.
I used a sponge brush to apply about 1/2″ tsp of paste to my 3″x3″ swatches and left them to dry. I checked back several times but the swatches were not completely dry. Apparently using a sponge brush did not result in an evenly applied layer of product. I ended up waiting over night for the swatches to completely dry. Then I fired up my Reliable iron and steamed away. The blinding pink is now tamed:
I could use this tamed pink, except I can’t see myself applying the product and then steaming 4 YARDS of 56″ wide fabric. Just not sure that’s going to happen.
The green fabric was equally surprising:
Hardly any color remained in the area treated with Jacquard discharge Paste. I’ve got 3 yards, 52″ wide. Fortunately I don’t want to remove all the color. For sure I want to get rid of that pink. Green isn’t really my color but I don’t need to remove it completely. It is conceivable, for me anyway, to apply the color remover on all the coral flowers — all 3 yards. But I’m not sure I want to do that either.
I’m seriously considering buying enough Dyehouse Color Remover to tame all 4 yards of bright pink fabric. I dislike handling things that need me to “mask up”. I dislike breathing through a mask and feel like if something needs that much care in handling, maybe I should leave it to the experts. The Remover would also require an additional purchase of soda ash. A second choice could be Idye Color Remover. This one is actually much more in line with my skills. I can throw a little packet into the washing machine and run a load. However it’s got an average rating of 3 stars. Dyehouse Color Remover has a 5 star rating despite some negative comments.
Some of you may remember my experiments with Decolourant. That’s another option except that Decolourant comes in a limited number of colors. I’ve also found it to be, well you need to be open to results. The color I saw on the screen was not the color in the bottle (although clearly labeled the same) and not the color which developed on my fabric. But if I could find the color I want, I would consider buying enough to fix the coral flowers on the green fabrics –except I’m not sure I want to leave all that green in that fabric.
I am simply undecided as to what I want to do next. I need to think. It could be days, weeks, months and even years before I decide what to do. These are “Future Projects”