If you’ve been around these parts for long, you may notice I have a thing for coral and blush colors. I adore beautiful pale blushes and use them a lot in lingerie fabrics. As a French friend of mine told me, they are “so very Parisian lingerie,” but I blame my love of these colors not on lingerie but a rose. (As it turns out, a French rose!)
I inherited a scraggly but lovely little bush with my home long ago, and discovered through antique rose collectors that its name was Souvenir de la Malmaison. With a little cleaning up, she quickly became my most treasured plant in my garden. You’ll have to walk by her blooms to understand.
This is the dye recipe I use for those blush colors. It’s not a how-to in dyeing, so if you are brand new to acid dyes, this may help. (Dharma Trading also has a good basic tutorial. I buy most of my dyes from them.)
- Dharma Trading Acid Dyes in Vanilla Cream and Peach Blush
- white vinegar
- a stainless steel pot
- glass measuring cups to dissolve dyes
- your fabric*
*Your fiber content must be nylon, silk or wool. (I assume you won’t be making wool lingerie, but who knows? I have used this recipe on wool yarn and it’s lovely.) Acid dyes do not work on cotton, rayon or polyester.
Get your fabric totally wet. (Always do this if you want even color.)
Heat a pot of water large enough to contain your fabric (but don’t in your fabric yet) and start to heat the water.
Dissolve the dyes in two separate measuring cups: add a cup of water to 1/4 teaspoon of Peach Blush, and add a cup of water to 1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla Cream.
To dissolve powder dyes, I recommend putting powder in first and adding warm water to the powder, not the other way around (dropping powder in water). This is really good for dyes that are more difficult to dissolve (and keeps from speckling!).
dyeing the fabric
- When the water in your pot gets hotter than “hand warm”, add your dye.
- Start by adding Vanilla Cream: 1 tablespoon of the dissolved dye for large amounts of fabric (a yard) and 1 tsp for small amounts.
- Add your fabric and stir it around.
- Keep stirring occasionally until the water starts to steam. Push the fabric to the side of the pot and and add 1/8 cup (1 ounce) of vinegar. If you are dyeing over a yard, you may need a bit more.
- Wait until the water starts to steam before adding the Peach Blush. At this point the fabric should be looking slightly yellowish–you want that. If it still looks white, let it sit longer in the dye pot or add a bit more dissolved dye.
- Wait until the water looks mostly clear, then push the fabric to one side of the pot and add a little bit of Peach Blush. Start with 1/4 tsp or even less.
- Stir until the water runs clear. If the fabric is still mostly yellow, add a little bit more Peach Blush.
Once your fabric takes on a pale peachy hue, stop adding dye and let the water cool down a bit. Then take out the fabric and rinse, rinse, rinse! In COLD water. Then hand wash in a mild soap. I recommend Soakwash or Eucalan for lingerie fabrics.
When I am dyeing with acid dyes in particular, I like to add little bits of color at a time, and build color much as you would building paint color on a canvas.
A little goes a long way with the Peach Blush. It is more concentrated than the Vanilla Cream. For the absolute palest of blush colors, think of adding drops of it!
I only add Peach Blush after the fabric and vinegar have been added. The Peach Blush strikes (bonds) faster than the Vanilla Cream so you want the fabric to absorb the Vanilla Cream first.
And finally, don’t let the water boil if you are dyeing anything with spandex/elastane content. Boiling temps can melt or distort spandex. When dyeing nylon lingerie fabrics I try to keep the water at “steaming” (which is about 150F).
Thank you so much for this! I have just started looking into dyes and got some from Dharma. And by the way, omg their silks… Anyways, I was a little apprehensive trying dyeing but your post makes it sound pretty straight forward.
I would love to see more posts on dyeing. And things like your favorite dyes you’ve tried and combinations. For example, I would have never thought to combine vanilla cream with peach blush! I was planning on using a straight up dye and see what happens. But this colour looks just perfect. And I agree, very Parisienne!
Hi Anya, yes I love their silks, too. I buy their charmeuse to make seam tape. The actual storefront is one block from some of our close friends, and I never leave this store without goodies (yarn, dyes, fabric…). I have wayy too many dyes. But I’ve already gone through three little jars of that Peach Blush.
Thank you so much for this tutorial, I’ve used Dharma dyes before with great success but haven’t started making custom colors yet. This is just what I need to give it a try!
It’s so fun to mix colors! Definitely give it a shot. I almost always mix the primary colors, but these two (which are already mixed on their own) make a nice match.
Thank you Amy! I have been searching for lace the colour of your lovely Harriet sample, but haven’t quite found the right one. I think I can do this, I’ve dabbled in dying bra elastics! I have a good supply of white nylon lace and am now off to order the dyes.
Thanks for sharing you recipe and methods
This makes me wanna do it to a white wedding dress! I am hating the white but I am afraid of ruining the dress before I even get married