You’ve found a beautiful sewing pattern and you’re just dying to get behind the sewing machine to create a stunning garment. You have all of the necessary sewing essentials in your sewing room to make it happen, too; the only problem is that you don’t have a sewing fabric in the color that you’re envisioning for the project. Instead of running out to the store to buy a new fabric, if you have some bleach on-hand, you could easily change the color of the material into the perfect hue.
Bleach can be used for more than just cleaning; it can be used to lighten or completely whiten the color of a material; or you can use it to give your fabric an stylish aged, worn-in look. In this sewing help guide, we’ll teach you how to dye your fabric using a common household cleaning supply: bleach.
Make a Bleach and Water Solution
Just like you would with any other type of dye, in order to dye your fabric with bleach, you’re going to need to make a solution. It’s pretty simple: just add three tablespoons of bleach to one gallon of water. We recommend using warm water; however, cool water could work. Use a large container and make sure that the two liquids are well mixed.
Soak Your Fabric
Place the fabric that you want to bleach into the solution. How much fabric you place in the mixture and how long you allow it to soak depends on the effect you are looking for; for instance, if you want to completely lighten all of the material, add the entire length of fabric to the mixture; but, if you are looking to create an aged look on only part of the material, just place the section of the fabric that you want to dye in the mixture. The length of time you leave the textile in the bleach solution depends on the type of fabric you are working with, the color, and the effect you want to create; for example, if you want to make it as light as possible, you’ll want to let it soak longer than you would if you only wanted a slightly lighter color.
Wash the Fabric
Once you have achieved the effect you desire, remove the fabric from the bleach solution and wash it. Make sure to wash it separately to avoid damaging other garments and follow the care instructions for the specific material you are working with.
- Bleach is most effective as a dye for natural fibers, such as linen, cotton, and rayon, which can include and of the following cotton-based items: cotton knits, denim and chambray, gauze, fleece, flannel, and jacquard.
- Never bleach leather, faux leather, fur, faux fur, silk, suede, or satin, etc.
- Darker fabrics achieve the best results
- Colorfast materials will not offer positive results, as they are specifically made to avoid color loss.
- Always use caution while using bleach; avoid contact with eyes, direct contact with skin, and interactions with other materials that you do not want bleached.