I am working with Ms. Do Right on a new outfit. She wanted a flamenco style skirt in a bright color to do a bull-fighter style striptease. “ I know I could have made a skirt but I didn’t have the time or energy. I added it to my thrifting list and went on with life. A month passed and still no skirt. Lucky for me, Saver’s busted out their Halloween stuff and rearranged the store.
Then I found the flamingo. The picture doesn’t do the color justice. It was flamingo pink bordering on pepto/barbie pink. If it weren’t $7.99 and 100% cotton I would have left it to roost in the store. I knew that a few minor alterations and bath in some dye would make this the perfect skirt.
Based on my time in the dye lab, I had a hunch that adding some sort of orange or rust would make this an awesome red/crimson. I checked in with Claire to make sure I was right on that. The added bonus, Claire had the dyes and all the gear to borrow. Sure I could have used RIT, but this was a stage piece and I needed saturated color. With a natural dye is best to use a fiber reactive cold water dye like Procion. Now to make the orange. Orange is actually a blend of lemony yellow and fushia, not red and yellow like our early art teachers informed us. Dyes and paints are two different animals.
The ideal place to dye is in a top loading washer that you can stop mid cycle (front loading washers are not the place to dye clothes). The second best is a giant rubbermaid tub that can be placed somewhere near a drain. I used my bathtub. For prep, I used a plastic pitcher in my kitchen sink. As far as instructions go,“ consult the Dharma website for basic tub dying basics. You also want to have gloves, a dust mask (you don’t want to inhale dye powder), and clothes you don’t care about.
I left the skirt in the bath for an hour (stirring occasionally) to get a super saturated red. The process left the bathtub looking like a crime scene, but it was nothing a little bleach couldn’t handle (P.S. If you work fast OxyClean will get rid of dye spots. I know this because I got three tiny dots on my kitchen rug.)
After a trip through the washer and dryer“ I was excited to find a flamenco skirt rather than the flamingo or some other scary color. Dye is definitely part chemistry, part artistry, and part flying by the seat of your pants. This color can’t be replicated.
There are a few flaws in the skirt (but many were there when I started this quest. The thread was not 100% cotton. It is still pink, but from two feet away you really can’t tell.