Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Dyeing Oscha Vanilla Roses

I've been eagerly awaiting my Oscha preorder since February, as it contained several new dye projects which I was keen to get on with.  It arrived last week, and my first project was my size 5 Vanilla Roses (80% cotton, 20% silk).
I have to admit that this project did not go to plan. I thought I had ruined my wrap on several occasions, but thankfully managed to save it.  For those who are considering dyeing their Vanilla roses (this is the cotton/silk roses, rather than the tri-blend which is also available), be aware that the cotton ends up stained by the acid dye, and it doesn't always stain in the same colour as the acid dye!  I have not had this happen before with acid dyeing. I've occasionally had the cotton take-on a slight hint of the acid dye colour, but not actually change colour completely!  
Please be aware that this is definitely NOT a set of instructions for you to follow, as it went a bit wrong! However, I thought it would be fun to share what I did, and thankfully it does have a happy ending.

Firstly, my plan was to acid dye using olive green acid dye with a hint of turquoise, with the hope that the silk would end up a lovely subtle olive colour.  Unfortunately, I didn't know that using olive green acid dye would result in the cotton being stained a deep sand colour, so I ended up with something which I dubbed 'Sepia roses'.  These were not terrible if that was the effect I had been going for, and I did let them dry and try them on, but the colour didn't suit us at all, so I decided to try something else.
'Sepia Roses'

Next, I tried acid dyeing them using a mixture of deep blue and deep teal, hoping it would stain the cotton a slightly nicer colour and deepen the colour of the silk.  Unfortunately this didn't particularly have any effect, except to turn the whole thing a sludgey sand/green colour!  I also found that it was taking a lot of rinsing to get all of the acid dye out of the wrap, so by this time the wrap had been washed, acid dyed twice, and then washed a total of four times in an attempt to remove the excess dye!
In the wash with the Dylon
I wasn't sure what to do at this point, but decided I didn't really have anything to lose!  I wanted to attempt to achieve a turquoise colour, even if it meant losing some of the contrast, so I turned to Dylon, which would dye the cotton rather than the silk.  When dyeing over a colour you have to work out colour-mixing rules.  As the cotton seemed to be mainly a yellowy colour, with a hint of green, I knew that I needed to add something fairly blue to it, to achieve a turquoise colour. I chose Dylon 'Bahama Blue', as it is a bright, fresh colour, and I hoped it would be a strong enough colour to over-ride the dull, sludgey colour of the wrap, without taking away all of the contrast. 
It was a nerve-wracking couple of hours whilst waiting to see the result, and I was so delighted when I pulled out a beautiful deep teal/emerald coloured wrap, where the contrast was still clearly visible!  I had to do another wash to take out the excess dye, and the contrast has paled slightly as its dried, but I have to admit I am thrilled, and very relieved, with the results! Its a definitely a colour that I enjoy wearing, and I feel it suits us quite well!
Still wet, straight out of the wash
So in total the wrap has been washed 7 times, plus acid dyed twice, and dyed with Dylon once! No wonder if has shrunk in length from 4.45m on arrival, to 4.16m at the end of the process!  However, a couple of the washes I did were very hot, in an attempt to remove the copious amount of excess dye.  Thankfully the width of the wrap has only shrunk by half a cm, from 68cm wide, to 67.5cm wide.
Dry picture

I had a bit of fun doing this project, although it was nerve-wracking and disappointing on a couple of occasions.  I also have a size 4 Vanilla roses, and I have to admit that I think I will be keeping them natural at the moment (I will review the natural Vanilla roses soon).  I have heard that the tri-blend Vanilla roses appear to dye a lot better, with the cotton/linen not staining in the same way as the cotton/silk Vanilla roses.
I now have the job of breaking in my dyed roses, as after such a long process, the poor roses have taken some beating, and need a bit of tender loving care to soften them up again.  I have to add, however, that despite everything I have put the fabric through, it has remained in pristine condition. Oscha silk is obviously very hardy!


  1. Oh this is so Pretty!!!

  2. Nerve-wracking, but I love your final product! I just ordered a tri-blend vanilla roses and plan to dye it blue-green. Your end color is perfect.

  3. This is beautiful! I'm considering buying a vanilla roses ring sling to dye, loved reading your post about your dyeing experience.