Bleaching Fabric

October 24, 2006 at 11:19 pm | Posted in Sewing/Crafts | 4 Comments

Martha Stewart Living ran an article over the summer about bleaching fabric. Emily’s post last week reminded me to try it. I just filled the washer up with hot water and a couple cups of bleach, then added the fabric and ran a cycle. Here are my favorites (the top photos are the original colors; the bottom ones, the bleached ones):

Bleached cotton fabric

  1. Gray-blue-green with wheat colored leaves. Turned out light gray with mustard-y leaves. The shadows show up a lot better.
  2. Icky olive brown with dark plum buds turned into a neat ochre with wine-colored buds.
  3. Lilies of the valley on light blue with blue-green leaves -> lavender background with olive green leaves.
  4. Dark teal vines on blue yielded dark green vines on sage green vines.
  5. Vines on purplish blue became vines on medium gray.

Not all of the fabric I washed had such dramatic results, but I’m particularly fond of these because they were colors I would probably not ever use. Now I am searching for an excuse to use them!



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  1. That is fabulous! I saw that article too but didn’t think too seriously about trying it. But I have a stack of fabrics of my own that I’m not too thrilled about so I definitely need to give it a try!

  2. Wow ! I love the results you got. Its like making your own co-ordinates. Nice range of fabrics there :-) Looking at your results, I’m thinking of having a go at it myself. It will be put on the list of things to try. You’ll definately have to make something now.

  3. hmm… i am afraid of bleach so i would never do it myself, but it is neat that they did THAT instead of going all splotched like i would expect fabric to do with bleach. now here’s another question – where did you get the fabric, because i love it.

  4. Thanks, Jen.
    I’m an equal opportunity fabric addict: I buy some from Wal-Mart (what can I say; I grew up in the south, to which I also credit my surprising loves of country music and cowboy boots), JoAnn, and local quilt shops. I wouldn’t look for them now, though, as these were my misfit fabrics bought years ago and never used. That being said, I had no fear of damage or unevenness, since they were not some of my favorites.

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