Sunday, September 5, 2010

sweater remake and tea staining tutorial

~Tea staining is a fun, non toxic, cheap, and easy way to dye fabric and paper. I have actually been tea staining paper since I took my first printmaking class many years ago. I just recently decided to try tea staining fabric,
with very pleasant results. I think it is best to do small batches; like I did one sweater in one 5 quart container.
(the onesieI link to was done in half as much water and used half the tea)

for Tea staining
white sweater
8 family size black tea bags( cheap ones)
5 quart pot

Tea Staining Process

1. prep garment or fabric . Clean your garment and remove any buttons if need be.
2.Make your Tea bath. Bring H2O to a boil. Steep tea for at least 30 min up to 1 hour. A longer steep gives you a darker stain. remove tea bags.
3. Stain your fabric.Put fabric in pot using tongs agitate fabric making sure it is soaking evenly. I soaked mine for 2-3 hours checking on it every so often and moving it about with the tongs. If you are having trouble keeping your garment submerged use a pot top that is smaller than your pot to weight it down.* be aware that tea staining is somewhat irratic and will create and uneven stain .. but that is part of the magic and part of what I love. You can see what I mean here in the back view of this sweater

4. Wash your fabric. I put mine in the wash alone without soap but on a warm cycle.

....and then I kept having fun
optional materials for embellishment
lace for collar
trim for front
eye hook closure

~Tea staining to me is whimsical in itself so when embellishing this sweater I decide to go for a romantic vintage look. I had this beautiful lace collar I took off an incredible dress that was gifted to me as scrap.

I was told the dress dates the very late 1890's. Since it was also a collar for the dress and I simply winged it sort of pinning it into place ruffling it here and there. I trimmed it in the back to fit the sweater and hid the trim in one of my rufflings. I hand stitched/tacked the collar in place. I was not worried about being to fussy because I wanted that romantical disheveled look for the sweater. I used new cotton lace trim in a very pale blue to cover the button holes and mirrored it on the button side; machine stitching them in place. I am not super thrilled with new lace trim and may change it out for some other more weathered trim. I did actually wear it on Saturday night with my new sea horse dress but more on tat one is very romantical too


Anne said...

Your sweater is beautiful! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


Carole Ann said...

Cute! Thanks for sharing - I love how your sweater came out! I just had my first experiment in tea dye this past weekend, and I'm really happy with the result! I'll be posting it on my blog this Wednesday at if you want to see!

Unknown said...

Just wondering.. since it's stained with tea, won't the color come off eventually? Or will it stick? :)

belle said...

since the sweater is cotton it will stay. you may get a little fade after numerous washings. I would wash in cold after the initial wash and air dry to keep from fading.

gwenstella said...

this is great!!! i'd love to try it but i am really scared of the uneven stains...

Jen Schneider said...

Oh, I love, love, love this. And I LOVE your blog. So glad I found it. You are wonderful!

Katie said...

Ooh, I love the collar that you made - so delightfully feminine!

sabrina said...

I LOVE your sweater! SO pretty! I'm thinking about tea staining my wedding dress. I got it for free from a friend, and I have a year before my wedding. It needs to be altered, and I also wanted to embellish it with some antique lace I found. Here's hoping I have some luck! :)

claire said...

Awesome result! :)