Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Rainbow Dying bears

How to hand dye a bear.
There are many ways to hand dye. One way is to immerse the whole piece of fabric in to a deep pan of dye making the mohair all the same colour. Another way is dip dye each piece making it have different levels of the same colour.
I prefer to "Rainbow dye" my bears using rainbow colours.
These come in a small packet in powder form and you add water to them. I use the plain white or natural mohair or "Loom State"
The mohair I have chosen is a wavy natural colour German mohair.

I draw my pattern pieces on the back of the fabric and then carefully cut them out making doubly sure I have two body pieces one left one right, two head pieces one left one right, two arms one left one right, one head gusset, four ears and two legs.

I use newspaper to paint the mohair on. I then lay the cut out mohair pieces on newspaper right side up.
I have a brush for each colour dye and each dye is in a small container with an airtight lid, this avoids spillage and you can keep what is leftover for another time.
I then carefully paint each colour on the mohair starting at bottom, dividing in to sections as I go equally painting each piece the same colour.
Normally I paint the mohair in stripes, the bear being painted in the photographs is spot painted by spotting the dye on the mohair.

I start with one colour, doing all the pieces with that one colour at a time. Then I move on to the next colour.
Carefully covering all the hairs as I go, right to the top with each colour.
When all pieces are all covered I place them on clean newspaper and make sure the pieces don’t touch each other and leave them to dry.

When they are completely dry I put them all in to little net washing machine bags with zips and place them in the washing machine, on a rinse and spin cycle with a little fabric softener.
Once they have rinsed and spun I take them out of the bags and brush all the pieces.

I again leave them to dry, and then I take sharp scissors and trim all the fur away from the sewing seams.
The bear is now ready to make up. I normally sew all my bears by hand, occasionally I will use the sewing machine.

I think hand sewing is neater, but that is my personal opinion.

My next post will have the finished bear!