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!


  1. That is fasinating Kerren, Ive only ever used the method with just one colour. This looks really interesting.
    Susan x