McCalls 5431 and adventures in dyeing fabric

Hello everyone!

I am back with a quick post sharing my misadventures in dyeing fabric and the making of McCalls 5431. This flared skirt has a yoke and back zipper closure; HUGE pockets! That illustration had me at hello. HUGE pockets! Purchased last year but only made about 3 months ago.

McCalls M5431

I made it in….linen! Lilac linen. This skirt consumes a lot of fabric. I made View D which is the longest skirt. The construction is very straight forward, similar to Hollyburn skirt for those who are familiar. For me the sizing was a bit on the larger side. Even though I went with the waist size nearest to my waist measurement I still had to take out 1.5″ in the center back seam to get the fit that looks like the pictures. Otherwise it was hanging off my hip (belly dancer style).

I decided to line it and that was not fun working with slippery lining fabric with seams falling mostly on the bias grain! Still it was worth it though as the skirt has a lovely feel to it when I am wearing it. I hung it for about a week to let the hem drop. The linen was quite stable and hardly dropped but the lining dropped by about an inch. Circle type skirts are lovely but dang! there is so much hemming to be done.wpid-20150511_202822.jpg wpid-20150512_080952.jpg

Once made up I decided I didn’t like the lilac so much but I wanted it to be navy blue instead. Bought my Dylon hand dye and voila!wpid-20150708_075825.jpg wpid-20150609_195656.jpg wpid-20150609_195600.jpg

I did not mean for it to have batik tie and dye effect – this was a botch dye job because my bucket was too small to let the fabric dye evenly. But worst of all – I was not agitating the water regularly. I forgot about it for about hour….In 2 minds about whether I should overdye it again but I feel like I spent enough time on this skirt. Plus I wore it to an open evening and a woman asked me where I had bought the skirt because she thought it was gorgeous. I told her I made it and she literally looked stunned. Love that 🙂 

Further dyeing ventures…..

I bought some Powder Pink Dylon  to use on cotton poplin. I have this idea to make a colour blocked V1440 top in a chartreuse green and fresh pink. Since I had no luck finding the exact shades I like I thought I would dye the perfect shades. I used the stove top method and everything was going well until I decided that I wanted the pink to be less pastel so I added a smidge of some crimson I-Dye (a different brand to Dylon) and everything went downhill.

This is what came out of it: patchy with spots of blue and brown colour. The entire 1 meter of fabric was like this. Couldn’t be used so I decided to dye it crimson. Its ended up costing me quite a lot. £5 for the 1 meter + £3 for the Dylon pink dye + £3 for the Crimson I-Dye plus all the time spent in the washing machine! I could have just bought more expensive fabric! The crimson turned out quite nice though.
2015-08-03 15.06.51 2015-08-03 15.07.04

My mistake was to add the crimson as a powder. I think I should have dissolved it first. Or I just shouldn’t mix brands -_-. I also used Tropical green Dylon (hand dye) and the results were equally terrible….instead of  fresh charteuse green I got security guard 2 tone green….<sigh> this will be used for a muslin.2015-08-06 09.45.55
2015-08-05 11.48.47 The other colour I wanted was a mustard. I-Dye do several mustard – y colours. I chose the Aztec Gold dye. At £6 a pop they are quite expensive. But they are relatively easy to use. You just throw the sachet in the washing machine add the damp fabric then 1 cup of salt and get the cycle going. The linen was a coral colour to start with (same linen that made my Japanese Boat neck dress here). The end result is very pleasing. You can see the before and after pictures below. It really is a lovely colour that I have not seen during any of my fabric jaunts so I am ahaapy about that. In conclusion I much prefer to machine dye. Its a lot easier!2015-08-05 11.50.242015-08-05 11.50.19So instead of a pink and green colour blocked V1440 top it will be mustard and crimson…wont that be a sight?? Have you ever tried dyeing fabric?  I can see myself doing a bit more dyeing in future along with block printing which I have been reading loads about 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and Happy weekend sewing everyone!




58 thoughts on “McCalls 5431 and adventures in dyeing fabric

  1. Oooh yeah dyeing is hard. I remember trying to dye curtains one time. I got these secondhand panels at a charity shop and tried to dye them from pastel pink to a navy blue. Used a machine at the coin-op laundromat. They came out brown and splotchy. Never again!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, my, you have been dye-ing!
    Firstly, that blue IS gorgeous – don’t change a thing!
    Secondly, when looking at the bucket vs. washer after pics, it appears the machine definitely does the best job – love that mustard!. Guess you might begin to convince yourself that process & that sachet brand might be the way to go hereafter. Even if it does cost more. (Diffy for me to decide, too.)
    No, I don’t dye fabric as I don’t own my own machine. Closest I’ve been is tea dying to whites to “age” them, or adding vinegar to rinse water to stop colour bleeding (just did some black linen).
    A lovely weekend to you, as well ~ and thank you for sharing your adventures, and that circle skirt!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fabulous mustard colour! I can remember turning everything purple as a teenager during an attempt at tie-dyeing! Do you need to run the machine through with clean water afterwards before using it again?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Hila. I’d hate to accidentally turn W’s work shirts an odd colour. I always remember when my mother got her first automatic washing machine when we were little and everything came out pink due to a stray red sock!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Hila. You are so lucky, that blue looks great! Sorry, but it really makes the skirt, good pattern but it just wasn’t working on you in the lilac.

    For me, the usual teenage dyeing… the dress stayed yucky peagreen, but the stitching became a very visible fuchsia!

    However… I’ve been looking into dyes recently to make some Alabama Chanin clothes, similar to your block printing – very steep learning curve! So, you’re welcome to share the fruits of my labour so far 🙂

    Firstly I must recommend Paula Burch’s site where she gives expert advice and answers all sorts of dyeing queries.

    Secondly, strongly, strongly, suggest you have a look at Jacquard’s dyeing products online. Risk sounding like I work for them, but wow. They also have forums on their website where they answer all kinds of questions and give loads of advice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome! Thanks for the tip Su. I have looked up Jacquards and I am super excited I coundthem on Amazon and they are quite affordable with a great range of colours too!


  5. Hello Hila! You’re going into new territory so this is the experimental stage. Maybe next time you can try tie dye technique. That way any irregularities in the color might not be noticeable.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. P.S. Some of the difficulty might come in when the fabric purchased was one color and then you try to dye it another. Do you think the finishing on the new fabric kept the colors from being even? I think washing a few times before dyeing might change the rate at which fibers absorb the dye.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am not sure. Its linen and when I have dyed linen nefore its turned out ok. First time was simple shift dress but I remembered to agigate water regularly. The second was a machine dyed linen which came out even and beautiful. With this I think the lining added more bulk which meant it required more space to be agitated.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That could be it, too. You got me to thinking about how home dyeing would work using white linen or cotton and then natural coloring sources like cherries or onion skins. I’ll enjoy seeing what else you come up with.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Its funny you should say that. We have had a glut of blackcurrants this year and as I was making some cordial I use white linen to strain the syrup and it turned a lovely deep purple colour. I thought to keep it and see so I washed out and hung up to dry. But after 2 days or so the colour jad turned a muddy brown. .I have heard of tumeric as a dye. Will have to see😃

        Liked by 1 person

      3. There has to be a way to fix the color into the fabric. In highschool I used blueberries to die a cotton pillowcase. I think Mom and I used alum to fix the color. We soaked it in the alum and water after dyeing in a pot with the mashed blueberries and water. Even though we set the color it did fade out. We were left with a cotton pillowcase that was the faintest shade of blue.

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  7. I love the effect on your blue skirt – it totally looks like it’s meant to be that way! The big pockets are great too. That mustard colour is so rich – looks like machine dyeing is the way to go.

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  8. I do quite a bit of dying and the machine method works well, but as you say it is expensive. The key really is to get a large enough container. I often use the bath, or a really large bucket I use especially for this. That is the only way to avoid the mottled effect. Personally I prefer the liquid dyes to the powders which must be completely dispersed first.

    Which can be an OK effect. It does work on the blue skirt. I remember you dyed a pink dress deeper pink and it was great. You definitely suit deeper shades Hila rather than the pastels, so this is a great opportunity to dye those lighter items. (Not so good the other way around!).

    well done for experimenting and reporting your results.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kate! I havent come across liquid dyes yet- which do you recommend? I am scared of staing the bath tub so have never thought to use bath tub.


      1. The one I use is called Rit. With the bath, just rinse quickly and if you have any residue I find that Cif works. But if you have an acrylic rather than cast iron vitreous bath maybe test first?


  9. I’m with the others – the blue skirt is a real winner! Love it! Move dyed fabric in the washing machine with good results but not actually made it into anything. Just dabbling I suppose. I dye my hair, does that count!! 😃

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  10. The blue skirt is much better than when it was lilac. I have used both hand and machine dyes. The machine dye may be more expensive but is worth it for the result and the time saved by not having to agitate the cloth yourself.

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  11. I love the skirt! Don’t change a thing!

    I am really into dyeing, loads going on for both fabrics and RTW. I’ve never tried hand dyeing, Dylon machie dye is so much easier. I used to dye black all printed fabric, as I don’t like florals, ha ha.

    However, although my fabrics turn out ok, I keep leaving various pieces of Carl’s in the washing machine by mistake, like a white t-shirt that turned taupe and pants that turned green, so I’m really not in his good books lately. He is really freaking out when I decide to do another load :).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Poor Carl! What our OH suffer in the name of a handmade wardrobe! You should check out I Dye machine dye. They have a wider colour range than Dylon.


  12. I also have used the machine dye, it is much more easy and time consuming as you don’t have to do anything just read carefully the instructions. about your skirt, you made a nice decision to dye it as it looks better now, I would have dyed it for a second time but since you like it as it is that’s a winner.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Totally agree, that blue is fab, the whole outfit looks perfect on you! Haven’t tried to dye anything since the 80s when I was a whole lot younger, you’ve kind of reminded me of what fun (if unexpected ;-)) results you can get.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. HUGE pockets! Those just are the best, and really nice with the longer version. I think the blue is much nicer than the lilac. Great tip — to hang the skirt before hemming. I’d have been pretty miffed to discover the droopy lining after it was all finished.

    Liked by 1 person

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