Thursday, 19 May 2016

The Great Washing Disaster of 2016 - part 1

I'm sure we've all experienced it at one time or another - that moment when you open the washing machine, or peer into the bucket of hand washing, and water has changed colour.  Things that were once white are now... not.

There's been a colour run. Whether it's the fabric that has leaked colour, or a particular colour of thread; whether its in a small spot or over the whole project it doesn't matter.

When it comes to hand stitching or sewing, it can be a gut-wrenching moment: your stomach drops, your heart stops.  All those long hours spent working on a project and now it's ruined.  I have a piece I worked on as part of a Girl Guide project 15 years ago.  I'd used no-name thread scraps, and the dark red ran, ruining the project.  It got shoved to one side - never fixed, never finished, and so I never got the particular badge I was working towards.  Still makes me sad when I see it in my "to be finished" pile.
The piece from 15 years ago.  The corners ran :(
Most recently, it was my Supernatural Alphabet - the piece I stitched for the A-Z challenge.  I'd stitched the piece on hand-dyed fabric from Sew It All.  I've never had a problem with their fabrics before.  It was a rooky mistake - I forgot to wash the fabric before I started the project, so it's all on me.  I put the finished piece in water to rinse off the wash-out-pen I'd used for the lines, and to clean it before framing.  I left it to soak for a minute while I dried/hung out the other finished piece.  I turned around and my heart sank.

The water was blue.

I couldn't believe it.  All that hard work and now this.  I pulled it out immediately, but the damage was done.  The white areas were now purple.  The people all looked blue and sickly.  The pale yellow... wasn't. 
The before and after.  The lighting was very different when I took
the second picture, but you can see the blue/purple dress and skin
I did what any self-respecting, independent 31 year old would do.  I texted my mother.

Then I did a Google search.  The results were mixed, with some people saying "stitch over it and make it look better" but that doesn't really help when it's the whole piece.  Another site said "don't put it through the dryer - the heat will set the colour" which is useful to know, but didn't solve the problem.  Still others said "rinse immediately before the colour has time to set".  So I rinsed - only to release more colour.  No!!  
The most common tip seemed to be "rinse in synthrapol".  I'd never heard of synthrapol; according to this website I found "synthrapol is a special detergent used in pre-scouring fibres before dyeing, and in washing out fibre reactive dyes after dyeing."  I was willing to give anything a go to save my project.  I ordered some express delivery. 

A couple of days later my mother sent me another text message:

What was the suggestion and how did it go you ask?  You'll have to come back for part 2 to find out! ;)

Happy stitching,


1 comment:

  1. I've actually never had that happen (thankfully), but I will definitely pay closer attention in the future!