Saturday, 30 January 2010

Bleaching fabrics and decorating

I have been having a little sort out of my fabric stash - seems I have some fabrics that I look at now and think, why did I buy that? Mostly because of the colour combinations. So I thought I would try bleaching some fabrics to see what happened.... Well if the best/worst came to it, I would have plain white fabric yardage - which is always useful to me. So I soaked some fabric samples in a strong bleach solution to see what would happen. I went back to check again a couple of hours later - One fabric was a pale blue chambray, which I did like the colour, but it was faded in parts - while in the bleach solution it had bleached pure white - result:-) The other three fabrics? Hmmm, no change. Left the samples for a few more hours and just a slight change to two of them. Left them soaking overnight and wondered if the fabrics would simply disintegrate, but no, it appears not. One fabric refused to bleach at all, how weird. This one lost some of it's colour, all the black background has turned into a peach colour with sand and black:It now looks like a line drawing but, I'm not sure I like it any better, so won't bother to bleach any more of it.
This one I do like very much - Original on the left and bleached version on the right: Interesting how the spotty coral coloured background has changed from positive to negative, yet the three shades of turquoise haven't changed colour at all. I like the white in the fabric as it now seems a 'fresher' design. One of the shades of turquoise is exactly the same shade as I am about to paint our downstairs loo* - so I will bleach some more of the fabric and use it for something to go up at the window...... Doesn't need to be proper curtains, just something to 'finish' the room off.

*Was going to be Farrow and Ball 'Blue Ground', but when I tried out the tester pot, Himself and I both thought it was much too bright for us to live with. So we went back to Homebase and got a Dulux Colour Mixing tin of paint in a much paler version.


  1. This experiment looks exciting. I too have fabrics in my stash that I don't really like. I tend to use them in backing on my calendar blocks from last year, or cut them tiny and they disappear in another design. I could try the bleaching option.

  2. i'd like to try bleaching - what proportions of bleach to water did you use??

  3. Hmmmm - am now wondering if i should lie and say I carefully measured everything out..... But I can't, I just poured water into a tub trug, added a good squirt of bleach and dunked the fabric in, pushing it down and stirring from time to time with a washing up brush. I then went back every twenty minutes/ half an hour or so and re-stirred it. After about five or six hours I looked to see what had bleached out.