Tutorial: Dying Sinamay

To dye my sinamay I took the instructions from here and from the RIT powder dye package and combined them. The how-to instructions use soda ash/wash and RIT uses detergent and since I don’t have soda ash I just used the detergent I had (arm&hammer).

Now RIT gives you the option of using the washing machine, stove top, or sink/bucket. I used the bucket method so I wouldn’t dye my sink or pots and a washing machine wouldn’t be gentle enough (plus I don’t have one). Also the bucket method is easy.

Dyes 1 pound of dry fabric

What you’ll need:

  • 5 gallon plastic bucket
  • gloves
  • wooden spoon
  • 1 package RIT dye
  • 3 gallons hot water
  • 2 cups hot water in separate cup
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon detergent

Preparing the dye:
Dissolve the dye in the 2 cups of hot water. I use the wooden spoon to stir until completely dissolved.

Making the dye bath:
Fill bucket with 3 gallons hot water. Add the dye and 1 cup salt. Stir well until the salt is dissolved.

Rinse off the sinamay then add to the dye bath. Swish for 15 minutes, then remove.

Add the detergent and stir well.

Put the sinamay back in the dye bath. Agitate for 30-60 minutes. (I did about 45 minutes)

Remove sinamay and rinse in warm water, then gradually cooler water until water runs clear.

I did not do this because it will never be washed, but if you were using other fabric you would want to wash in warm water with detergent.

Line dry.

dyed sinamay


The sinamay on the left is the result from these directions. The one on the right is after the dye bath had the detergent in it – you can see it’s much lighter in color.

4 Comments

  1. Renee said,

    So for purposes of hat making it’s okay to not do the detergent and the dye won’t run or stain something later if it accidently gets wet?

    • Kiddo said,

      I think the purpose of the soda ash/detergent is to help set the dye. If you didn’t use it, it could be possible the colors could run when wet; like if you were sweating while wearing the hat, you wouldn’t want your forehead to absorb some of that color.

  2. siseko said,

    can you dye baby pink to white?

    • Kiddo said,

      you could try bleaching it or use the Rit dye remover. I haven’t tried either on sinamay though.

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