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.

6 thoughts on “Tutorial: Dying Sinamay

  1. 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?

    1. 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. After my sinamay had dried, I put it in the water to get ready for blocking and to my surprise the water turned black. I had followed all the instructions except washing it. But I had rinced it till the water was clear. What is it that I did wrong, please help!
    I was using black dye.

    1. Since this post is over 5 years old, it looks like the link to the site I used is not going to the correct place so I’m not sure what their instructions were. I haven’t dyed any other sinemay since then and never used black. Maybe it was the dye you used? What kind was it? Another reason may be you didn’t rinse in cold water?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s