Dyeing Hawaiian Fabric

Whenever we travel to Kona on The Big Island we have to stop at Kimura’s Fabrics. Here is a post I wrote several years ago about this interesting shop.

Me and my fabric haul

You can buy about any type of fabric here from Hawaiian prints to lace and silk. On this trip I wanted to find some silk to dye.

KimurasfabricsI bought some vintage silk – 30 years old and on sale – and another couple yards of silk/ cotton blend.

I also purchased two interesting white-on-white fabrics. One was 65% poly/ 35% cotton and the other was 100% cotton. The poly/cotton fabric was so beautiful. Even though I was concerned it wouldn’t dye well with the fiber reactive dyes due to the poly, I just had to get a couple yards of it. I was also concerned about the 100% cotton fabric thinking that when I dyed it the pattern would be gone. I’ve had that happen with vintage napkins. If the design is in cotton, all I get is a colored napkin.

Was I ever surprised when I did a test. OMG! How exciting! The patterns just popped out.

3samples But wait, I need to let them batch and then wash then first. Here are the final results.


The first is the poly/cotton; second is the 100% cotton; and the third is another piece of poly/cotton I purchased at Fabric and Quilting Delights in Kona. I had no idea they would be so lovely. Since the two only have 35% cotton they will come out more muted, but that will be fine. I know the cotton one can be darker if I add more dye.

Now I am really looking forward to dyeing these. I’m thinking I’ll make some place mats with the poly/cotton. They also would make good journal covers or even bags.¬† Or I could think about dyeing them with the dye that dyes poly and have them two toned. Lots to think about.

It felt good to do a little dyeing yesterday since it seems like it’s been so long. One more Hawaii post and I’ll move on. The next one is the highlight of the trip. Such a neat experience. Hope to see you next time.