How To Make An Iron Blanket For Eco Dyeing: 3 Best Materials

Eco dyeing is fun if you love nature’s patterns. For this, you need to know how to make an iron blanket for eco dyeing.

Iron blankets are essential in this dyeing process, and making one involves pretty cheap chemicals. Here’s a brief run-through of what you’ll learn about the iron blanket.

 

how to make an iron blanket for eco dyeing

What Is An Iron Blanket In Eco Printing?

An iron blanket is any fabric, usually cotton, which is soaked in an iron solution to add iron to the dyeing process. The iron is essential because it will combine with the dye to make the prints stick more permanently on the cloth you’ll use to print.

Iron blankets are also called “carrier cloths.” The reason for doing this is because they carry or absorb the solutions, called mordants, to make the dyes or prints stick more permanently.

In this case, the mordant is the iron solution. You’ll know more about the specifics as you read. For now, let’s talk about making the iron blanket.

Steps In Making An Iron Blanket For Eco Dyeing

 

Making the iron blanket

Step #1. To start, you need to make sure the fabric you’ll use as an iron blanket is the same size as the garment you’ll dye. Afterward, get a large enough bucket or basin and fill it with warm water.

You can purchase ferrous sulfate, which is not very expensive, from a garden center. Put in one teaspoon for every gallon of water in the basin/bucket.

Another way to make the iron solution is to throw in rusty scrap metals such as old nails in the water. For better results, add vinegar.

Step #2. Soak the fabric in the iron solution for ten minutes. Make sure it’s thoroughly soaked so that you can distribute the solution evenly. Doing this helps prevent black spots from appearing on the iron blanket and affecting the design of your dye prints.

When the time has passed, wring it out. Your iron blanket is now ready to use.

 

Using the iron blanket

Step #1. If you’re new to eco-dyeing or need a recap, here’s what you’ll need to do to spruce up your desired garment. If you want the eco-print to be as colorful as you desire, make sure that you have already pre-dyed your garment by the time you make your iron blanket. If you want leaf patterns only, you can already start with the iron blanket.

Step #2. Arrange leaves on your garment any way you like. Once you’re satisfied, you can place the iron blanket on top, sandwiching the whole thing.

To prevent bleed-through, you can place a barrier on top of the sandwiched fabrics. The barrier could be recycled plastic or brown paper.

Step #3. Wrap the whole thing on a dowel and tie it with string or rope.

Step #4. Now you can either steam or boil the tied-up fabrics to enhance the dyeing process. Do this for about 90 minutes.

Step #5. When it’s ready, untie and unfold everything on a clean surface. Let it dry, and voila! You now have your very own eco print.

 

What Are The Best Leaves For Eco Printing?

It will delight you to know how blessed nature is with all kinds of decorative leaves that are great for eco-dyeing.

 

Fruit trees

To start, fruit trees such as cherry, plum, apple, and peach trees produce leaves that print beautifully on your fabrics. Leaves from berry plants such as strawberry, blackberry, chokeberry, serviceberry, and Saskatoon berry are also lovely additions.

 

Leaves

You also can’t forget leaves like chestnut, beechnut, walnut, and butternut. You may even want to take an unconventional route and use carrot leaves. Of course, you can never go wrong with prints from typical leaves such as birch, eucalyptus, maple, oak, sumac, willow, alder, or other decorative leaves.

 

Flowers or herbs

To add some more color to your project, you can also consider flowers or colorful herbs. These can include dandelions, irises, lilacs, tulips, violets, marigolds, catmints, and many other eye-catching plants.

The leaves and the flowers from the ones listed previously will surely make your eco-dyeing project pop and look more vibrant. Whatever leaves you’ll end up using, you may also want to consider which leaves you picked for the project are rich in tannins.

In a nutshell, tannins will allow color, usually ranging from yellowish to brownish shades, to seep better into the fabric to produce more defined prints. Picking leaves and plants for your eco print is a fun process when making the design you envision materialize.

Now that you know how to make the iron blanket, you’ll have a more effortless and fun time laying out the design and going about the process.

 

Conclusion

The whole process for eco dyeing is no doubt long. With that being said, it’ll be worth it to go through the process for an eye-catching result.

Not that you now know how to make an iron blanket for eco-dyeing, you may already have your checklist on the things you’ll need aside from the leaves. As with every other decorative project, it’s essential to have patience. Just remember to work carefully to avoid too much cleanup for stunning results.

how to machine quilt a baby blanket

How To Machine Quilt A Baby Blanket: Basic 3-Step DIY Guide

Babies love soft things. If you’re a quilter with a little one, it’s essential to know how to machine quilt a baby blanket for them to snuggle with.

You’ll need a sewing machine, quite a few fabrics, and some patience. If all goes well, your baby will bask in the comfort of a newly quilted blanket in no time.

 

How Do You Machine Quilt A Baby Blanket?

Whether it’s your first time quilting or you need a recap, you need to invest in different fabrics for all the blanket parts.

To start, you’ll need the main fabric that will serve as the centerpiece of the blanket. Regarding measurements, the average starting size for a baby blanket is 40 to 42 inches, so you need the fabric to measure around this range.

You’ll also want a fabric for the backing or reverse side. The material will serve as a good complement for the main design or pattern. Measurements around 1 and ¼ to 1 and ½ yards should suffice.

Next is a binding fabric. This material will help hold the blanket together. You’ll need around 1/3 to ½ yard of this.

You’ll also need batting. The purpose is to ensure the blanket is soft and comfy on the inside.

Forty-two inches is a suitable measurement. Remember, the quality depends on the material, so decide what kind of batting will suit the baby. Last but not least, you’ll need pins, of course.

You might be thinking of pre-washing the fabrics before you start the project. It’s a good idea, no doubt, but many high-quality fabrics are color-safe. You won’t have to worry about pre-washing too much.

 

Step #1: Sandwich the materials

Start with the backing fabric. You probably have already noticed that its size is slightly bigger than the main fabric.

The reason for this is you start machine quilting from the blanket’s top, and everything beneath can move a bit during the process. If your backing is bigger than everything else, it won’t come off smaller than the front by mistake.

Lay the backing flat on the floor. When it’s all smoothed out, place the batting in the center. Repeat this with the main fabric.

Make sure they’re all appropriately centered. You should be able to see all three layers of this “fabric sandwich.”

From here, you can use pins to keep them in place.

 

Step #2: Stitch the layers

At this point, you can now let the machine do the work. Stitching is also the part where you get creative.

It may seem like you’re just trying to stitch the three layers together at first glance. However, the beauty of quilting comes in here as you can decide how the stitches will look on the quilt. This kind of creative control is why there are many ways to stitch a quilt.

When you’ve finished stitching, you don’t stop there. Remember the binding fabric?

 

Step #3: Bind the quilt

Binding is a rather tricky task. With a bit of patience, you’ll get the whole blanket finished and looking good.

Cut out the binding fabric into strips that measure 2 and ½ inches x the width of the blanket. Sew all the strips together by the shorter sides. Fold the result in half and press it down.

You can start pinning the binding on the blanket starting from the middle of one side. Make sure to place the binding on the front side. Start gradually pinning the binding to the side of the blanket.

When you reach a corner, stick a pin and fold the binding 45 degrees opposite the adjacent side. Fold it back into itself so that it aligns with the adjoining side and stick another pin. You should see a triangular flap on the corner.

When you reach the starting point, take both ends of the strips and fold the ends down. Don’t forget to pin both folds down.

Make sure the two ends still meet. You may want to press this part with an iron to make the folds crease.

Cut off any excess to about ¼ inch from the folds. Take off the pins, match the strips’ right sides, fasten with a pin again, and sew a seam on the crease. Open the fold, press it down, refold it, and pin it back again.

Now you can start sewing the binding in place. Start sewing with a ¼ inch allowance, removing pins as you go.

When you get to the flaps, stop when you’re ¼ inch away. Rotate the blanket and make sure the flap is in the opposite direction. Sew the next seam by the edge of the last side.

Once you’ve finished sewing, fold the binding over to the back. At this point, you’ll have to sew it to the backing by hand.

There you have it! Once you see how the blanket has turned out, you can congratulate yourself for a job well done.

 

Conclusion

Quilting sure is challenging, but who doesn’t love a challenge? It’ll be worthwhile once the lucky recipient feels nice and cozy rolling around in it. Now that you know how to machine quilt a baby blanket, your little one will be in for a treat!

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