Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I had quite of lot of low-value fabrics in the stash, but they were old-fashioned prints and I wanted modern, so I went to the Birmingham UK Quilt Show (billed as the largest quilt show in Europe) specifically to buy low-value fabrics. We call them peely-wally fabrics here in Scotland. I was hyper as soon as I got in as the first stall was a triple stall of Liberty fabrics including their new patchwork range. Seconds later I had these.

Next stall I met was a German stall with an extremely pleasant German lady. It was her first time at Birmingham, we had a little chat about her fabrics and it would have been rude not to buy anything. These are a few. Is the second one low-value enough?

After an interval to calm down and wander round the trade stalls, I found one of my favourite Batik sellers. There might a possible low-value one here.

I finished up with far more than this, but not a lot of peely-wally fabrics - one, two?
Back home I was bleaching mildew from the shower curtain and put this ugly in with it. It was in the bleaching solution for easily two hours. Now if I get a tiny spot of bleach on my blouse it is white within seconds. Sadly I know this. It did improve it quite considerably.

I tried a bundle from the horribles box in a fairly concentrated solution of bleach and got these excellent results. (Some fabrics didn't change very much at all). I was especially pleased with the two below and I liked the way the check went blurred.

This was the best of the lot, transformation from brash to quite usable.

So I've now got a few fabrics, and funnily enough, in my stash there appeared a lot more.
I'm starting a little wall-hanging. It will include this.

More later.


Chris said...

So interesting! Thanks so much for showing the effects of bleaching our uglies - trash to treasure! Can't wait to see your creation!

janequiltsslowly said...

I love your shopping trip photos! Happens to me all the time, go in looking for one thing and come out with the complete opposite. Your purchases are beautiful. Looking forward to seeing the low volume piece. Hmm, bleaching uglies looks like a possibility.

Helen said...

I wonder if I could bleach out some of the too dark scraps I've already sewn in my blocks. I love the softer effects you got with check!

bohemiannie! art said...

I love what you bought!!! But even more...I love your altered fabric. So inspiring and the wall hanging is awesome as is. You don't have to do another thing to it!

sewyouquilt2 said...

isnt it great that we can use fabric fronts, fabric backs or altered fabric? tell that to hubbies as excuses to buy more! LOL But hubby, I can use this SO many ways, LOL looking great!

Victoria Findlay Wolfe said...

Great idea!!! love it!

lmno said...

I have a caution for you. These fabrics that you bleach can rot if the process is not neutralized. I know this sounds crazy, but I left a dishrag overnight in a diluted bleach solution and after about 10 hours it disintegrated. Just concerned for your finished products. I am searching the web for the chemical that does this.

lmno said...

Me again. Please excuse the long post. No affiliation.
Anti-Chlor, a small amount is required.
Bleach Stop, a larger quantity.
3% Hydrogen Peroxide
This website said please do not use vinegar to neutralize:
Experienced dyers agree that the effects of unneutralized chlorine bleach discharge are deadly to fabric. Some residue of the hypochlorite remains in the fabric even after washing, later resulting in holes or thin spots wherever bleach was applied. Fabric that looks fine after bleaching may be in rags a few weeks later.

Use one whole ounce by weight (30 grams) of Bleach-Stop (sodium thiosulfate) per gallon of warm water, or a pound and a quarter for a twenty-gallon washing machine load. Expensive. A bucket, cost per gallon of bleach neutralizing bath, 25¢. Not too expensive.

Anti-chlor. One teaspoon, or 2.2 grams (sodium metabisulfite) per 2.5 gallons of water, or less than half a teaspoon per gallon of water. That works out to 18 grams per twenty-gallon washing machine load.
Buy whichever one your dye supplier sells, and be careful to use no less than their instructions say to. Rinse your garments in water quickly before neutralizing. ALWAYS fill your bucket or washing machine with rinse water to do this BEFORE you start to apply bleach to your fabric.

3% hydrogen peroxide. Good results by pouring half a bottle over a project; at $.79 per bottle, about 40¢ per use. Left shirt in the bleach a long time to get the design. It never did develop any holes in the bleached part over hundreds of washings.

Neutralize after using a reductive discharge such as Thiox?
No. Neutralize after using chlorine (hypochlorite) bleach, but not after using reductive discharges such as Thiox, Formosul, or Rit Color Remover. Only wash reductive discharge chemicals out with water. Any residual bisulfite or thiosulfate will react with the oxygen in the air and be safely destroyed.

Many bleach neutralizers are non-toxic, but you should still make sure to carefully follow instructions and store products out of reach of children or animals.

sheila 77 said...

Thanks, Imno. I rinse the fabrics very well in cold water after bleaching and then wash them in the washing machine at 40 degrees C with soap powder. I have some bleached fabrics which are still perfectly fine after ten years.