Tutorial: How To Ice Dye


This dress is most definitely one of a kind and possibly my favourite thing I have ever made. It is a modified Named Clothing Kielo Wrap Dress made out of fabric I dyed myself. I am not an experienced fabric dyer but I am completely thrilled with the result – it is everything I was hoping for! I have been inspired by several gorgeous Kielo’s which have been posted lately by the likes of Sarah of Wanderstitch, Fiona of Diary of a Chainstitcher and Heather Lou of Closet Case Patterns. I also love all of the versions that Shauni of The Magnificent Thread has made. I wanted mine to be casual enough for me to wear it as a day dress, I don’t get out much so this needed to be wearable for a nice shopping trip or coffee date!

Firstly let’s talk about that dyeing process. I am not an experienced fabric dyer AT ALL, I have managed one tub dye before this and I wasn’t happy with the colour. For this project I chose to attempt an Ice Dye because I really wanted to create a galaxy-type effect on this starry fabric. Let’s take a minute to talk about this cool fabric, I bought it online about two years ago and it’s been sat in my stash waiting for a dye project ever since. It is a double-knit called ‘Burnout Stars’ and the cream top layer is cotton, while the grey bottom layer and stars are polyester. This means that if you use a fiber-reactive dye the cotton will take the dye but the polyester won’t be affected at all. This is my before and after:

As you can see the dye is in a patchy/galaxy pattern and this is because of the ice-dye technique I used. As I said before, I am no expert but this technique was easy and fun and I am chuffed to bits with the result – if I can do this then anyone can!

I started with one of those plastic tubs for underbed storage and put some old oven shelves on top – anything with a ‘grill’ type effect would work – the dye and water need to drip through. I then scrunched up my 3m piece of fabric and put it on top of the shelves, suspended above the tub. I then used ready-made bags of ice to completely cover over the fabric. Once the fabric was covered in ice I put on gloves and a face mask and sprinkled two packets of Dylon Navy fabric dye over the top. This was done on a cold day, in our garage so that the ice would take a long time to melt. As the ice melts, the dye powder is dissolved and spreads in a patchy way through the fabric before dripping into the tub below. Here are some photos of the process:

Once all the ice had melted I checked to see if I was happy with the fabric, there were still some patches of undissolved dye so I added more ice and left that to melt too. Once I was happy with the fabric I put it in a warm place to ‘batch’ (set the dye) for 24hrs before rinsing lots and lots until the dye stopped running. I really enjoyed the process and would probably do it again if I found another fabric I wanted to dye but I am aware that this process was not very environmentally friendly. At the time I didn’t consider how polluting the dyes were and I certainly did not realise how much water it would waste in the rinsing process. I would maybe like to try using natural dyes next but my favourite colours to wear are blue, green and yellow and all of the natural dyes I have heard of yield brownish/pinkish results. Anyone have any recommendations for me?


All in all I am totally in love with this fabric and wanted to make sure I didn’t waste it so I did make a toile of the Kielo first. This allowed me to judge if I needed to make any adjustments to the darts – I have never sewn darts in a knit fabric before – they were easy enough and I didn’t find they needed any adjustments. I also used the toile to help me decide a suitable length for me to wear as a day dress – I spend a lot of time crawling around the floor with my toddler so a maxi/midi length, whilst chic, would not get worn around here!

The only problem I did encounter at the toile stage were the straps. I had real problems with them twisting even though I tried really hard to cut them carefully. After wasting a chunk of fabric, the second pair of straps worked well when I interfaced them fully and stitched them slowly using my walking foot on the sewing machine. This was a great lesson as it meant I didn’t waste any precious dyed fabric as the straps turned out great first time.

This is my favourite way to tie it but there are loads of options with this pattern!

As I had made a successful toile I didn’t have to make any new changes during the construction of this Kielo. I knew I wanted to shorten it and add a neckband, I knew the darts were ok and how to sew the straps, so I booked in a lovely child-free sewing afternoon with my mum and had a lovely time assembling the dress without any hiccups. I was in love as soon as I tried it on and thanks to careful cutting I still have 1m of this fabric left to make a top out of!


I definitely think this is my favourite thing I have ever made, and I know that I say that every time I make something new but this time I really mean it! This is also another one of my #2018makenine ticked off so I am doing really well with that too! AND this definitely counts towards the #makeyourstash challenge as I have had the fabric for over two years! How are your 2018 plans shaping up? I would love to hear!

How I styled it on a cold day in Yorkshire!

19 thoughts on “Tutorial: How To Ice Dye

  1. It turned out beautifully. I’ve been admiring several versions of the Keilo as well, and have wondered if it’s a silhouette I’d enjoy wearing. The jury’s still out on that.

    I hear you with the natural dyes. I’d like to give it hem a try, but aesthetically I’m drawn to more saturated colors. I haven’t looked into it much yet, but I’m hopeful that there will be a way to get the rich greens and reds I envision.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Micah, I must admit to having not done much research into natural dyes yet but having enjoyed this success so much I must make it one of my goals this year to find out more!


  2. This is a triumph. The dyed material and the pattern look wonderful. Very stylish on you. I also like the way you put the jacket and dress together. Top marks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really, REALLY love this! The fabric looks absolutely beautiful and is just my style – I’m really tempted to try dying something now! I think I might make some shorter versions of the Kielo for the spring/autumn. It is definitely my most favourite pattern and I don’t see myself stopping making them anytime soon 🤣🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! The dyeing process was a lot easier and yielded way better results than I could have ever expected. I definitely want to try dyeing with more than one colour next – I’m sure if you gave it a try it would look amazing! This length is perfect for me, I was worried it would lose the ‘drama’ of the wings a bit but I’m actually really happy with the look. I’m thrilled with how ‘put together’ I look by just throwing this on so I’m definitely going to be making more!


    1. Ice dyeing was so much fun and a lot easier than I had imagined! And when the weather cools down there will definitely be more sleeved Kielo dresses in my wardrobe – one in your mustard french Terry would be so snuggly!


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