Friday, January 16, 2009

Baking and Basting Fabric

Enquiring Minds want to I make my "basted and baked" fabric. So while I was having my coffee this morning and waiting for my kids 2 hour school delay, I decided to bake and baste some fabric. This all took about 3 hours. So without further ado....I'll get to how I do my fabrics.

I like to use MCG Textiles 28 ct. evenweave. (I do not like their linen! but I find their evenweave is superior - especially when you are stitching 1 over 1 on it - it's weave is nice and you don't "lose" your thread no matter how you cross your X) MCG Textiles evenweave is very reminiscent of lugana in my own personal opinion. So I go to their website and purchase 30 x 36 inch cuts for little money (cheaper than what you can buy it at Michael's or Hobby Lobby - even with the shipping!) EDITED to add almost 10 years later...(April 2017 this comment may not be true anylonger - but it is also available still at Hobby Lobby and at Amazon. This technique works on ANY linen or aida use what YOU like best!

First brew some "really strong" coffee and some "really strong" concentrated tea (little water and a big bunch of tea bags - I use 4 cups of water and 1 gallon tea bag):

I use a big stock pot and throw my fabric in (now sort of have it "wadded" up because that is what gives you the mottling if you want a mottled look) Here I'm doing a 25 ct piece of Zweigart Lugana - but I also have 5 other cuts of 28 ct. MCG evenweave that I did today too:

Pour in your tea after it is heavily steeped:

Pour in your coffee. Now a word of why I use both tea and coffee, I find that using tea alone, give the fabric an all over reddish type tint...not bad at all - but I like the deep browns that coffee also gives the fabric. I find the best (for my personal taste) is to use both coffee and tea - you have a basis of red and browns and it makes it excellent, really antique looking.

While your fabric is staining in the pot turn on your oven to 250 degrees (I live in the USA - so this means Farhenhiet - NOT Celcius). Depending on the depth (darkness) of color you want - that's how long you leave the fabric in the pot. Remember to pull the fabric out - rewad and resink in the pot so that you have different mottles all over the fabric and different depths of color throughout.

Once you reach the desired darkness, get out a cookie sheet, cover with tinfoil to protect your sheet, flop your fabric on it making sure to "wad", fold it, layer it on the sheet so that the baking process will give it a more mottled look.

But the whole shebang in the oven, wait for 15 minutes - pull it out and rearrange the fabric and put back in for another 15 minutes. Continue pulling out and rearranging the fabric until you reach the aged look your looking for - you can "baste" the fabric occassionally by lightly dribbling the stock pot "juice" over the fabric on the sheet:

 Once your fabric has achieved the look you want, I suggest rinsing it in cold water. Once that is accomplished, you take your fabric and iron it with a very hot iron to "set" the tea/coffee, bake and basted fabric. You don't have to iron until dry...just iron a minute, then hang to dry.
When you get finished - like I did today you come up with a range of colors and antique water stained looking fabric. Play around! Have fun....get aggressive! A wide range of beautiful fabrics can be yours like these below that I did today! (click the pictures to see the mottled look and the colors)

Pretty aren't they....this range of colors was all achieved with the same stock pot of coffee and tea - the only difference was "soaking" time and bake/basting time.
(EDITED TO ADD - due to many angry e-mails): This is my tutorial...I posted it for people interested in it. This is my technique and I developed it myself for my own fabric. Try it at your own risk! I get lovely fabric each and every time I do this. However I am not liable for destroyed or burned results! I believe that would be the fault of baker not the writer.


  1. Anonymous11:43 AM

    I'm the first to comment? That never happens! I'm definitely trying this sometime. My husband is the coffee drinker, so some weekend I'll get him to brew me up a big pot of dark coffee. : )
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a sweet comment. I'm glad you are sending a card to Haven. I have to get mine off today!

  2. oh how fun Vonna!!!!! Love the color variations. I will have to try this one of these days!!!!

  3. Very pretty fabrics!!!

  4. Thank you so much for this information...this looks like a wonderful way of getting "fun fabric" without paying the price of "fun fabric". It also give the overall project more of a homemade feel.


  5. Thanks for sharing! It certainly gives a nice look to your fabric.

  6. Hey, a picture is worth 1000 words. Thanks for the demo. Now I have the idea.

  7. I'm going to definitely try this as well, as soon as payday hits anyway. Thanks sooo much for the instructions, Vonna.

  8. How fun!!!
    I'm going to have to try this!!!!!!
    Thanks for the tips!!

  9. Beautiful results Vonna.

    I've done this but never tried the "basting" part. I hung mine on the line in the sun since it was summer. I really want to try some more dyeing this weekend I'll have to give the baking part a try too.

  10. Thank you Vonna! I'm sending a link to your page to my friend in Germany. She's had trouble getting hand dyed linens and evenweaves over there - they can basically only get white, ivory, and natural. This should help her a lot!

    You're a peach!

  11. Anonymous3:12 PM

    Vonna, Thanks for the demonstration. One question: Does the fabric retain the odor of the coffee or tea?

  12. Would green tea give it a greener effect? I love these instructions - I agree, it's an inexpensive way to get expensive looking fabric, and you control the results.

  13. Anonymous4:05 PM

    Looks like we were on the same page this morning...I also decided to "vintage up" some fabric today...I use hot water, a small scoop of walnut crystals, throw in the fabric, let it sit, turn it a few times, and bake in a 200 degree oven as you stated in your post. Mine is still sitting in the dye pot... You achieved a wonderful range of colour.

  14. Thank you for this tutorial. This is a great way to get a whole range of depths of colour. Will definatly be trying this.

  15. Thanks for the hints – I should definitely look into dyeing my own fabric – I hate to pay for the hand-dyed fabric, but I’m getting a little sick of Lambswool Jobelan, which I usually stitch with. I’m also glad to hear that you like the the MCG textiles evenweave – I’ve seen that at my local Hobby Lobby.

    Have a lovely weekend!

  16. I tried this myself and it's a great finish to the fabric. I love the smell of the babric as you are stitching. For me that's a bonus as I can't have coffee or tea at the moment, so I get my fix through my stitching, lol.

  17. Anonymous5:16 PM

    Thanks for the instructions! I see someone already asked, but will my fabric smell like coffee? From one Hoosier to another... BRRR!! I am 'way up in the northeast corner, and it was minus-18 this morning. I really enjoy our blog, and even signed up for the Friendship Sampler RR. Thank you!

  18. Thank you so much for the dying tips! I have always wanted to give this a try :)

  19. Very cool! Now wouldn't that be funny to serve at the dinner table....Hi honey, what's for dinner tonight? Oh...let me see 28 ct evenweave..lolololol thanks for the instructions!

  20. Thanks Vonna. I have never thought of combining the coffee & tea so will have to do so!

  21. Vonna,

    Thanks for the tutorial! You are such a good teacher:)


  22. Wow, I had no idea that you could do this! Thanks for the tutorial.

  23. What a good, informative post! Thank you! I never thought of putting coffee and tea together, but I do love the look. And, I had no idea that MCG evenweave was a good fabric to use. I appreciate that info too!

  24. Hi Vonna,

    Thank you for the wonderful
    tutorial on staining x-stitch
    fabrics. The results are
    undeniably brilliant! And the
    range of colours and mottling
    is amazing. A great project
    for the cold winter months.

    Wow, you've made a lot of
    progress on your "Lo How a
    Rose" piece. I've just
    visited Staci's blog and
    seen her progress as well.
    This is such a pretty design
    isn't it? Can't wait to see
    more of it.

    Inspiration is another fine,
    delicate design. I admire
    your resolve to stitch this
    in spite of the many colour
    changes. It really will be
    a special piece when it's
    done and hanging on the wall.
    And the colours in it are so
    cheery and Spring like, which
    is great for this dreary and
    cold time of year.

    I've been admiring Peppermint
    Twist every time I come across
    it being stitched on someone's
    blog, and a lot of stitchers
    are working on this one. It's
    very popular. Guess I'll have
    to add it to my wish list.
    It is GORGEOUS!!!

    Good for you for keeping up
    your exercise regime and
    watching your eating. Wishing
    you great success in this
    worthy endeavor.

    Hope you have a great weekend.
    It's good weather for staying
    indoors and stitching, don't
    you think???


  25. Woohoo! Thank you for sharing your technique! Now that I have the knowing I'll have to give it a try!

  26. Thanks Vonna! I would have never thought to put tea and coffee together.

  27. Very cool! Thanks for the info--and the pictures! I love the way the fabric turned out, I must give it a try on some of my plain fabrics that I haven't used because I prefer the mottled look.

  28. Very pretty! Thanks for the instructions.
    Debra in Indiana

  29. How awesome is THAT?? I never think to do stuff like that on my own, but you've given me new inspiration girl! They are so pretty!

  30. Thanks for taking the time to share your techniques ~ I and the blogging world thank you!!

  31. I have tried dying floss but not fabric yet, though I will keep your tips in mind for when I do.


  32. Wooww brilliant Vonna....thanks for sharing. I usually use Dylon dye for my hand dyed...I will definately try your method one have such a creative brain girl!!

  33. Anonymous12:57 PM

    Thank you !
    Often I heard about dying the fabric, but I didn´t know how to do that.
    Now, with your fotos it will be no problem for me and I will try to do that, too.
    For my last project I bought handdyed fabric in USA. It was wonderful but soooo expensive.
    Let´s see what I can do myself.
    Again, thank you very much!
    Liebe Grüße aus Deutschland von

  34. Holy Cow. Another thing for me try. I am in love with the way yours turned out.

    I cant wait to try this.
    Thanks Vonna

  35. That is an amazing process. I like the colours for sure.
    Thanks for sharing Vonna!

  36. Vonna, what a wonderful tutorial, fabric dyeing here I come!! Have read your blog, but this is the first I have commented. My New Years resolution - visit and comment on blogs.

    I need to try the MCG evenweave, especially if it works well for 1 over 1.

    Happy Weekend --- Roberta

  37. Great tutorial Vonna! I will have to try that sometime! :)

  38. Great instructions. Thanks for taking the time to put this together for us. I've seen you mention doing this, but couldn't quite picture what it was you did. There are so many pieces these would be perfect for, and much more affordable doing it yourself. Loved your earlier post of Peppermint Twist, it is looking beautiful. I'm doing my first BRD as well and am loving how easy it is to follow the pattern and what a fun stitch it is.

  39. They look great Vonna! I haven't tried adding tea to mine yet. will have to give it a shot! I love dying/baking my fabric, soooo much fun and very addicting!

  40. Thanks, Vonna, for the excellent tutorial. The pictures will lead me when I'll be doing my first try.

  41. Thanks for sharing, a wonderful idea! I have to give this a try.

  42. Well, that is just too cool for words. Love all thorse colors from one dye job.

  43. I have given you an award. More details on my blog.

  44. I've coloured my own fabric, but never baked it. That is a very cool. Thanks!

  45. Thanks Vonna! I always wondered how this was done. They turned out beautifully.

  46. Vonna, your fabric looks great - I've always been a bit sceptical about dying my own fabric - or maybe that should be lazy! However, you make it sound like fun! Maybe I should give it a go sometime ....

  47. Cool beans Vonna! I love how you've got such a sharing spirit! I'll have to give this a try sometime!

  48. I'll bet this works so much better than just dipping the fabric in and letting it sit. Thanks so much for the webinar!

  49. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. This is an awesome tutorial! I bet it would be great with Muslin too. This is getting added to my never ending to do list.

  50. These are great instructions, thank you for sharing. I sometimes color my own fabric but have never baked it. Must give this a try. I like this so much I linked it in my blog yesterday too.

  51. Thank you very much for the tutorial and for sharing. I tried it and my local stitching Group were impressed with the results.

  52. Thanks for the master-class!!!My name is Vyara and i'm bulgarian.

  53. Thanks for the tutorial Vonna. I'm just about to have go!

  54. Anonymous3:20 AM

    Vonna, thanks for the great tutorial. It worked just great!

  55. Thank you so much for your easy to follow instructions. I love the results you achieved and will certainly be trying it out very soon. I recently 'coffee'd' a sampler I'd stitched to age it and was happy with the results and loved the smell of coffee wafting up from the ironing board. I didn't bake it though I didn't know you could, I will do it before stitching next time ;o)

    thanks again
    Peg x

  56. I read this a long time ago, and came back this morning to get a refresher - didn't remember the oven temp. Just put a tea bag in the leftover coffee grounds and added a couple cups of water. This will go into the remaining coffee to strengthen it some. Can't wait to see the results! Thanks for all that you share!

  57. Thanks Vonna for this tutorial and Merry Christmas and Holidays for you and family.

  58. I tried this and it turned out great! Thanks for the instructions. I did find out that it's not colorfast so don't get it wet after you do this. If you have any suggestions for getting it "more permanent" let me know.

    Jennifer Janney

  59. Thank you so much Vonna!! I tried it with just tea and added a couple of Cranberry tea bags to add a little more red to it and it is beautiful! I am stitching 2 of the Little House Dear Diary patterns and it looks like a sunset and the colors of the floss look amazing against it. I am doing some more now the tea and coffee. I am going to use it for the "Hometown Holiday" series.

    Thanks Again,

  60. I dunno if my last post took so I will repost. I am new to your blog and simply love everything I have read on it thus far. Thank you for all the wonderful tutorials :) I can't wait to try this tea/coffee dying process. I was wondering if you had experimented with different types of teas to see what the color variations would be. Also, have you tried sprinkling instant coffee crystals (sparingly) over the wet fabric? I think it would work best just before ironing so it bleeds less - but I think it might add some interesting dark speckles. You can reply to me anytime, would love to chat!

  61. I love this tutorial. I've long wanted to try dying some fabric and even bought the coffee and tea but haven't made the effort yet. I'm also wondering about the smell and if the fabric is colorfast? Thanks for all your great tutorials. I'm always excited to see your newest blog post and tutorials.

  62. Just a thought what about dying a little darker than rinsing some to remove smell of coffe then do the baking...might try this.

  63. Thank you Vonna! I love how beautiful your fabrics turned out.

  64. Hi Vonna:
    I just finished dying, and I love this method! I modified by placing a few brewed teabags on the fabric while it was in the oven...the mottling effect is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks so much,

  65. Thanks Vonna! I can't wait to try this technique.
    Smiles, DianeM

  66. I read alot of your tutorials. Thanks for the ideas. I wanted my coffe dye to be scented & ran out of spices. I did however had Celestial Sesonings Cinnamon Apple Spice Tea. I threw it in while heating my coffee & its in a nicely safe pouch. It turned out smelling wonderful. I use this now wih adding cinnamon sticks & cloves.

  67. I am so loving your videos :) Learning lots of new things and I have been stitching (on and off) for more than 30+ years! Guess there is always more to learn! Since this is not a new post, I'm not sure you will get this but I have a question - can you use this same technique with RIT dyes?


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