How to Dye Silk Organza
It's mid-winter, and as usual, I'm back teaching in San Diego at the studio of my friend Cindy Dahlin. One of my students has been working on a very beautiful Valentino-inspired dress – the skirt and bodice are lavender 4-ply silk, and the upper bodice (the area that covers the shoulders and the upper chest) is lavender Alencon lace. While the lace is reasonably strong, it still needs support from an underlining. Silk organza is the perfect choice: it's lightweight yet firm, and nicely stable. And of course its transparency is key, and it really does need to match the skin tone of the wearer.
Unfortunately, bleached white and even natural white organza - both of which are easy enough to find - look milky against the skin. I used to spend hours searching for just the right shade of silk organza for a particular project. Then one day it occurred to me that it would make far more sense just to dye my own. You can use tea, or even dye that's made especially for skin tones, but I find that coffee works best. Cindy has often worked with lace that needs to be toned down from bright white, so she's accustomed to using coffee as a dye. She shared her method with my students and me.
Here's what you'll need:
1 – 1-½ c. hot water
3 heaping teaspoons of instant coffee crystals (regular or decaf)
½ tsp. of table salt
1/2 cup white vinegar
silk organza (not polyester)
Here, Cindy is holidng up the white silk organza we're starting with.
The ingredients you'll need.