Ice dyeing outcome

In this blog I’m going to share the results of my recent ice dyeing experiments!

Check out the previous posts

1. Ice dyeing equipment & soaking
2. Ice dyeing, how to!
3. Ice dye rinsing

If you want more info, Check out my 2-page PDF which rounds up places in NZ to shop the supplies and has an easy-to-follow 1 page set of instructions for ice dyeing.

A white linen Muna and Broad Waikerie Shirt
Dyed with bubblegum, hot pink, brown rose Procion MX dyes 

In the Ice dye rinsing blog I shared which dye shades I used with each of these fabrics! I loved the look of my Waikerie Shirt so much that I went ahead and dyed my white duvet cover and some matching pillowcases for my bed. I love the results and shared them as a Reel on Instagram!

The colour took really well to my viscose knit fabric (below), but the colour combo itself doesn’t particularly speak to me (totally my own fault)! I might turn this fabric into some summery knit PJs.

You can also see the white seersucker that I dyed above. I love the way that the great texture of the seersucker continues to play on the dye. I wonder about turning this into a really dramatic dress with lots of gathering.

I think my favourite outcome came from dyeing this shirt though. Because it was already constructed, the dye pattern plays across the shirt really seamlessly, and I really like how it obscures the different pattern pieces.

You can see here how the dye continues from the yoke down to the back piece. I enjoy how it looks like I’ve really nailed pattern matching.

I’d love to experiment with some more already-constructed-clothing. Maybe socks, beanies, and some other garments which aren’t in my favourite shades!

Ice dyeing, how to!

Check out part 1 of my ice dyeing blog posts here: Ice dyeing equipment & soaking.

After soaking my fabrics for 20-minutes (more info on that here), I cracked on with the next steps!

Set up the equipment

It helped to have everything set up so that once the soaking was done, I was ready to go.

The corrugated cardboard collars needed to be taped to stay in its circular form and it would have been more useful if I had cut them higher so that they acted as a barrier for even more ice.

I used 1 bag of ice, which I had crushed on the ground (still in the bag) to separate the ice cubes as much as possible. I could/should have used more to totally cover the fabrics. If you sprinkle the powdered dye directly onto the fabric then you get powder dye spots rather than the renaissance cloud texture of the ice dye.

Want easy to follow step-by-step instructions?

Check out my 2-page PDF which includes 1 pages of easy to follow instructions.

Note: I did not use gloves for any step because I’m a rebel, but the inside of my fingernails are still showing the dye colours… You should also use a mask while handling the dye powder.

The fun part: dyeing

Of course, the best part of this project is sprinkling the Procion MX powdered dye onto the ice!

Wearing a mask, sprinkle your Procion PX dye over the ice with a spoon. You can add multiple colours, but remember that neighbouring colours will blend together as they melt. That may or may not make colours that you enjoy.

Keep your colour-theory in mind when choosing colours to put onto the same fabric, as the blending of your colours could give you muddy browns which might not be what you were aiming for.

Colour splitting with the dye powder

Once of the luck-of-the-draw things about ice dyeing is the colour split that happens! You can see in the pictures below that there are spots of yellow and blue and pinks and burgundy- this is from a selection of colours that were all pinks and warm blacks and browns. Basically, each powdered dye is made up of lots of other colours of powder, and within a burgundy dye pot you might get specks of yellow and blue and other colours (you know, because of that whole primary colours making other colours thing)!

So, although I guessed some colour combos that I thought would be nice together, it was also quite nice to watch those sub-colours popping out as the dyes split. I think this happened more when the powder touched the fabric directly (instead of melting with the ice), so you can lean into it if you would like.

Time to wait!

Then you need to wait patiently for your ice to melt. Keep your ice out of the sun though as having it melt too quickly can change affect your results! I waited overnight for my ice to melt and came back the following morning to take the next steps- stay tuned!

Skip ahead?

Check out my 2-page PDF which rounds up places in NZ to purchase sodium carbonate and where in NZ sells the cheapest Procion MX dyes and also includes easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions!

Ice dye rinsing

This post will cover off the rinsing and final wash of your fabric, after the ice has melted.

Check out the previous posts

1. Ice dyeing equipment & soaking
2. Ice dyeing, how to!

If you want more info, Check out my 2-page PDF which rounds up places in NZ to shop the supplies and has an easy-to-follow 1 page set of instructions for ice dyeing.

Colours used

The Procion MX dyes come in a wide variety of colours, and I’ve been slowly purchasing different colours as I spotted them on sale during the year. I used different dyes for the 3 different buckets that I set up:

Waikerie Shirt: bubblegum, hot pink, brown rose

Seersucker: magenta, burgundy, chocolate brown, warm black

Viscose Knit: pale aqua, aquamarine, hot pink, emerald

You can see below how the colours split- the blue and yellow spots came from my Waikerie Shirt bucket which was 3 different shades of pink!

Rinse & wash

Once your ice has melted, rinse in cold water till the water runs clear. Jacquard, the company who makes the Procion MX dyes, recommends rinsing in increasingly warm water until it’s as hot as you can stand. Then you want to wash in the washing machine on a hot cycle. You can use a product like Synthrapol or other soap meant for dyeing (I recommend different products in my 2-page PDF on ice dyeing).

Although there wasn’t many white-spots on the fabric after the ice had melted, after the rinsing and the wash, a lot of the excess colour had washed out and had left me with some nice undyed sections, which I’m pleased about.

Want to do your own dyeing?

Check out my 2-page PDF which rounds up places in NZ to purchase sodium carbonate and the Procion MX dyes at the cheapest price. There’s also a 1 page document with step-by-step instructions- great for printing out and following along with whole you’re dyeing!

Ice dyeing equipment

Is Ice dyeing the perfect summer project? I’ve been planning to give it a whirl for a while, and I finally bit the bullet, after spending quite a bit of time researching! I settled on a method of dyeing that works on natural-fibre fabrics, since that’s what I sew and wear!

Over the next week-or-so there’ll be some blog posts popping up which will show the process behind the ice dyeing, but I’ve also put together a 2-page PDF which is available here!

How-to Ice-dye PDF

My pay-what-you-want PDF download steps you through ice dyeing natural-fibre fabrics using Procion MX dyes.

There’s 1 page of step-by-step instructions and handy tips and the 2nd page lists NZ-based suppliers for the Procion MX powdered dye and the soda ash/sodium carbonate who stock the products for much cheaper than at your big-box-sewing-stores.

The ingredients

  • Procion MX dyes. These are powdered dyes which work with natural fibres.
  • Soda ash/sodium carbonate (10g per litre of water)
  • Water
  • Ice

Soda ash solution

You can save the soaking water with the soda ash/sodium carbonate and reuse it. Next time I will put mine into a strong lidded bucket and keep it on hand.

Where to buy Soda ash in NZ?

Check out my 2-page PDF which rounds up places in NZ to purchase sodium carbonate and where in NZ sells the cheapest Procion MX dyes!


I basically used what I had on hand, but had also purchased some extra cake racks for the project!


You’re going to want some kind of rack that allows the water from the melting ice to drip away and not pool under your fabric.


I used these tall buckets because they’re what I had, but also because they gave me the room to pop some old torn cotton sheets below to catch the colourful drips (more on that later). I suppose you could just let it drip onto your lawn?


You probably also want some spoons you don’t love for sprinkling the dye on the ice. I used a kitchen spoon because I’m a rebel.

Optional cardboard rings

The corrugated cardboard & tape wraps around your fabric and helps you to pile high your ice and have it stop falling off. Next time I would make my cardboard a bit wider so that it held more ice.


I dyed cotton seersucker fabric, a white linen Waikerie Shirt and viscose/spandex knit. These were all pre-washed.

Preparing your fabrics

NB you should wear gloves and a mask when working with the soda ash and the procion powdered dye, basically because if you inhale it often then it’s not good.


There’s all kinds of info about washing your fabrics in something like synthrapol before soaking them in the soda ash. I did not. All of my fabrics had previously been pre-washed in the natural, low-ph, enzyme free washing powder (which is just what I always use to extend the life of my me-made clothes). So, I skipped any additional washing and I jumped straight to soaking in soda ash.

I filled a big bucket with water (which I guessed was enough to cover all the fabrics). The inside of the bucket indicated the number of litres so I added the soda ash according to the ratio 10g of soda ash per litre of water or approx 1 cup per 3.79L of water.

Stir to dissolve the soda ash (use gloves), and then pop your fabric in for 20-minutes. Gently squeeze out excess liquid, crumple into a ball and then move to the next stage.

Note: You can save soda ash solution for use over and over again if you intend to do lots of ice dyeing.

Stay tuned

Keep an eye out for the next installment, which will step you through the dyeing and rinsing process!

Roundup of roundups

Hello lovely ChCh sews makers! It’s the perfect time of the year for roundups of roundups!

Below are some links to my previous blog posts which feature giftable sewing projects- lots of inspiration and plenty of fodder for scrolling!

Free giftable pattern roundups

Other giftable pattern roundups

Some of the patterns in these roundups are free, some are not!

Giftable Projects

I’m on a sewing roundup kick and today I’ve got some more giftable sewing patterns… All of these would also make great self-gifts (that’s where you just make them for yourself…. my favourite kind of gifting)!

“The Garden at Bougival” by Berthe Morisot

The Apreon

This cross-back apron comes in Small Child (3-8yrs), Smaller Adult, and the usual Muna and Broad size range (up to 71.5″ hip)

“Villa with Orange Trees, Nice” by Berthe Morisot

Roll Top Fanny Pack

This Roll Top Fanny Pack from Proper Fit Clothing has lots of thoughtful details. If I’d found it earlier, I might have included it in my Sewing for the outdoors pattern roundup.

“The Garden at Bougival” by Berthe Morisot

A dressing gown

Perfect in a variety of fabrics, and with free enough sizing that it’s possible to take a punt on a size that’s close enough for someone, a dressing gown in gorgeous fabric makes for a luxurious gift!

“Villa with Orange Trees, Nice” by Berthe Morisot

** Both M&B and TFS will grade their patterns up if their size range is too small to include you.

Guro bag

The Guro back from Melilot Patterns looks like a bag that would start conversations on the street!

The gift of sleepwear

How much do you like this person? If it’s A LOT, or if it’s you, then perhaps some PJs?

Find the roundup of PJs here!


A great use for leftover linen from projects, this tutorial steps you through fancy mitred corner napkins!

Sun hats

Perhaps at another time in the year there can be a roundup of hats to keep you warm, but for now, here’s some hats to keep you sun smart.

Remember- no hat, no play!

Pet hoodie

Who wouldn’t want a hoodie for their dog?

Want more roundups?

Check out the ‘Roundup of roundups‘ post that lists all the posts on the blog that include giftable projects!

Free simple zipper pouches

I’m love a cute little zipper bag, and this free tutorial steps you through sewing up a fully-lined zipper pouch

Want to get printing?

Email your PDF pattern files through to to get started. A0 printing is $6 per sheet and A4 from $.15 per page

Free giftable projects

It’s that time of year where I feel a need to compile lists of projects that I’ll likely never sew… But maybe I will!

Here are 12 free sewing patterns or free sewing tutorials which will leave you with a giftable product at the end! You can even gift them to yourself…

Free bucket hat pattern from Liam by Ruby

Wine tote

Perfect for summer picnics, the ChCh sews wine tote!

Free tote bag from Mood Sewciety

Free Lil’ pouch sewing pattern from Liam by Ruby

This is part of their series of scrapbusting patterns which are perfect for your fabric leftovers.

Free tutorial for reusable makeup remover squares

Scrap busting and also a sustainably minded gift? What could be better or easier!

The free Pear Pouch from Sarah Kirsten

Free mini fabric basket tutorial

Free soup bowl cosy tutorial

I have 2 of these and I’m surprised by the amount of use that they get! Even if I’m eating at the table, I use my cosy to protect my fingers on the way to the table!

“Villa with Orange Trees, Nice” by Berthe Morisot

Free Storage Boxes

Store your fabric in fabric with this free storage boxes tutorial from The Fabric Store.

“The Garden at Bougival” by Berthe Morisot

Felt bag organiser from Mood Sewciety

Pie carrier

Need to transport food this summer? The ChCh sews pie carrier bag could be for you!

Want to get printing?

Email your PDF pattern files through to to get started. A0 printing is $6 per sheet and A4 from $.15 per page

Sewing for the outdoors

You can love an indoor pursuit like sewing and also enjoy the great outdoors. But, you can also be an inside cat and sew for the folks in your life who love the outdoors! Are there some goodies in here that are perfect for gifting? Absolutely!

There’s a mix of free and paid patterns in here- if they’re free, it’s specifically stated!

Downpour Drybags

This drybag pattern from Sew Outdoors comes with 10 different sizes of dry bags!

This relatively new sewing pattern company even makes some great suggestions here on what outdoor accoutrements will fit into each size bag.

“The Garden at Bougival” by Berthe Morisot

Wood Carrier

This Wood Carrier Pattern from Noodlehead looks like a very straightforward pattern where you can sink your teeth into hefty fabrics and webbings.

“Villa with Orange Trees, Nice” by Berthe Morisot

Cycling Hat

This free tutorial steps you through sewing a cycling hat


Are you (or are they) the kind of outdoors person who appreciates activewear? Checkout the roundup of Activewear Sewing Patterns on the blog, which also includes a list of some places where you can buy activewear and outdoors fabric in NZ.

The Stitchback LP

The Stitchback LP looks super outdoorsy but also looks like the kind of pattern which is just asking to be made from primary colours!

“The Garden at Bougival” by Berthe Morisot

Fanny Pack

This free fanny pack comes from Bike Packing comes with pattern pieces for easy cutting out!

“Villa with Orange Trees, Nice” by Berthe Morisot

Camping Hammock

Pretty high up on the things I’d never though one could sew for themselves… is this free tutorial for a DIY camping hammock

“The Garden at Bougival” by Berthe Morisot

Stitchback Chalk Bag

The Stitchback Chalk Bag is intended for climbing dust… but I see it and think ‘snacks’! Fill it full of dog treats for walkies, or snacks for yourself!

“Villa with Orange Trees, Nice” by Berthe Morisot

Running Armband Pocket

Grab the free running armband pocket from Fehr Trade!

“The Garden at Bougival” by Berthe Morisot

Woodhaven Apron

The Woodhaven Apron from Thread Theory has lots of different options, including all the pocket shapes that bring the look of serious workwear.

Comfortable, yet rugged.

“Villa with Orange Trees, Nice” by Berthe Morisot

Helen’s Closet has a free apron pattern which you can access here.


This Balaclava pattern from Grasser (one of several different pattern options)

Camp Ditty Bag

This free Camp Ditty Bag Pattern gave such a goreous final product that it didn’t really matter that I had no idea what a ditty bag was for!

Apparently it’s a small bag for your personal effects and important bits (like if you’re a scout), and the idea is that you keep things in one place close at hand.

“The Garden at Bougival” by Berthe Morisot

Trail wallet

This free trail wallet pattern is designed for carrying only the essentials!

“Villa with Orange Trees, Nice” by Berthe Morisot

Want to get printing?

Email your PDF pattern files through to to get started. A0 printing is $6 per sheet and A4 from $.15 per page

Backpack rain cover

In the spirit of giftable items, here’s a project that I made a little while ago, but which has taken some time to make it onto the blog as a tutorial…

A waterproof backpack cover that’s great for rainy days cycling or hiking but which also has reflective tape which makes it extra handy for evening safety!


  • Waterproof fabric (like ripstop) I used 1m but it depends on your bag measurements
  • Round elastic, to thread through casing
  • Toggle to fit elastic
  • Reflective tape, enough to extend past the edges of your bag

I used fluro ripstop and I sewed on the reflective tape and didn’t bother doing anything to seal the back to make it super waterproof. I based the construction on this pack cover, which I snuck into the store and looked at, in person.

The piece of fabric that I cut out, ended up looking like this. I basically made sure the backpack was as full of stuff as it ever would be, and then I measured the length, depth, height, etc. all round. Basically, I wanted to create a shape that would kind of mirror the backpack, and leave enough for me to fold over the hem to add elastic to.

Below, the red dots indicate the top and bottom extremities of the bag, with the 16″ being the top and the 22″ being the length of the sides (ish)

I did make a toile to make sure that it fit, by cutting fabric out according to the scheme and sewing up the 4 sides (no proper finishing). I decided that I was happy with that, so cut into my ripstop fabric. I actually just serged the 4 corner parts together (with my matching fluro overlocking thread) and then I turned back a hem, then folded that under and used the overlocker (with the blade still engaged) to basically cut and re-attach the hem as a casing.

That sounds confusing to explain, but I had the bag on the table, right side facing down. I folded back the hem (so the hem was facing me), and then I flipped that underneath, so that it was facing the right side. This meant that when I was overlocking, I was feeding 3 layers in, overlocking the edge where the red overlocked section is above.

This made a casing where I threaded through some round elastic/stretchy cord, which I threaded through a toggle and then knotted and burnt to seal off.

Before threading the elastic through though, I sewed on the high-vis reflective tape (that stuff is strangely expensive). I had intended to leave the middle part open so that a bike light could be slotted right there for peak visibility, but I was informed that that was unnecessary. Stick on tape could have been an interesting thing to try out (but would have made it harder to leave a loop open for the theoretical bike light.


This cover is now over a year-and-a-half old and it’s held up well to use during the rain and also during the colder months when the sun sets early (the reflective tape makes it extra safe at night), although it could do with a wash after getting a bit grubby from gross wet days cycling on the mucky road.

Where to shop fabric

Bags to sew

It’s the time of the year where I start to think about sewing projects for other people! So, in honour of that, here’s 10 bag patterns or free tutorials for you!

“The Garden at Bougival” by Berthe Morisot

The Buckley Tote from Elbe Textiles

At $5, this bag is a bargain! Fully-lined with internal pockets, the great instructions make this perfect for a confident beginner.

“Villa with Orange Trees, Nice” by Berthe Morisot

Le Sac Banane

A riff on the classic bumbag,

“The Garden at Bougival” by Berthe Morisot

The Portside Travel Set

Who can be mad at a matching travel set?

“Villa with Orange Trees, Nice” by Berthe Morisot

Free wrap pocket tote tutorial

This simple tote pattern uses bias tape to add a colourful edge around the bag

“The Garden at Bougival” by Berthe Morisot

The Sandhill Sling

This cute sling bag is perfect for the daily commute or as a tidy travel bag.

“Villa with Orange Trees, Nice” by Berthe Morisot

Want to get printing?

Email your PDF pattern files through to to get started. A0 printing is $6 per sheet and A4 from $.15 per page