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Tea stain a quilt?


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Have you every tea stained an entire quilt AFTER it was put together?

I am working on an Amish Lone Star queen/king size. The colors are hunter green, navy blue and burgandy with a white on cream color background. I have used Kona fabrics and a the background is an rjr. I wish the background color had been a richer tan or a darker cream. Once the top is together can it be tea stained?

I will post some photos before I stain it to get your input. I have tea stained fabric but not a whole quilt.

Thanks for your comments.

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Hi Penny,

Tea-staining is a great technique to soften the colors.

Before you stain the whole thing, just treat a piece of the cream fabric to see what happens. With a white-on-cream, the painted white part will not pick up the dye so you may end up with a darker cream, but the contrasting white paint on top may be too white. Or darkening the cream and the white contrasting may be just what you are looking for. Please show before and after so we can see how you fared.

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I think that you need to be sure that all of the fabrics in the quilt have been pre-washed, the sizing and other chemicals will block the dyes. Also these fabrics aren't made to be dyed as they already are so sometimes the color might not take too well. There are so many variables! As with coloring on fabric with crayons I find that the cheaper(less expensive) brands work better.

I would definitely try it on a small piece first!

You could add applique or thread painting to the light background areas to tone it down a bit.

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You can actually buy a RITS dye that is a tea stain.... should be able to find it in any fabric shop like JoAnns or Hancock's...some LQS have it and even some grocery stores.

It too will get lighter with time and washing, but not as fast as if you used actual tea...that comes out in just a few washings, and the UV rays also lighten tea stain.

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Hi Penny!

Years ago, I did a lot of "shows" with my dolls, etc. For display I had purchased 3 DWR quilts from Wally world. (Cheap stuff) They were very pretty as they were, but because everything I did (at that time) had the "tea stained" look I decided to make them look antique.

I filled the washer with hot water and threw 'em in! I used the Rit Tan Dye. We had a big back yard then and when they came out I just hung them to dry... At the shows people would always comment on my "antique" quilts! LOL

Yes, over time they have faded but still have that "old" look to them.

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I used RIT tea stain on a quilt, and as long as you are aware that it will stain ALL the colors, you can give it a shot. Since your colors are dark, you may not get a bad result. I had some lighter colors in my quilt, and they came out kind of muddy in some areas. If you have scraps of the other colors, you may want to try it on those before you do the whole quilt just to make sure you are going to get results you are happy with.

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  • 7 years later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Penny If I were going to use any type of dye I would do a couple of quilt sandwiches I could test with. Here is a sample of over dyeing i did. I stitched some improve log cabins from different fiber content fabric, Mostly natural fibers. those are the cream ones and then cut it apart and over dyed it with a proc-ion dye The fibers take on the color differently. but what you are doing it will absorb it the same, You could use a diluted version of this and get an interesting effect from it. I look forward to seeing your before and after pictures and see what you decide to do.

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