March is here, and that means it’s time for a new mini-embroidery pattern to turn into a hexie for the Mini-Quilt stitch-along! I have prepared a darling little teabag for you, because after all, what’s a tea party without the tea? So let me pour you a cup of steaming jasmine and stay a bit while I tell you how to tea-dye fabric for your embroidery. If you’re new here and you’d like to join in on the fun, you can read this post to see what the project’s all about, and sign-up to my newsletter here to receive the mini patterns straight in your inbox each month!
When I first started this design, I thought it would be really neat to add a touch of something that wasn’t thread to make it stand out a bit, while still matching the rest of the project. So far, I’ve been embroidering my montly patterns on cotton muslin in an off-white/beige colour. The fabric is a wee bit thick for EPP, so I decided to switch it up this month. I didn’t have other fabric in a similar colour that would be suitable, so I decided to experiment with a little tea-dye! What could be more fitting? 😉
How to Tea-Dye Your Fabric
The process is honestly really simple. However, different fabrics might react differently so it’s a good idea to do a test on a piece of scrap first. I’m using a white cotton blend from my stash of scrap muslins…not 100% sure as to its exact fibers, but any cotton/linen blends will likely work. Even if there’s some polyester or other man-made fiber in it, it should be fine (I know mine wasn’t 100% natural).
First, you’ll want to boil the water for the tea. Depending on the size of your piece of fabric, you may need a lot. If you’re just wanting to dye a small piece, such as for the Jasmine Teabag embroidery, a teapot-size amount of water will be sufficient.
Next, pour the boiled water over a teabag or two, either in a teapot or in a big pot (I wanted to drink a cup while I was at it, so teapot it was!). If you want get that old-timey, classic tea-stained browned look, you’ll want to use a strong black tea. Orange pekoe or Earl Grey are great for this, but other black tea blends can also work. The more tea or teabags you add, the stronger the tea, and the darker the stain will be. I used only 1 teabag since my piece of fabric was very small.
Let It Steep!
Let the tea steep for a good half-hour, if not more, until it’s very dark. Add your fabric to the pot once it’s cooled down, or pour the tea in a different container over the fabric. I just used an old tupperware, with the tea completely cold. Make sure that your fabric is fully submerged, and leave it to soak for several hours. You can stir it from time to time, to make sure it will be evenly dyed. I didn’t leave the teabags in while doing this, but you probably could!
When the fabric is looking nice and stained, wring it out gently and set it out to dry. I just placed mine on a soft towel. When it’s alsmot dry but still a little damp, give it a press with the iron to remove the wrinkles and help set the dye.
Fabric is now ready to be embroidered on 😊. Mine was still see-through enough to transfer the embroidery pattern with a lightbox and pencil no problem. Certain spots are still a bit white and it’s not fully even, but that’s the fun with tea-dyeing, and exactly the look I was going for.
Note: I haven’t tested the colourfastness of this method, so it might not be suitable for pieces that are going to be repeatedly washed. For the purposes of this embroidery project, or any embroidery you don’t plan on washing, it works great.
Jasmine Teabag Pattern
I’m calling this a “jasmine” teabag, even though I don’t think jasmine flowers have a purple center…but for this tea party, they do! You can of course, personalize your tea bag and embroider whatever tea motif you’d like. The jasmine was my inspiration simply because I wanted a floral motif somewhere on the design, and it was the first one I thought of that has to do with tea. Chamomile would have also looked really cute, but I love the scent and colour of jasmine for this time of year.
Pale green, flavourful, reminiscent of budding tree leaves…It just feels like a very “spring” tea! Although I’d go for a cup of Earl Grey anytime, and I do love my chamomile in the evening.
Do you have a favourite kind of tea? What sort of lovely things would you include if you hosted your dream tea party?
I hope you enjoyed this post dear friend, and you’ll find the embroidery pattern waiting in your inbox tonight at 7pm EST if you’re a newsletter subscriber. If you’d like to sign-up, you can click the link here! Stitch & thread recommendations are included with the pattern, and I’ve got all the stitch tutorials you need here on the blog if you get stuck.
It’s a really simple little embroidery, but don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions! Follow on Instagram for more embroidery content if you fancy. 🙂