weekend links and tips on how to tea stain fabric

Hello friends!

Are you up to your eyeballs in end-of-the-year activities too? Now that S is in the equivalent of middle school, her schedule is a little different than in previous years, but we’re still rushing around for dance rehearsals and performances, final exams, presentations, etc. I’m just so grateful S is also becoming more independent, or I wouldn’t have any time to finish sewing the fall patterns for our upcoming photo shoot!

Yesterday afternoon, in addition to sewing a sample (and photographing it for a sew-along), I tea stained some linen to match a beautiful lace trim I found the other day. Have you tried tea staining? I actually used coffee, which has always given me good results. I’m delighted with the color: a perfect match! I can’t wait to sew it up and show you when we introduce the patterns in a few more months.

how to tea stain fabric

There are a couple of tricks to keep in mind if want to try tea staining or coffee staining fabric.

  • First, be sure to soak your fabric beforehand. This will help the dye to be absorbed more evenly and will help to prevent darker spots from developing on the fabric.
  • Start with hot water and a big pot (big enough for your fabric to move around easily), and use less tea or coffee than you think you’ll need. You can always add more color as needed. I brewed a very weak cup of coffee in the French press and added about a half of a cup to my pot of boiling water. I added more coffee once I could see that the color needed to be darker.
  • Aim for a slightly darker shade than you want since the color will lighten as it dries. (I also wetted the lace trim I wanted it to match so it was easier to compare the two.)
  • Keep in mind that natural fibers will dye differently than manufactured fibers. Some manufactured fibers may not dye easily or at all, so be prepared to experiment a bit.
  • And here’s a rather odd tip: I don’t rinse the fabric once I achieve the color I want. Instead, I squeeze out the extra water and then toss the fabric into the dryer to set the color. It also helps to iron the fabric, since heat sets the “stain,” as it were. The color may still lighten a bit over time, but it should be maintained pretty well.

Do you have any tips to add?

Pinterest Picks

Here are two cute dress ideas for girls. I’d love to play with the tie idea, below left, which would be so much fun. And S is totally in love with the sailor dress on the right. We might have found a project to play with this summer. (You could make both of these styles with the Building Block Dress book, which I think we’ll have to do.)

Liesl's Pinterest picks for Jun 8
pinterest link and pinterest link

I’m holding onto a herringbone shirting that just begs to be made into Lisette B6567 and worn like the tunic, below left. And how cute is this reverse stripe dress on the right, which you could easily make using our Liesl + Co. Cinema Dress (or the Oliver + S Hide-and-Seek Dress if you’re sewing for a younger girl)?

Liesl's Pinterest picks for Jun 8
pinterest link and pinterest link

Speaking of stripes, isn’t this woven texture, below left, wonderful? I also love the way the yoke on the right is pieced.

Liesl's Pinterest picks for Jun 8
pinterest link and pinterest link

To me, monochromatic texture looks so, so luxurious. Oh, and that coat on the right reminds me of Lisette for Butterick B6244. (Goodness, is it really cool enough here that I’m still thinking about coats? Answer: yes. Where are you, summer?)

Liesl's Pinterest picks for Jun 8
pinterest link and pinterest link

If you’re still looking for Liesl + Co. Terrace Dress inspiration for this summer, here for two more ideas. Seriously, I can’t wait for some warm weather!

Liesl's Pinterest picks for Jun 8
pinterest link and pinterest link


Weekend Reading

  • Here’s an interesting way to use leftover fabric scraps and discarded clothing: make art!
  • I’m quite excited to see the Unraveled show at the Museum at FIT when we’re back in New York this summer. Have you seen it, by chance? (And what about Heavenly Bodies? It sounds like it will take me three days to see it!)
  • The Alexander McQueen documentary opens today, and I’d really like to see it.
  • I love this.
  • Have you ever wondered how Madeleine came to be? (And have you ever been to Bemelman’s Bar in NYC, with the wonderful mural painted by the author?)
  • I can’t remember who sent me this one (sorry!), but this article about the history of Prussian Blue is quite interesting.
  • I hope the New York Times does more in-depth looks at clothing like this. How wonderful to see it up close, with such attention to detail.

We’ll be back next week, and we’ll be announcing dates for our upcoming Extra-Sharp Pencil Skirt sew-along, so get ready! It’s going to be a lot of fun. Have a great weekend!




  1. Thank you for the hints about tea-staining!! I want to make a tote bag out of rope, but the rope my husband bought for me is too light for what I have in mind. I was thinking about tea-staining it, and ta da! Here are some tips on doing it well!

  2. Liz

    Liesl, just posting this for you and your readers in case you haven’t heard it. Thought of you and your weekend links. Enjoy! FutureProofing – Fashion – @bbcradio4 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b3d42q

Post a comment