Behind The Scenes: New Hand-Dyed Silk & Organza From Mary Jo Hiney

After seeing hand-dyed fabrics and ribbons starting to trend, we went on a hunt for the best new hand-dyed silk and organza we could find. During our prowl for light and airy beautifulness we found Mary Jo Hiney, who hand-dyes beautiful fabrics and even agreed to make an exclusive color just for us! We thought it might be interesting to share the story of how these beautiful fabrics are hand-dyed by the wonderful Mary Jo Hiney before they are shipped our way.

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The silk ribbon arrives in skeins containing yards and yards of yards of goods that can potentially become really tangled!  You’d think there should be some kind of high tech process to prepare the ribbon for dyeing, but there isn’t!  Once unwrapped, the ribbon must be pressed with an iron and wrapped on a dyeing board.

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The silk organza is torn and folded so it can eventually be immersed in a tub of water.  A constant source of frustration with the organza is the never-ending unraveling of the torn goods.  I’m often unwrapping myself and others from these fibers!

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While the ribbons and organza strips soak in water, I prepare the dye batches.  You can see my recipe cards are well used and my tools are pretty basic.  I’ve developed 45 beautiful colors of hand-dyed ribbons and silk fabrics.  Each of those colors contains four mixed shades of dye and each mixture can contain as many as five shades of dye.  They are quite complex. 

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Once the dye is applied, for both the ribbon and organza, there’s a blending process required.  Blend too much and distinct mixtures will all mesh into one.  Blend too little and white space will remain.  Additionally, the different ribbons and silks take on the dye differently.  Not only is the dyeing process physically challenging, it’s also mentally challenging. 

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Now the dyed goods need to dry.  If the weather is sunny, I’m in luck, as the organza can be hung outside in our tiny backyard. If not, it stays indoors to dry and possibly drip overnight.  The ribbon cannot be dried in the sun.

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I could, at this point, be irresponsible and sell the ribbon and organza without setting them, which would be much easier!   But they must be set and washed and rinsed until the water runs as clear as possible.  Those pesky strands will continue to haunt while setting, rinsing and wringing.  Looks like a mess, doesn’t it? Good thing I like to iron.

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Hard to believe how beautifully the organza presses out.  When pressed, the organza feels soft and crisp at the same time. Yummy describes it perfectly.  Each piece is unique, no two are alike.  And the same is true for the ribbon.

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Once pressed, the organza is rolled onto paper, then tagged with a special label I created for Afloral.com.  The ribbon is carded, also with a special Afloral.com label.  The ribbon end is cut diagonally so they won’t unravel. 

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So pretty!!! 

Ta Da

We hope you are as in love with these fabrics as we are! Thank you Mary Jo Hiney for sharing your process in hand-dying these beauties for us, and ensuring our customers are getting nothing but the best! Don’t see the color you’re looking for on our site? Check out Mary Jo Hiney’s website for a wider selection of colors.

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