UA-59651954-28 Crafty Allie: How to Create Faux Vintage Fabric

Monday, April 7, 2014

How to Create Faux Vintage Fabric

Hello Crafty Allie readers! I'm Amber from Apples to Applique, and I am so excited to be here with you today! I am a wife, mom, and teacher with a serious crafty gene. I love to cook, sew, knit, crochet, and pretty much everything DIY. I am also passionate about   teaching. My blog is full of recipes, tutorials, and educational resources reflecting these loves of mine.

Today I want to share a fun technique with you for transforming fabric to have a "vintage" feel. 

This is actually a technique I discovered in college, when I was decorating my room with vintage shoe decor, and wanted some cute sheets to match. I couldn't find any I liked that were in my price range, but I found some sheets with black polka dots that would have been perfect--except they had a stark white background when I really needed more of a sepia color. Being a crafty person, I bought them anyway and dyed them myself...with coffee. They turned out perfect and the color only faded very slightly during the many times I washed them.

It's much easier to find white fabric than a gorgeous sepia, which can make things difficult for certain projects or decor themes, so I'm going to teach you how to take that "would-be-perfect-if-only" white fabric and turn it into the sepia you desire! This also works great for crochet or eyelet lace trims, giving them more of an antique look. Dyeing fabric with coffee is easy, cheap, and fun, so pull up a chair for a few minutes while I show you how it's done.

You will need:
A big pot
Coffee (you can use instant or regular)
Cotton fabric (or other fabric made of natural fibers. Polyester and other man-made fibers won't absorb the color well)

Start by washing and drying your fabric. This removes any oils or finishes on the fabric that could prevent it from absorbing the color.

Brew your coffee. Lots of coffee! Keep in mind that the stronger you make it, the darker your color will be.
Pour the coffee into your large pot and then brew some more. You will need enough so that the fabric can move freely. (If you're using instant coffee, you can simply mix it in your pot).

Sneak yourself a cup while you're waiting for more coffee to brew, and enjoy it with a little treat.

When your pot is filled with coffee, heat the whole thing to boiling, and then remove it from the heat.

Another plus to dyeing fabric with coffee--your kitchen will smell heavenly!

Submerge your fabric into the coffee.

Give it a good stir, keeping it from bubbling up to the top as much as possible. Let it soak for at least one hour, preferably longer, stirring every 10 minutes or so.

Remove the fabric from the pot and rinse it well. If you throw it in the washer to do this, be warned that you may end up with a coffee-stained washing machine. (Ask me how I know...thank you college-aged self. Don't worry, it wasn't anything a little bleach didn't take care of).

After you've rinsed the fabric then I recommend washing and drying it again before use. All the extra coffee should come out in that first rinsing/washing and the color should be pretty set after that. It may fade slightly over time if you are dyeing an item that will be washed repeatedly.

Just look at how pretty this fabric came out! Perfect for creating any number of things to go with vintage decor! The first picture makes it appear paler than it is in person; the second picture shows the dyed fabric by a piece of white fabric for comparison.

Don't you just love that vintage sepia look?

Thanks for hanging out with me today, and thank you, Allie, for the pleasure of guest posting at your lovely blog.
Leave a comment telling us what you would use vintage-look fabric for, and don't forget to come visit me at Apples to Applique for recipes, sewing and craft tutorials, and educational resources!
Now go have fun making your own faux vintage fabric!

Yes I do love that Vintage Sepia look! I've always just dyed with tea, but this looks like its a stronger color, yay! I will definitely be trying this!!!

Amber also sells on Etsy! Check out her store here. You can also follow her on Facebook, here.

Thank You so much Amber for showing us this fabulous tutorial! 

Would you like to be a guest blogger? If so please contact me here.

Thanks again Amber, 

and thank you all for tuning in today!
 Until next time...
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  1. Replies
    1. It really is both easy and fun! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. This is such a great idea! I had never heard of using coffee! It provides such a better color! And I LOVE the smell of coffee! Win win!

  3. You make it look so easy! I definitely have to try this. I'm thinking it would be a great trick at Halloween to "age" costumes and gauze too.

    1. It is very easy! And what a great idea to use it to age costumes! I bet it would work perfectly for that.

  4. This is brilliant!!
    Using coffee ?! I'm so intrigued that I just want to try it :)

    1. If you do, let me know how it goes! It is so fun to do and to see how the fabric looks afterward.

  5. What a great tutorial to try - I love vintage lace and will definitely have to customize some new lace I have....

    1. Lace looks beautiful dyed this way! The color picks up best on 100% cotton lace, but I tried it with a poly/cotton blend and it still took on a pretty ivory color.

  6. Hi, just stopping by from Natasha's Say G'Day link party. Great tutorial, and good timing, too. I have some cotton I would like to make vintage cushions from, and the coffee color will be perfect! Thanks, and have a great day!

    Val @

  7. Oh I bet your kitchen did smell so good! Thanks for the tip!

    Thanks so much for sharing your creativity on at our Show-Licious Craft & Recipe Party! Hope to see more of your projects again on Saturday morning!

    ~ Ashley

  8. Wow very cool! And so simple! I love it. Thanks for sharing with us on Snickerdoodle Sunday!

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