One of the things that I learned in college and use on the more often when costuming is tea dying. We had a project on natural dyes. We had scraps of t-shirt fabric and we were instructed to present X# of natural items that would dye the fabric. Or course there was the standard tea and coffee, but other options that were presented overall were grape juice, mustard, black walnut hulls, and strawberry daiquiri mix.
In case you have never experimented with tea or coffee dying, I will give you a general step-by-step instruction.
**If you're a first timer, do test swatch in small bowl first to see how your fabric takes the tea (or coffee)**
Step 1: Get out your biggest pot, fill it with water and start heating on the stove.
I happen to have this wonderful spaghetti pot that has a strainer that fits down in it so that when things are done I just have to lift the strainer and voila... darined!!!!
Step2: Put about 6-8 family size tea bags in the water.
The darkness of the resulting color will depend on how many tea bags are used, how long you let the begs steep, and how long you leave the fabric in. With harder to dye fabric like the curtains I used, I left the tea bags in the entire time and I let the fabric sit in the water over night.
Step 3: I do not remember what the measurements were for this step, I usually just put "some" in. White vinegar and salt. If I had to guess, for the size pot I used, I would say 1/2-1 cup of vinegar and maybe a 1/4 cup of salt. These both help to set the color (also tossing the fabric in the dryer to heat set it when you're done, if the fabric can handle the dryer).
Here's the before pictures of the fabric I needed to dye: 2 lace curtain panels.
Step 4: Toss in the fabric, let it simmer for a while (30min - 1 hour), then turn off the heat and let it sit until the desired color is reached. If the color is achieved during the simmer, go ahead and take it out. Rinse it in cold water until the water runs clear. Heat set in the sun or dryer. (Make sure to heat set before it's ever run through a regular wash cycle with detergents)
Option: Dying with coffee.
Before and After of the small, orange and white doily. The coffee did as I hoped and turned the orange into more of a brown color.
Since my results were good, I went ahead with the rest of the doilies. After I had the curtains sitting in the tea, I made extra strong batch of coffee, added some salt and vinegar and the rest of the doilies.
I let them sit in the mixture for several hours until they had a good color. Then, I randomly just dumped it all in with the tea and let it continue to soak for the remainder of time I had the curtains in for.
Before and After pictures of the larger orange doily, it maintained more of it's orange color than the smaller one. I guess I forgot to take pics of the other 2 and the lace curtains. Oops. Oh well, they will show up again in the skirt assembly.
Next step will be the assembly of the skirt.