Kokadi Stars Re-va-va-Vamp!

I’ve been looking for my perfect, supportive red wrap.  I love the look of Linuschka Begonia, but I’m not so keen on thin wraps that can be diggy, so that put me off.  But then I tried a Kokadi Mocha/Pink Stars.  It’s 100% cotton and very thick and supportive, so I know it’ll last us out of babywearing days.  I just needed to adjust the colour, and my washing machine’s been working overtime this week…..

Here’s the wrap before I started throwing chemicals at it:


I then part stripped it (like I did to my Charcoal Deep Sea Fish).

Part-Stripping Wraps (or anything else I guess)

I do this by half filling a non-metallic sink or tub with very hot water and dissolving a pack of Dylon Pre-Dye into it.  I then wet the wrap thoroughly with plain water and plunged it in.  Wearing rubber gloves quickly work along the full length of the wrap, moving it around and squeezing it along the length to get the pre-dye into it evenly all the way along.  I keep doing this until it’s taken out as much colour as I want.  Then quickly plunge the wrap into cold water and rinse very thoroughly. Wash as normal in the machine.

Things to consider when stripping wraps

The amount of dye stripped is affected by how concentrated the solution is, how hot the water is, and how long you leave the fabric in for.  With a long wrap like this one (4.7m) you can’t really get away with less than 5 minutes if you want to make sure it’s even all the way along the wrap, so for less stripping use cooler (but still hot) water.

Take the wrap out before it gets as pale as you’d like as more dye than is visible will have loosened and will come out when you wash.  The difference isn’t usually very much, but worth taking into account.  You can always strip more, but you can’t as easily add dye back, especailly if there’s a contrasting pattern.

It also depends on the original dye method and colours.  In general, reds and pinks strip out first, with pinks often stripping completely and reds, oranges and browns stripping to yellow. Yellow sometimes strips out completely, but not always. Greens often strip out leaving various levels of yellow, but blues and purples are harder, with blues and blacks stripping the least successfully. Most home-dyed (e.g. Dylon) colours will strip out completely, especially if you leave the fabric in the solution overnight, though I haven’t tried all Dylon colours, so I’d be really interested to know if any don’t.

It’s also worth knowing that some wraps change texture once stripped.  Most noticabley, Natibaby wraps containing bamboo viscose loose a bit of length and get thicker and more supportive (they do this when dyed too).  It’s worth testing on a scrap if trying something that isn’t cotton or linen.

Part-Stripping Kokadi Pink/Brown Stars Prediction + Results

If I stripped the Kokadi Stars completely, I’d expect the pink to go completely, and the brown to end up as a shade of yellow.  I didn’t want to loose too much contrast, so I just wanted to tone down the brown, and loose the pink a bit.

So into the sink the stars went.  In this case I used hottest tap water plus 2 kettles full of boiled water and the wrap stayed in the water for almost 5 minutes (moving continuously).  I put too much boiling water in, so it did strip a touch more than I’d planned, but still gave a lovely neutral canvas with plenty of contrast left:


So now to Begonify it!

Here’s a pic of Linuschka Begonia so you get an idea of the look I love:

[Pic to add… I can’t find one!  It’s bright red with circles woven into it all over.  Anyone got a pic I could use? :D]

So, into the washing machine with salt and one pack of Tulip Red Dylon Dye went my newly part-naked stars.


But it wasn’t enough and out they came like this:



In they went again with the same.

But it still wasn’t enough; this Kokadi Stars is very dense fabric and clearly has a large capacity for dye.  I’d forgotton to weigh it while dry, but to get a really good strong red with Dylon Tulip Red, you always seem to need a lot more dye than the packet advises you should going by the fabric weight.

So in they went again with the last of my salt, and all the remains of red-toned dye I had left: 1/2 a pack each of Tulip Red and Flamingo Pink (I wasn’t worried about the pink as I knew that it wouldn’t show through all the red, but I did need more dye to get the good colour saturation I wanted) plus a pack of red hand dye, which does work in the machine too, though you need more of it, but in this case every little helps!

A dye wash and many, many rinse washes later (red is very persistent and needs lots of rinsing if you don’t want to stain your clothes/skin when it rains), and my stars have been truely vamped up with a lovely, rich, bright, scarletty blood red!  As the stars are woven in, they stand out a bit anyway and this is subtley highlighted by the bit of colour contrast still visible. Gorgeous!

Here’s the finished result (though very hard to catch the true colours and contrast in pics):


Now it just needs a lot of breaking in after all that washing! I’m off to get wrapping! 😀



This entry was posted in Babywearing Projects, Dyeing with Dylon and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Kokadi Stars Re-va-va-Vamp!

  1. reneeholiday says:

    that color is beautiful on you! thanks for sharing your process. i have some osnaburg waiting to dye…

  2. Katherine says:

    What do you think it would have turned out like if you did keep striping it? Do you think it’d go completely cream/white? Would the stars still show? I mean, I know they are woven in to the design, but do you think they would be lost? Thank you!

    • emeriminni says:

      Hi Catherine, Yes I think they would have gone very pale indeed – I’m guessing (from stripping similar colours) that the bits that were brown might have stayed a bit more yellowy than the bits that were pink, but there would have been very little contrast. You can see what happens when there is very little contrast by my end result – you can see the stars in the weave, but they are very much more subtle. Hope that helps! Emily x

  3. Lesley says:

    I have the Kokadi Macadamia stars wrap on the way, and am planning on dying it royal blue once I get it. SInce the contrast is already pretty light on the original wrap, does it need to be stripped or have anything special done pre-dye? And I have never dyed anything, so I am kind of confused about how to achieve the blue color I want. Dylon sells a navy, jeans, and ocean blue, but none of those are really the “royal” blue I’m looking for.

    • emeriminni says:

      Hi Lesley,
      If you’re not sure about the colours, then you could use a colour mixer tool (like this one: http://www.design-lib.com/color_tool_mixer.php/) – set the ‘start’ and ‘finish’ colours to be the dye colour you’re thinking of using and the colour of the wrap and then set the steps to 1. The colour in the middle (step 1) will then be the predicted colour that you’ll get if you dye the wrap that colour. Remember that this won’t take into account relative colour saturations (basically how much dye you use to make the colour deeper), but does help give you an idea of what the result might be + whether it’s way off what you’re looking for.
      Hope that helps!

  4. Jen says:

    Your post came up when I googled how to dye a wrap in a front loader! Do you mind sharing how you did it? I can’t really find any good directions and am thinking of dying a wrap 🙂

    • emeriminni says:

      Hi Jen,
      I used Dylon Machine Dye and simply followed all of the instructions given. Pre-wash the carrier without fabric softener and leave damp. Put dye powder and salt into the machine drum. I’d then put a tea-towel over this so ensure that there’s no risk of dye spots when I put the wrap into the machine. Put fully + evenly damp wrap into machine. Turn on machine to a regular 40 degree wash. Once finished add detergent and do another 40 degree wash to clean + rinse wrap and machine. And that’s it! Some colours seem to need more rinsing than others, and it can depend on how much dye you’ve used (more dye = more rinsing generally). Washing hotter than 40 if the fabric will allow can help ensure that all dye is out of the fibres if you’re worried about that.
      Hope that helps and good luck!

      • Melinda says:

        Have you ever tried running the washer for a minute or two to dissolve the dye and then opening it up and putting the wrap in? I’d hate to ruin a perfectly good towel. 🙂

      • emeriminni says:

        Our machine wouldn’t let us do that unfortunately…. but we like multicoloured tea towels anyway! 😀 x

  5. carrie says:

    please please advise! i have a candycotton kokadi elephant parade – i LOVE it but its just a little too pink for me right now. do u think i could dye it a redder colour without stripping? or try dying with a blue and mayb get purple? im very new to all this and i love this wrap. Thanks in advance 🙂

    • emeriminni says:

      Hi Carrie, Yes you could over dye this wrap in a different colour to get a less candy pink effect. Be careful if using red as you could easily loose the contrast in the wrap (but could definitely reduce the pinkness) – if you used a pale/bright blue (not a deeper colour or again you’d risk loosing the contrast), then you should be able to get a nice lilac/purple tone and keep the contrast. I use this colour mixer tool to help me get an idea of the colours that the wrap will go when dyed – you put in the wrap colour and the possible dye colour, set the steps to 1 and then the colour in the middle is the predicted shade: http://www.design-lib.com/color_tool_mixer.php. Hope that helps! Emily xx

  6. Hi I was wondering if I have the kokadi wrap that is black and white stars but want it fuschia and black would I need to do anything other than dye it?

    • emeriminni says:

      Hi Ashley,
      All you need to do is to dye it fuschia! You may want to wash it with synthrapol or other similar detergent first to make sure that there are no greasy marks etc. on the fabric, but that’s not a requirement. Just get your dye and follow the instructions + good luck!
      Emily x

  7. Kirsten Cox says:

    Hi, I am wondering. I have a natibaby silk blend wrap in a red wine colour. Would this be suitable for stripping and dyeing into a lighter purple colour? If so do I need a special dye because of the silk. Hope you can help, thanks

    • emeriminni says:

      Hi Kirsten, It’s completely possible to use the same Dylon products as I used if you wanted to strip and dye silk… you may wish to do more research about the effect of these chemicals on the silk fibres (particularly when stripping – I think the dyes are less concerning) before you start experimenting as silk fibres can be more delicate than linen or cotton. You could also think about using acid dyes, which dye the silk protein fibres only (the dylon will dye both the silk and the cotton fibres though may acheive a slightly different tone on each). There are some useful threads on stripping and dyeing silk on the Natural Mamas forum so that might be worth a look 🙂 Have fun! Emily x

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