Coloring Drapes

I have pure white long drapes (washable) in my living room and dining room that are too white for the rest of the house. (I have off white/ ivory walls and furniture throughout). I don’t know the fabric off hand, but it’s probably cotton along with (maybe polyester)? Too hard to go looking now at the tag. Any way, I heard once that if you take white curtains and soak them in water with “tea bags” it will darken them to a linen color. Is this true and if so how many tea bags would I need!!! How do you suggest I do it? And, when I wash them again, will the color wash out? If this wouldn’t work, how else can I change the color to a linen, or ivory, anything but pure white!!! My drapes are long to the floor (63-83″) with tie backs and ruffles (like sold in Country Curtains catalog) and are old but still look beautiful. They are a heavy cotton type fabric like heavy sheeting. Also, since they’ve been hanging for so long, there may be uneven fading, which I can’t tell because they are a solid white, would dying them show the unevenness if there is any at all?

Dear Evelyn,
I think I know these window treatments, they are indeed cotton and polyester. But please, check to make sure.
Go to www.askjeeves.com and search for tea dyeing. There are some interesting and useful articles there. Keep in mind, tea dyeing is not a solid-color dyeing technique. It’s more like a variegated or mottled effect.
You could also vat-dye them in the washing machine using an ivory or ecru reactive dye available at www.dharmatrading.com. Read their instructions carefully, and start with only a little bit of dye.
Do some research and let me know if you have more questions!

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