Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Trials and Tribulations of Dyeing Fabric

Once upon a time, there was a seamstress who was commissioned to make a project with corduroy and velvet that were the exact same shade of seafoam. Rather than say "You absolutely must buy two matching fabrics" to the customer, she said "hey, so I could dye it..." because she'd been wanting to do more dying for quite awhile.

Said seamstress has a habit of taking on big projects that might be more trouble than their worth.

What happened? Read on!

 Regina Doman got me into using Dharma Trading Company's Fiber Reactive Dyes. To create the color I needed, I got their starter kit, as well as their seafoam and their baby blue. The kit is quite good, and the process looks complicated when you first start out, but it quickly becomes second nature (and you don't have to be 100% exact with the timing - play around!)

However, I started out using a rayon silk blend, and after four dye baths I really could not get close to the color I needed (the middle scrap above).

I needed something that would actually dye right to encourage me, so I threw the above skirt into a bath to see if I couldn't brighten it up.

Above - my dying set up. Next time I do dying, I'm going to pick up some measuring cups and spoons and stuff at the thrift store. I didn't prepare well enough this time, and had to make my own out of plastic disposable tupperware stuff.

The Fabric, still wet, but rinsed.

Still didn't work! (Batch #5 is the second seafoam square on the upper left.)

Here you can see the full thing... it's hard to tell shades, but it was too green and too light.

Green skirt didn't get nearly enough color. So I try again, and throw a white skirt in as well.

Uno, dos, tres... round #7? Will it work?

Green skirt turned out lovely!

Velvet ended up too blue... at this point I decided to scrap the silk rayon blend and start over, with plain cotton velvet.

You can see the color of the white-turned-pink skirt here, it was very vibrant and summery!

And here, at last, is the velvet! (required three more tries to get it right!). The picture doesn't do it justice, both fabrics have more green in them and are a closer match than they look here. It'll show up better in the later pictures I took of the project in progress. (stay tuned!)

1 comment:

  1. Heh...this is why I tend to turn towards "contrast" when I can. ;)


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