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Dying synthetic fabric

PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2006 7:34 pm
by Russo
I went to Planet Xchange today and found the most amazing shirt. Too bad it's a hideous shade of taupe. I would like to dye it either a crimson or a royal blue, but I can't seem to find any info on how to dye special fabrics. It's 90% polyamide, 10% spandex. Is there a special dye I need to use? I don't think Rit is going to cut it.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 9:14 am
by karlaBOO
The only thing I could think to check was the AGF FAQ. All it says is natural fibers dye better than synthetic. I'll see if I can't get Jason's friend Rachel/Ladybee to answer this.

Re: Dying synthetic fabric

PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 9:42 am
by B_Ko
Russo wrote:taupe

i don't even know what color that is, but holy god does it sound awful.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 11:43 am
by Francesca
What colors are you able to wear... I would suggest using a dye that has a good staining ability...

Think mustard... the active dye ingredient in mustard is the spice tumeric..that would make it a golden yellow blended with the taupe. Buy a spice bottle of tumeric, dump it in a pot of water (see notes below on dyepots) and let the tumeric simmer in it for about a half hour. Add either some salt or vinegar (vinegar will shift the color) to enhance dye retention (it's called a mordant when it performs that function) Then add your garment in.

It is better to have your garnment soaking in plain water for 24 hours prior to adding it to the dyebath as it will throroughly saturate the fibers and let the dye run deeper into it.

Stir and mush the fabric under the surface with a dowel rod, making sure bubbles are not hidden in the garnment. Stir regularly for an even result while simmering the garnment for about 30 minutes.

Remove, rinse in clean water, dry in the hottest setting your garment care label will allow you.

Note on dyepots here:
Best option for the truest version of the dye is a glass/pyrex or a stainless steel pot, as they are not dye reactive (they will not change the color of your dye), Avoid using an iron pot as it will darken/sadden the dye-unless that is the effect you are going after) I personally don't recommending aluminum pots beause the vinegar and some of they dyes and other mordants tend to eat through the metal. A copper pan will effect the color well also and even if is is lined in tin - tin is even better it's an awsome mordant). In old dye manuals from the middle ages and early america, they referred to the dyepot as "a copper". So you can see how commonly it was used back then.

Other dyes to consider that have a staining effect, unsweetened packs of Red Kool-aid is good. That might with the taupe give you a bricky brown red. (also called madder red)

And there's always tomato sauce...!

Just make sure you don't wash it in an "oxy" detergent.

Also consider decorative bleaching - you could get some interesting effects if you dipped only one half in some bleach and hang it in that position until it changes to the effect you like. (then again it may not change color at all!). Then rinse it out and then dye the whole thing to see if you like the effect.

Good luck.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 2:15 pm
by Russo
That sounds like a good idea Francesca, but I'm hesitant to use any sort of "hot" dying method. I've heard all kinds of warnings to keep Spandex/Lycra away from heat, as it can damage the fabric.

I did manage to find some dye on ebay that's synthetic-safe, but I don't really want to have to ship it over from the UK :/

PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2006 11:41 am
by Francesca
The staining dyes I mentioned would work in warm water as well, but with the tumeric - boil the water with the tumeric, then let it cool off, the idea being to extract the dye liquor form the ground root, and get it in the water. I think warm would be safe. I wash my clothes on the warm setting all the time (and my whites in hot no matter what)

You may want to be sure the synthetic dye from the UK does not require hot water or seam pressing after the dybath is complete in order to set they dye into the fabric permanently.

Good luck.