Saturday, 17 July 2010

Dyeing with Dylon - Trial & Error.

Dylon is always the first brand that comes to mind when I need to dye something and I think the dyes are fantastic, especially since they revamped their brand image and it seems like there are many other colours in the range now! I blogged about them last year which you can read here.This entry is to show a 'before' and 'after' which I love seeing on other sites/blogs etc and also to explain the dyeing process - what to do and what not to do.
So, I started with a dress that I have never worn and didn't think I would wear in the future. I think at the time of purchasing I really loved it, but then my dress sense completely changed (this happens a lot) and as I plan on dyeing clothing in the future, I wanted to practice on a garment as I had always usually just dyed pieces of fabric. Also, I wanted to see how the dye would effect the plaid! I chose the Navy Blue dye.The following steps (in bold) are the instructions that Dylon provide you with...however, I only like reading instructions once, then making up what I can't remember!
1. Weigh dry fabric. Wash thoroughly. Leave damp
I didn't have scales to hand so I skipped the first part, I didn't think it was important. The rest was easy to follow!
2. Using rubber gloves, dissolve dye in 500ml warm water
This was also very easy and straight forward. However, I work in Fashion Design so I know my centimetres, inches, millimetres...but I have no idea on millilitres, and I didn't have a measuring cup to hand so I estimated this. I assumed it wasn't much, but enough to dissolve the dye.
3. Fill bowl/stainless steel sink with approx 6 litres warm water (40°C)
I am not that much of a perfectionist where I'm going to whip out my thermometer to check the temperature, so this was all guesswork.
4. Stir in 250g (5tbsp) salt. Add dye & stir well
Nice and easy, I appreciated the (5tbsp) comment.
5. Submerge fabric in water
6. Stir for 15mins, then stir regularly for 45mins
This is when I start doing my own thing. I stirred for 5 minutes, then left it for about an hour and only popped back in to stir another two or three times for a couple of minutes each.
7. Rinse fabric in cold water. Wash in warm water and dry away from direct heat & sunlight
This was fine, although when you think all the residue has left the garment, more keeps trickling out!

So, here are the results! I was pleased with my choice of using the Navy Blue dye and even more pleased with the plaid colouring. I could possibly wear the dress. However, there are flaws...which doesn't surprise me seeing as I did not follow the instructions properly!As a whole, the coverage was great...but as you can see, there are very small areas where the dye hasn't been able to completely reach which of course is due to the fact that I didn't give it a good stir at the beginning and did not stir it frequently afterwards. These areas are also where there is elastic so the fabric would have been ruched while in the dyeing process. I actually quite like the faded effect but there isn't enough of it to look like it was intentional, rather than accidental!
If I was to wear this dress (after working out what to do with the faded bits - maybe an embroidery?) I will definitely change the buttons! Overall, it was so easy to do and isn't as messy as you may think and doesn't require much effort at all. I'm sure I could have got away with doing what I did if it was just fabric, where there isn't any ruching etc.
Also, the top stitching has remained it's original colour, because it is polyester, so keep this in mind when you're dyeing. Dyeing works best with natural fibres i.e. cotton.
However, I'm sure there is a way to dye synthetic fabrics which I will blog about once I find out! I hope this entry has been useful and will encourage you to dye your clothes once you tire of them because they could look completely different and it will only cost you £3/$5 and an hour of your time. My overall conclusion of Dyeing with Dylon is to follow their instructions for maximum results!
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