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Topic: How do I dye Chiffon&Spandex  (Read 1462 times)
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« on: June 26, 2010 09:01:01 AM »

I'm making a gown for a ball I'm attending and I have purchased white chiffon and white spandex in the hopes of dying it sage green to a deep hunter green I want the colour to fade from a nice sage green at the bust through waist and then to slowly fade down into a nice deep rich hunter green colour. Now I've purchased two packets of RIT dye one packet of Kelly Green and one packet of Hunter green. On the back of the package is says that you can use a bucket and sort of dip dye it which I think would give me the most control with my colouring, but how to do I get it to smoothly fade from one shade into the next? Are there any specific tricks to dyeing chiffon/spandex that I need to know?

« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2010 04:26:09 PM »

I don't think RIT will work on this... what's the fiber content on the chiffon? If it's poly, you need a dye that's made for poly and other synthetics (which the spandex would also need). It's not that easy to get deep colors on synthetic fibers. If the RIT works at all, it won't be as dark as the package. Though if your chiffon is silk, you have a better chance.
As for the actual dying, dipping could work. you just wouldn't pull out the fabric and keep it steady (making a line) but sort of bring it up and down into and out of the dye so the line blurs.
You could also paint the dye on; it looks a bit like watercolor.
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« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2010 02:14:02 PM »

This is kind of an old thread, but there's been only one reply, so I thought I'd contribute something. I don't work with fabric - I'm a handspinner - so I can't say much about technique, but I can contribute some theory.

Before you decide how to dye you need to decide what dye to use. And before you can do that you need to find out what fiber your fabric is made from - the "fiber content," as the previous poster said. The reason you need to do that is, not all dyes will work the same on all fibers, and actually some dyes don't work on some fibers at all.

I could go into more detail here, but let's just focus on your fabric. What is the chiffon made from? As the previous poster said, if it's silk, the Rit you bought should work just fine. If it isn't silk, it's probably either all synthetic or a blend of a synthetic and a plant fiber like cotton. If it's a blend, like polyester/cotton, my bottle of Rit liquid (I'm assuming the powder would be handled the same way) says you can add salt to the dyebath. The thing I would worry about with a blend is how each fiber would take up the dye - would the synthetic fibers be lighter than the cotton? And if it's all synthetic, I'd worry that the Rit wouldn't take well at all. Which is actually what worries me about the Spandex - if Wikipedia is right, it's all synthetic.

I have a suggestion. When I was at Michaels the other day buying this Rit I noticed that Tulip, the company who makes those little bottles of fiber paint, is now also making a dye, and it looks like it's meant more for cotton or poly/cotton blends. You might want to check it out, or maybe look for Dylon - we used to carry that at a fabric store I worked at, and I think it was supposed to work on synthetics; I just don't know if it's still available.

About technique - I think the previous poster has a good idea with the painting. That way you could control where the color is going. And since you're painting rather than dyeing, how the fabric (fiber) takes the dye won't be such an issue; you only have to put it on one side. Maybe you could even use fiber paints instead of dye. I'm not sure about that; those paints might have to be matched to the fiber content too. But it's a thought.

I hope this helps. Good luck with your project.
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