View Full Version : Dye for cloth...

Lady Sasha
02-07-2003, 09:28 AM
Just me being curious and was wondering where do you find colored muslin?
Do you purchase the cloth and dye it yourself?
if so, what dyes do you use and how do you use them? :thinking:

02-07-2003, 09:40 AM
I have to say both schools I attended just used RIT dye. I know, I know, there are much more complicated ways of dyeing something, but I don't have the patience. I just use RIT. I'm dyeing most of the costumes for Stockwood, and I'll be garment-dyeing them, mostly, since it was far, far cheaper to buy muslin in bulk. It's not difficult to dye things in the washer, like the RIT package says. Very small things can be done in a glass jar in the microwave. But oh, what I wouldn't give for the industrial dye vat we had at Carnegie Mellon!

Now, mixing colours-- THAT'S where the patience comes in, whether I like it or not....

Lots of good info is available at http://ritdye.com/ for RIT, of course, and http://dharmatrading.com/ for more complicated projects.

ps--THANK YOU, Cyd, for turning me on to Dharma!

pps-- My 100th post! WOOT!

Alewyn of Aventinus
02-07-2003, 10:36 AM
I will say I know squat when it comes to dyeing but I do homebrew. A group I belong to did ~a gross of tie-dyes for a charity sale. They all came to my house & used my monster brew pots & propane burners. It was pronounced quite an awesome dye set-up. It also kept the mess outside. We had two 1/2 barrel [15.5 gal] cut-off kegs, three cajun cookers and two other pots 5 & 7.5 gal. The pots didn't need to be on the heat all of the time. We used Rit dye. I don't know much about what happened, I just supplied the pots & the spot. It was also the day the WTC went down. We went through a lot of tissues that day.

Lady Sasha
02-07-2003, 11:26 AM
Thank you for the tips.
I've seen and heard about RIT, but wasn't sure if it was good to use.
I know I read a post on here from last year or the year before not to use RIT. I can't remember exactly why, maybe the colors don't come out exactly like it should. Like red for example doesn't come out a true red like the color on the package instead it comes out a faded red.
Have you ever had this problem?

Well if give me an idea anyway. I have some scrap pieces of muslin laying around I could use to test the colors. :D

02-07-2003, 02:50 PM
I use RIT when i dye but to get a dark color you need to use 2-3 times the amount they call for.. i dyed some white gauze curtains "scarlett" for my sister and we used 3 bottles of RIT on two narrow gauze sheers (not even a pound of material) to get it to be DARK...

There's also the boiling method... which i've never used just because im a HUGE clutz... anyone know anything baout that?

02-07-2003, 07:24 PM
I use RIT when i dye but to get a dark color you need to use 2-3 times the amount they call for.. i dyed some white gauze curtains "scarlett" for my sister and we used 3 bottles of RIT on two narrow gauze sheers (not even a pound of material) to get it to be DARK...

There's also the boiling method... which i've never used just because im a HUGE clutz... anyone know anything baout that?

I haven't had to dye anything big for a while, but I always do test dyes first, keeping track of what proportion of each colour i'm using, then scale up and dump it in the machine. (I remember spending HOURS in the costume shop until a dye was juuust the right colour. But I'm obsessive that way.) For little things-- stuff that'll fit into a bowl-- you can get it completely wet with regular water, then submerge it in a sufficient amount of water and dye so it's covered, then stick it into the microwave for a few minutes. For my corsets, I hand-dye the cotton lacing loops, and that's how I do it. Just make sure you use a non-porous bowl. Take your item out, rinse it thoroughly til the water runs clear, wash it, and then dry it. Then compare the colour again-- you won't really know til the item's dry how it'll look. Save your dyebath in case you have to do it again.

One note I was taught is that you should never use metal utensils when dyeing, since the metal can react to the dye and change your colours. RIT actually suggests using metal bowls, so YMMV. But we always used either enameled, porcelain, or glass bowls and wooden spoons.

Alewyn of Aventinus
02-07-2003, 07:33 PM
Not using metal for dyeing... is no metal unless it is stainless steel. Most dyes are very reactive and munch on metal, if it isn't stainless steel. Enamel coated is cool, b/c the dye is only in contact with the coating.

02-08-2003, 07:28 PM
I went up to the RIT website and poked around a bit....

Have to say that I am most curious now and just may start dying up some cloth... I have some *great* soft, 100% cotton sitting around looking perfect for some dying before making into chemises....hmmm......

could be a colorful faire season in MA this year.... :wink:

02-11-2003, 10:35 AM
You've already gotten some REALLY great tips for working with RIT, but I thought I'd toss in a note. I did a huge project for a class and spent four months playing with different weights of white fabric and RIT dye to make sure I got the colors right . . .

If you're not dyeing a ton of fabric and you want the color dark, I highly recommend the stove-top method. I used a sturdy turkey roasting pan and a big non-reactive pot and they worked great. I also only used about half the amount of water suggested. The colors come out MUCH darker than if you machine dye the fabric. (And use the salt! It helps!)

I've also been told that soaking dyed fabric in vinegar before washing it again helps the color to keep. Haven't tried that - does anyone know if it works?

Best of luck with your project! :D


02-11-2003, 10:51 AM
I always do a vinegar soak. Helps it to set a bit. YMMV.

When we were at RPFS two years ago, I bought a dark burgundy pakistani blanket from one of the middle eastern merchants there... (it was the year it was actually COLD at RPFS, and I was wearing middle eastern garb, go fig). Came home with the blanket, and decided to use it for work. Noticed the next time I was wearing light colored pants that they were starting to turn a pale rosy hue. So was the chair underneath me. Finally figured out it was the blanket shedding color on me.

I took the blanket home and ran it through the wash about fifteen or twenty times. Hot water, cold water, tons of salt, about a gallon of vinegar... I finally gave up after twenty washes, I think. The washing machine was still turning pink. No amount of vinegar or salt was helping this one.

It'll still bleed in the wash, but at least it's no longer turning my white pants pink. As I said, YMMV.

Cyd (the brown RIT I used on bleached denim worked a lot better... But came out lighter than I anticipated... But it held the dye with the salt and vinegar method, tho).

02-22-2003, 08:31 PM
ever dyed with some cheap red wines? you can get some BEAUTIFUL colors!! :)


Mairi the Herbwench
02-24-2003, 09:48 AM
You can get beautiful colors with Kool-Ade, too, but do they last?

02-24-2003, 05:30 PM
Wine has always lasted for me, so long as you wash it alone, and with a non-stain-fighting detergent (I shave a bar of Ivory in tiny slivers in the washer for faire slothes dyed like this). Do a test on a small swatch, and wash it in every load you do (it won't bleed, so long as it's been washed before washing with other clothes for the first time). It may fade a bit, but it is a permanent stain, and a period-correct one too.

When it fades, it is usually even and not drastic. You won't end up with a product like you'd see on a bolt of fabric at the fabric store, but a "natural" dye job which will have slight variances throughout. It is best to dye a little at a time and try to keep the fabric as smooth & even as possible... simply wadding it up and stuffing it down won't make it look as good as carefully placing it in so each part has "equal access" to the dye.

It's best to experiment with it before doing a lot... it takes a bit of practice, but it's neat. ;)


PS -- dye before you sew.