How do you dye white twill to a more natural (off-white) color?

Name: Donna
Country: USA
Message: How do you dye white twill to a more natural (off-white) color?


Procion MX Fiber Reactive Cold Water Dye

Procion MX Dye

ideal for cotton, rayon, linen, and silk

When mixed with soda ash, Procion dyes are permanent, colorfast, and very washable. For pale colors, use a smaller amount of dye powder.

Dye polyester and poly/cotton blends

Jacquard iDye

Jacquard iDye and iDye Poly

iDye Poly is disperse dye that can be used to immersion dye polyester, nylon, and acrylic. (Note that regular iDye is a direct dye that can be used only on natural fibers such as cotton; it can be mixed with iDye Poly to dye polyester blends.)

This depends on what fiber the twill is woven from. It's very important to choose a dye based entirely on what the fiber content of your material is.

If your twill is 100% cotton, or another natural plant fiber such as hemp or linen, then your best choice would be a fiber reactive dye. This type of dye is easy to apply, since it is set with soda ash or washing soda rather than with heat, and it is more permanent than any other type of dye. You can mail-order Procion MX fiber reactive dye in "ecru" from a Jacquard supplier such as Blick Art Materials, or in "ivory" or "ecru" from Dharma Trading Company, or in "winter white", "vanilla bean", or "ecru" from PRO Chemical & Dye. Or, if you happen to already have a brown color mixture of Procion MX dyes, you can use a tiny amount of this powder, say one-quarter teaspoon, to dye a pound of twill fabric a pale natural color. Another fiber reactive dye mixture that produces a nice natural-looking beige is Dylon Tea Dye.

Sometimes you see recommendations to dye cotton with tea leaves, but the results will not last as long as a true dye, and there is some concern that the tannic acid in tea is inappropriate for archival use, as, given enough time, it might damage the cotton.

You can also use a Rit powder dye for dyeing natural fibers a beige color. All-purpose dye, such as Rit, is less satisfactory than fiber reactive dye, because it requires heat to apply, and it wears off far more quickly. However, it is better than dyeing with real tea, and you can use it in the washing machine with hot water. Rit dye is available in an "ecru", "taupe", and "tan"; it's clear from the colors they indicate that their idea of ecru is rather different than that of some other dyer makers. In any case, to produce a paler color than indicated, just use less dye. One box of Rit dye will color one half to one pound of fabric to a medium shade, but you might want to use as little as a quarter of a box, for a pound of fabric, or less for a smaller weight.

If your twill is made of a cotton-containing fiber blend, such as polyester/cotton, dye it just as for 100% cotton. The polyester threads in the fabric will not take the dye at all, but the overall effect from dyeing just the cotton in the blend is fine, if you're looking for a pale color. 

If your twill is 100% polyester, or another synthetic fiber such as acrylic or acetate, you will need to use a completely different sort of dye, called disperse dye. These synthetic fibers cannot be dyed with any dye that works on natural fibers. One brand of disperse dye that is easy to find by mail-order is Jacquard iDye Poly. Don't get plain "iDye", which works only on natural fibers; get "iDye Poly" for synthetic fibers such as polyester, acrylic, or acetate. They do not sell an ecru color of iDye Poly, but you can use one-tenth of a packet of brown dye, instead of the whole packet, for a pale beige color.

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Posted: Sunday - November 15, 2009 at 10:00 PM          

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