Dyeing nylon/cotton/rayon lace

Name: Natalia
Country: England


Rit dye powder scarlet,  1 1/8 oz

Rit Dye Powder Scarlet

Rit All-purpose Dye will color both nylon and cotton at the same time. Treat with Retayne or Fixitol P to prevent bleeding in the laundry.

Message: Hi, do you know how I can dye some ivory lace (nylon/cotton/rayon mix) to a bright red colour for a garment please? I'd like the colour to be as uniform and bright as possible, which method and which brand of dyes would you recommend? Thanks, Natalia

You can dye nylon with a kind of dye called acid dye (see How to Dye Nylon), and you can dye both cotton and viscose rayon with a different sort of dye, either direct dye or fiber reactive dye.

To dye both nylon and cotton the same color at the same time, the most convenient method is to buy a mix of dyes called all-purpose dye. All-purpose dye contains a mixture of acid dye with direct dye. Look for Rit All-Purpose Tint and Dye, or Tintex Easy Fabric Dye, or Dylon Multi Purpose Dye. 

(Dylon Multi Purpose Dye is the only type of Dylon dye that will work on your fiber blend; don't use Dylon Machine Dye, Dylon Hand Dye, Dylon Permanent Dye, or Dylon Cold Dye, all of which are fiber reactive dyes. You cannot dye nylon with Dylon Machine Dye, Dylon Hand Dye, or Dylon Permanent Dye.)

Nylon needs to be heated in the dyebath in order to take the acid dye. You will not be able to dye nylon with a cold dyeing process. Using a large non-aluminum cooking pot (which you shouldn't plan to reuse for food), dissolve the dye in water and heat the lace in the water. Add white vinegar or another acid to the dyebath after the dye has had plenty of time to penetrate the lace. A good amount of vinegar to use is 100 ml per 4 liters of water, assuming that the vinegar contains 5% acetic acid, which is the most common strength. You should aim for a top temperature of 185°F (85°C); do not boil nylon. 

The vinegar does not assist the dye in fixing to the cotton or the rayon, but it is essential for fixing the dye to the nylon. You will probably want to heat the lace in the dye water for about half an hour. To obtain paler colors, you can remove the lace from the dye after a shorter period of time, but it is better to use the full half hour, and obtain lighter colors by using a smaller amount of dye powder.

You should weigh your lace before dyeing it, and adjust the amount of dye powder you use accordingly. A kitchen scale should work well for weighing your lace. Add salt if the manufacturers' directions tell you to do so. Rit All-Purpose Tint and Dye, Tintex Easy Fabric Dye, and Dylon Multi Purpose Dye all contain salt and other ingredients, but if directed you should add more. Read and follow the instructions on the label in deciding how much dye to use. Typically, one packet of all-purpose dye contains only enough dye to color 4 to 8 ounces of material (100 to 200 grams) to a bright or dark color. For a very bright true red, use one packet of all-purpose dye for no more than about 100 grams of lace. For a very pale color, use as little as one-tenth as much of the dye packet. Keep any remaining dye powder sealed in an airproof container to protect it from air and moisture.

Unfortunately, all-purpose dye is not very wash-resistant, and the color may run in the laundry. To prevent this, order some Retayne or another commercial dye fixative. Neither salt nor vinegar will be sufficient. In the UK, a good source is Fibrecrafts, which sells Fixitol P. Treating your lace that you've dyed with Fixitol P is very important in preventing dye from bleeding, if you use all-purpose dye.

There are other ways to dye both cotton and nylon in the same piece, but this is the easiest way, and the results will be good if you use Retayne or Fixitol P. Alternatively, for maximum wash-resistance without Retayne or Fixatol, use premetalized acid dyes such as Lanaset dye for the nylon, and, in a separate step, use fiber reactive dye for the cotton and rayon in your fiber blend.

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Posted: Saturday - December 26, 2009 at 05:11 PM          

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