Any tips for dyeing colored fabric?

Name: Sherry


Procion MX Fiber Reactive Cold Water Dye

Procion MX Dye

ideal for cotton and linen

When mixed with soda ash, Procion dyes are permanent, colorfast, and very washable.

Jacquard Tie Dye Kit

Jacquard Tie Dye Kit

Message: Any tips for dyeing colored fabric?  The item is a cornflower blue cotton duvet.  I want to dye it red. 

Dye is transparent, which means that whatever color is there already will show right through any color you dye it. This means that it is impossible to get a true red by dyeing something that is cornflower blue. There will inevitably be a bluish tinge to the red. A dark burgundy is possible, but a bright clear red is not.

It might be possible to remove some of the blue that is currently there, if you can fit the duvet into your washing machine. Rit Color Remover, which is used in very hot water, can remove some dyes. It is impossible to predict whether or not it will work on the cornflower blue dye in your duvet. Some dyes discharge well; others do not. See "What chemicals can be used to remove dye?".

If the duvet is washable, 100% cotton (or mostly cotton or other dyeable fiber), and not treated with dye-resistant finishes, such as a stain-resistant or permanent-press finish, it should be dyeable, though perhaps not to the color you're thinking of. Be sure to pre-scour it by washing it in the hottest water it can tolerate, with detergent and some extra soda ash for added cleaning power. Otherwise, invisible stains are apt to lead to light spots, where the dye does not take well. I recommend a fiber reactive dye, such as Procion MX dye. If you live in Europe or Australia, you can buy Dylon Machine dye, which contains a good fiber reactive dye.

In order to dye your duvet a smooth solid color, you have to be able to fit it into a washing machine without crowding, so that it can move freely. If it is too large for the washing machine, I do not recommend dyeing it a solid color. Constant agitation is required to avoid uneven coloring. A duvet is too large to effectively stir by hand in a bucket. See "How can I dye clothing or fabric in the washing machine?".

For uneven multi-shade results, as in low water immersion dyeing, you can dye anything that you can stuff into a container, even into a large plastic trash can. See "How to Dye with Low Water Immersion".

For tie-dyeing or dye painting, you can lay any size of duvet out flat and apply Procion MX dyes mixed with soda ash, allow the dye to react at or above 70°F, then carefully wash out the excess dye. See "How to Dye with easy-to-use fiber reactive dye".

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Posted: Sunday - December 28, 2008 at 11:34 AM          

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