Paula Burch's All About Hand Dyeing

Low water immersion dyeing (fourth example)

August 1999

Purple and orange caftan

close up of purple and orange rayon In tie-dyeing, a garment dyed with purple and orange will be muddy in an unattractive way, unless the two colors are separated with a band of fuchsia. In low water immersion dyeing, however, even otherwise clashing colors may mix in harmonious and beautiful ways. Using purple and orange together is a real test of the idea. I think it was successful.

This rayon caftan was dyed by the low water immersion method, using sodium carbonate to fix the dyes just as with cotton. Rayon tends to prefer a slightly higher pH than cotton, but not enough so that you would need to alter your usual recipe, and it tends to dye much more brightly than unmercerized cotton. However, Rayon fibers are notably weak when wet, unlike those of the closely relate cellulose fiber lyocell (brand name: Tencel), so you must be careful to wash on delicate cycle only, and avoid hot-water washes, though those are best at ridding a garment of unwanted extra dye.

The detail shows a moire effect in the close-up, implying a texture such as that of corduroy. The rayon is actually quite smooth, and the moire effect an artifact of the scanning process.

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Page created: August 14, 1999.
Last updated: Saturday, February 22, 2003;
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