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rayon dying for a better black
can I overdye this fabric and have it work?
Mole Princess
Mole Princess
Member since 4/17/12
Posts: 646
Skill: Intermediate
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                                                     1 Replies

Date: 6/29/13 4:19 PM

Hi anyone who dyes fabric . . . am making a dress for a friend and it calls for two fabrics. We have a floral w/ a black background and I planned on black for the second fabric. Well, there is black and there is black. The floral background black is a beautiful, rich, warm black, and the solid black rayon is a blue-black that looks cold and shallow next to the print.

I have some dyes from Dharma bought at another time and am wondering if I can overdye the solid black with some red or burgundy to warm it up for a better match.

I have so-so memories of Rit dying years ago with things coming out stiff and not always getting the most even results. But this is Dharma . . .

I do have a big washing machine and also a bathtub . . . any advice? For the color match I know I could test-dye a swatch, but then as for whether a large piece would dye evenly, will I really know till I try it? IS this SAFE?! Or am I thinking about ruining this piece of fabric?

Thanks all!
Florida USA
Member since 5/27/04
Posts: 3634
Skill: Advanced
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In reply to Mole Princess

Date: 6/29/13 4:38 PM

Starting with a sample is a good idea, you may not be able to get a warm black, but you don't know until you've tried. I have used the Procion dyes from dharma trading and have had success but it's been mostly overdyeing lighter colors (not matching tones). I have used it in the washing machine with no problems. I would be more concerned about the rayon, because there's rayon and there's rayon, so the sample sounds like a start. From what I remember,

You need to take the sizing out of the fabric you are dyeing so that it will take the dye evenly, I used Orvis paste but there are other washes out there that do the same.

Just make sure that you use the right kind of dye for your fiber and the right concentration of dye for your yardage, the Dharma site has excellent instructions.

"A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.
Coco Chanel

Stash Sewn in 2011 148.5 Yds
Stash Sewn in 2012.... counting...


Member since 2/12/08
Posts: 10
Skill: Advanced Beginner
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Date: 7/1/13 7:34 AM

You can and should use the washer for dyeing with procion dyes, you will get much better results (even coverage), and procion dyes don't coat the inside of the washer. I usually leave the fabric in the washer for longer than recommended, I add the dye and soda ash and sometimes salt (depending on the manufacturers instructions), let it agitate for a few minutes, add the fabric and let the washer run, then I set the machine to agitate a second time. Then I let the machine go through the normal cycle. I just dyed towels this way and they came out nice and even.

To get the colour you want, test, test, and test again to see if you can get the right black.

PS-I hope this makes sense, it is 4:33 am and I am still waking up. If I can help with anything email me at ellecsews (at) gmail dot com.
Member since 11/4/05
Posts: 648
Skill: Expert/Couture
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Date: 7/1/13 11:32 AM

Hi there,

I do quite a bit of fabric and garment dyeing (learned in college). I love fiber reactive dyes, but it is near impossible to get a really good black with anything but direct dye. RIT is the best known brand , but I've gotten really good results with iDye. You'll need a large pot--preferably enamel (I use an old canning pot)--since you do have to 'cook' it.
You can get iDye from Dharma Trading ( I've been ordering from them since the late 80's and have always gotten exceptional service/products.

Best of luck!

Juliette near Austin, TX
Bernina 830LE
Bernina 350PE
Babylock Evolution
ElnaPro 905DCX
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