Thursday, September 27, 2012

iDye fabric dyes for Polyester fabrics

I have quite a few fabrics laying around that are not cotton that I have been wanting to dye. I have seen these iDye Poly dyes at the store lately and I decided to give it a try.  I wanted black but it seems everyone else did as well, so I had to reselect. I am doing two batches. The first batch is Purple. The second batch is blue/green.

Please note that the package says "No mess dye packet that dissolves in water".  Let me start out by saying just a little bit of water will eat through the dye packet, so if you use this dye, take the packet out of the package and put it immediately into your dye pot that has water in it.  "Why?" you might ask. Because if you have some water on your counter and set the dye packet down on it, the wet part of the packet will dissolve, and when you lift it up, dye powder will go everywhere. I speak from experience unfortunately. 

The dye instructions are very similar to the acid dyes I talked about yesterday.  You don't need vinegar though. Dampened your fabrics with water. Set a pot (stainless or enamel) of water to almost a boil. Add the dye packet and the color intensifier. Stir to combine, then add your fabric.  Set on simmer for a 1/2 hour to an hour.  Do not let it come to a boil as it will spatter and make a big mess (which does wipe up, but goes everywhere). Never use items for food that have been used for dyeing.

My fabrics are either: 1) fabrics that were given to me or 2) came from the thrift store. I am pretty sure they are all polyester, but we won't know for sure until they are done. From left to right, textured shiny brown stuff, white poly made to look like silk moire, red patterned flowers, pink crepe-type fabric, green/blue mesh type fabric. After starting my purple dye batch I did search for other things to throw the pot and found a patterned sheer.

Cook, cook, cook. Stir occasionally.  I let the purple batch cook for an hour.

After that, take the pot off the heat to cool. Rinse your fabrics in water.  Wash with warm water in the machine.

For my second batch, I was planning on mixing a green and a blue to make a blue/green.  Since the dye was in packets and it would be hard to use just half of each of the packages, I decided to just use the blue.  I put the blue in the pot and it looked like acid sapphire blue, yikes! So I added the green as well, and figured the dye would just be very dark since I have double the dye.  I stirred in the green. Blue plus Green does not equal Blue Green. My dye looked like dark forest green. Since it was fairly dark, I just cooked it for a 1/2 hour. In addition to the same fabrics I used for the purple batch, including the sheer, and added a poly linen-look fabric as well.  No fabric is safe in my house from dyes, paints, etc.

The interesting thing about the iDyes is that they have poly dyes and cotton dyes. The package says they can be used together if you are dyeing a cotton/poly blend.  That sounds very interesting to me. When using Procion MX dyes on cotton/poly blends, the result is usually a very light colored fabric. It would be nice to be able to get a stronger shade on a blended fabric, which sounds like the iDyes may be able to do if used in combination.

I find the results from the iDye Poly to be very unpredictable. I don't know if it is the fabric content, the weave, or what, but the final color is different depending on the fabric.

From left to right, the first piece was the textured brown piece, the heat took out the texture, it is a maroon now. The next three are all the fake silk moire.  The first two were just thrown in the pot, but one is darker than the other. The third moire piece was accordion folded and tied up with string. It is super bright. The fifth piece was the red flowered piece, followed by the previously pink crepe, now a lovely lilac.  Next is the blue green mesh, now purple. And finally is the sheer that I added (not in original fabric picture), only slightly tinted.

Same fabric (fake silk moire), three colors.

Here is the green blue set. I did not put a piece of the textured brown in this batch. The first two are both the fake silk moire. I folded and tied the first piece. It has a lot of green in it. The second piece is a midnight blue (same fabric). Fabric three is the red floral. Number 4 was the pink crepe, now a forest green. The mesh is now blue-gray.  The added sheer fabric has a green cast. The last fabric was an "add" and looked like "linen look" polyester, but dyed very light. I am thinking this must have been a cotton/poly blend.

Pros: I can dye polyester.  Colors are deep and strong for the most part.
Cons: Color variations from one piece of fabric to the next can be unpredictable. I find it weird that some of my fabrics are blue and some green from the blue/green pot. Also, I stirred the fabric occasionally and ended up with a couple pieces that were not consistently dyed throughout.  The package did say to continually stir for even color, but I don't like to cook dinner for 1/2 hour to an hour, much less stir a pot of fabric. The dye did have a peculiar chemical odor but not enough to prevent me from using it again.

Overall, I thought it worked well, but find the colors somewhat garish. If I ever have some more polyester that needs a color lift, I would use it again. I like the color variations on the folded pieces even though they are super bright.  I wish I could have gotten black. Maybe some of these are destined for another plunge.

This week I am working on some art pieces to submit in a juried "Day of the Dead" show. I'll have pics of my progress tomorrow.

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