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Ummm…OOOPS! Colour-changing fabric

nmog | Posted in General Discussion on

I bought two pieces of fabric in Toronto about 5 years ago. I stored them in a storage bag that has a plastic window insert (clearly not the best idea, as I now realize). The fabric is a heavily embroidered, but still lightweight, crepe back satin. It is a dark nay blue on one selvedge and then is graded down to a light sky blue at the other where the majority of the embroidery is.

Even though both pieces of fabric were in the same bag the smaller piece has lightened considerably and is now a purple colour that goes to mauve. There a re a few violet spots on it as well. The spots confuse me as the fabric was folded and the spots don’t correspond with a light source.

Does anyone have any ideas how I can change the colour back to normal? I was going to use the second piece as a godet in a strapless dress, but given the change I’m not sure it’s a possibility.

Any ideas would help. Thank you!

Nicole, feeling silly yet again.


  1. user-51823 | | #1

    did you buy from the remnant rack? sounds like an unstable dye lot. bad news is you really can't get the original color back, especially since with dying, spots will still be spots and the embroidery won't allow dying anyway. good news is you can use ikt to make siomething really unique and avant-garde :-)

    Edited 1/19/2007 12:37 pm ET by msm-s

    1. nmog | | #4

      Yes, it would make a neat dress for our daughter!Nicole

      1. user-51823 | | #7

        nice save! i have used "irregular" fabric on sale supre cheap and turned the flaws into artistic assets by highlighting them. you could add a bit of applique or ribbon embroidery in color similar to the bad spots to make the discoloration appear more intentional.
        i would love to see photos of what you do!

  2. Ralphetta | | #2

    In my experience, navy blue is about the most unstable dye color made.

    1. nmog | | #5

      Yes, this one surely was! I'm not sure why only one piece went funny but I'm glad it was the smaller one.

  3. Teaf5 | | #3

    The discolorations may have been caused by bag, whether it was plastic or paper or a mixture of both.  Paper, unless it is archival, has acids that will leach out onto the fabric, and some plastics, especially those with PVC, emit fumes that do the same.

    It's generally better not to store fabrics in airtight packages or even drycleaner bags for this reason.  For special pieces, prewashed white cotton pillowcases are very good storage bags, as long as you can loosely fold the fabric to fit inside.

    With your spotted fabric, do you have enough to make a smaller garment with many pieces that could be laid out on the non-damaged areas?  If not, maybe there is enough undamaged fabric that you could use it as an accent on a garment--sleeves, cuffs, facings, or pockets. 

    As long as you take it out of the bag, it probably won't degrade further, but you probably can't restore it, either.  If you launder it at this point, you'll get a good idea of the total extent of the damage and can decide whether it's worth using for a garment.

    1. nmog | | #6

      The fabric is out of that bag! I am not sure if I can use it in small pieces, but it might make a unique wrap.Thanks for your help!

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