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Use Dylon on RTW purchase?

marley | Posted in General Discussion on

Hello- I came across a reference to Dylon cold water dye in the latest issue of Threads. I am looking for a dress for an upcoming wedding. The only one I’ve liked is a white polyester/rayon dress with a burnout poly/cotton jacket. I immediately thought of getting it and dying it, but really don’t have enough experience to feel it’s a reasonable risk. Then I saw the reference to Dylon. The cold water part seems ideal. Does anyone have experience doing something like this? Will I ruin the garment? And where would I find a source for the dye?


  1. carolfresia | | #1

    Marley, I'm not a dyeing expert, but I do know that you'd have to take into consideration the various fibers and fiber blends in the outfit. Synthetics usually accept dye differently from natural fibers, and cellulose fibers differently from animal fibers. The dress and jacket could end up completely different, and the burnout jacket two colors. Of course, if you dye the whole deal in a single color, even if it ends up not matching, the colors will coordinate in some way--if you're willing to risk it! But my guess would be that you're quite unlikely to end up with matching, solid, even tones throughout the ensemble. If the outfit is inexpensive, it could be interesting to experiment, though...

    Someone else out there who uses dyes, please weigh in! Is this a disaster waiting to happen, or an opportunity for a wonderful bit of serendipity?


    1. stitchmd | | #2

      Here's what the box of Dylon doesn't tell you, but does include in the inside instruction sheet: it is suitable for: cotton, linen, vicose rayon, silk, wool and poly/cotton blends. Not suited for:nylon, acrylic, 100%poly or other synthetics, cashmere, mohair, angora or farics with special finishes such as drip-dry, permanent press and easy-care. Not recommended for dry clean only fabrics.

      It also doesn't say on the box that after the dye and rinse you have to wash in VERY HOT WATER. Now how is this a cold water dye? I bought it to use on something I didn't want to shrink. Not only did it end up shrinking, the color did not take well. They also downplay the part about the package color only representing results on white, 100% cotton.

  2. lin327 | | #3

    I've done quite a bit of dyeing on both RTW and on things I've made.  I've had hits and misses in both.  The most success has always been on white natural fibres and on the whole cloth, that is uncut and unsewn.  The simple fact is that polyester can't be dyed.  The colour is added in the liquid stage before the poly goo is extruded into fibres.  (I learned everything I needed to know about polyester from Threads #5)  Natural and natural sourced (ie rayon)  fibres dye the best.  Petroleum and polymer based synthetics don't dye well.

    The little pots of Dylon are what I use when I do t-shirt workshops for teens. They are inexpensive, come in a wide range of colours and they are less toxic than other brands of dyes.  They are easy to work with for beginners.  I've also used them to tye dye peasant and hippy blouses, and to freshen up  uncrested black t-shirts when they start to look faded.  They are also excellent for dying embroidery floss to make custom varigated colours, and for dying knitting wool into custom colours.  The one lesson I learned the hard way is to use cotton thread on a garment that will be dyed.

    Rayon and cotton can be dyed and Dylon can be used.  The cold dye is fibre reactive, that is the dye reacts with and penetrates the fibre, rather than sitting on top of the fibre, like pigment based dyes.  And Dylon can be rinsed in cold water, it  just leaves excess dye behind if you don't rinse long enough.  That can be a problem when you sweat as your skin will become whatever colour the garment is.  If I'm dying something large I use one more dye tin than called for in the instructions, just to be safe.

    Having said that, if you are a novice dyer, leave an expensive RTW garment to a pro.  Check the yellow pages for a dry cleaner that does dying and get their opinion. 

    Dying fabrics is creative, fun, frustrating and challenging.  If you have a tolerance for risk, happy accidents can happen.  Sometimes it's the only way I can get a colour I want.   If you go to Google and type in Fabric dyes or fabric dyeing you'll get hundreds of sites with plenty of information and sources for dyes.  There are other brands out there, some better than others, some more suited to large scale dying. 

    Hope that helped a bit.   Linda.

    1. marley | | #4

      Thanks! It's so great to hear from someone with experience. I won't try this project unless I am at peace with having a total failure. Now I can set this idea aside with no hesitation.

      1. lin327 | | #5

        Glad to help! 

        """"I won't try this project unless I am at peace with having a total failure"""

        That's a wonderful quote!  I think I might have that cross stitched and use it as a motto for my sewing room! 


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