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Dyeing White or Off-White Linen/Linen Blends Grey?
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Boudicca (Jennifer Bagosy)
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:16 pm    Post subject: Dyeing White or Off-White Linen/Linen Blends Grey? Reply with quote

Hi -

I finally took the plunge and taught myself to use a sewing machine and made myself a new Jedi outer tunic & tabbards. I used a brown loosely-woven linen/cotton blend instead of the cotton gauze because I thought a less-stretchy fabric would be easier to work with for a newbie. And I'm very happy with the way it turned out! (Still need to get pics uploaded!)

But now I would like to make a grey tunic for my husband, and am having a heck of a time finding/dyeing the right fabric. Apparently grey natural fabrics like linen and cotton gauze are "out of season" for at least 2-3 more months, so we tried taking some off-white linen and using liquid black Rit dye. It turned the fabric a very interesting blue-grey that is definitely more blue than grey. I was thinking of trying Pearl Grey Rit Dye next (the liquid, just because it seems far less messy and complicated than the powder) but before I mess up another 4-5 yards of linen, I wanted to see if anyone had any advice as to whether this will work or whether I should use another dye product instead...

Alternatively, given that the first batch turned out blue-grey, is there a dye I can use on top of it to make it go grey? Or should I just start over with a new batch of white or off-white fabric?

Thanks!
Jen
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Mara Skywalker (Anna)
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've used the Dylon machine dyes on lots of fabric with good results Smile Easy to use, you can blend the colours, and it doesn't ruin your washer Smile
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SithariRog (Roger Allen)
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Contratulations on getting a sewing machine AND sewing your first Jedi costume!


As for dyeing fabric...I swear by the dyes and dyeing systems and tutorials available through Dharma Trading Company (a reputable company that I've never had a problem with with respect to ordering any of their products, or even talking with some of their technical representatives for pointers and how to's):

http://www.dharmatrading.com/

Dyeing is chemistry and (for fiber-based fabrics, e.g., cottons) salt and fixers are recommended.

Like I said, there are some wonderful tutorials on their site for using all of their dyes and they've got a LOT of dyes! (They also have fabrics Wink ) The only thing I would recommend is that you scale a recipe down and dye a small amount to test it first. Then (being ever so careful) scale the dye recipe up so you get the same color.

I also consider dyeing an art (as well as chemistry), and not being an expert there's usually a number of...colorful metaphors involved.

Be sure to dye THEN go buy a matching thread. and...


Good Luck!
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Mara Skywalker (Anna)
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SithariRog wrote:
Be sure to dye THEN go buy a matching thread. and...


Good Luck!


alternatively, I've begun using a beige/white cotton thread when sewing stuff I know I'll be dying later on Smile The thread takes colour just like the fabric, and you end up with a good match (and not having to buy tons of threads in different colours Smile )
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SithariRog (Roger Allen)
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IF you buy a thread that will take up the color. Many polyesters don't dye well...and many threads (at least those around my area, which is limited because I live out in the boonies) area a cotton/polyester blend...so I don't chance it. I dye first, then get thread.

And...be aware of dyeing purchased clothing. A friend building a Jedi bought some REALLY nice...and I mean NICE khakis pants from a local thrift store for $2.98. He dyed them gray and...the thread didn't dye, it remained a light beige...which looks funny.
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Mara Skywalker (Anna)
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well, that's why I wrote cotton Wink You need to make sure it is a cotton thread, then it will take dye Smile

it is true when dyeing purchased clothing, you have to remember that the thread wont take colour. It CAN look good, if you use it as an effect, but otherwise, it's better to make your own, if you don't want the light thread in your things Smile
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Boudicca (Jennifer Bagosy)
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the advice, Roger & Anna!

SithariRog wrote:
Contratulations on getting a sewing machine AND sewing your first Jedi costume!
!


Thanks so much! And Roger, your pattern tutorial and Dreycon Dell's super-basic sewing tutorial made it possible for me to do this! Would have had no clue how to even attempt this otherwise! So thank you for putting that great information out there!

I will definitely give the Dylon machine dye a try first, in the hopes that something that simple might actually work out Smile I see they have an Antique Grey dye. Could I just use the grey as-is or would you recommend mixing any other colors in?

If that doesn't work, I can give Dharma a try, & hope the learning curve won't be too steep (like you mentioned, it's chemistry - which unfortunately was never my best subject!)

Agreed it probably would've been better to test it out on a sample swatch first, but since the dye works in terms of pounds of fabric rather than inches/yards, will probably have to use a small postal scale to do the math...

Also, I will almost certainly wait to buy the thread until after the fabric is dyed, just to be safe!

Thank you both again for the good advice!

Jen
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Skywalker2B ()
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JenB,

I looked all over for green cotton gauze material for my costume. Couldn't find it anywhere. So, I ended up purchasing white cotton gauze and several bottles of different shades of Rit green dye (there were only a couple shades available). I then did a lot of research online as to how to dye fabric. I'll add some of those links below.

I first washed the fabirc on delicate with a fabric softener. Then I cut up several small (about 1' x 1') squares of fabric to test for the right color and to see what I could do with the dyes. I got the recipes for the dye mixing and boiled a cup of water, added the right amount of salt, then the teaspoons of dye, stirred it up in a plastic bucket I didn't mind staining, and then put in the fabric. Wearing rubber surgical gloves, I stirred the fabric around over and over, making sure to get a nice even color. It took me several tries to get the color I wanted. BTW, I wrote it all down as I did it so I could reproduce it in bigger quantities. Once I had the right color, I put in the fabric I would be using for the tunic and repeated the process with the larger portions of water, salt, and dye. I didn't reuse the test mix, just poured it out and made new batches each time. I stirred the fabric in the mixture for about 20 minutes and then rinsed in warm and then cool water until the rinse water came through clear. I then rung out as much of the water as possible and then hung the fabric out to dry (versus using a dryer).

NOTE: Remember I said that I boiled the water? I stirred the fabric in the dye mix by hand. I had to have the cold water running to to cool my hands down every few seconds.

A few notes:

1. Blue and Yellow didn't give me a nice green color as expected.
2. Light Green with some Black didn't give me dark green.
3. The longer you stir the fabric in the mixture the darker the color will turn out.
4. If the color is too light, you can mix up a new batch and put the fabric in longer to get a darker color.
5. If you can't get the right color by mixing Rit dyes, try a different brand.

Ok, here's the links:

http://www.ritdye.com/colorit_color_formula_guide
http://www.ritdye.com/dyeing-techniques/sink-or-bucket
http://www.ritdye.com/dyeing-techniques/using-colorit-color-formula-guide

Hope that helps.
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Boudicca (Jennifer Bagosy)
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just realized I hadn't responded to this one yet! Thank you Steve for the good advice!

So here's what happened. We realized after reading these posts that this would take a good bit of experimentation. So we went to Joann's, and unfortunately the only brand they carry is Rit Sad We thought about ordering Dylon or Dharma online, but the disadvantage there was that I have a pretty limited window in which I'll have time to make this tunic before work starts to get crazy....

So, hubby decided to take the lead on the dye experiment. He said that since grey appeared to be too difficult to accomplish, he'd go for a green tunic instead.

We bought some white linen, and some green Rit dyes to play with. The checkout clerk said, "I hope you're not thinking you'll actually get *that* linen to look like *that* green!" She said linen doesn't hold dye well at all, which we already knew. We told her we weren't expecting a brilliant green; muted color was fine. She recommended putting two bottles of dark green liquid Rit in the washer, along with a package of the powder black. But she warned that she had no idea what would happen.

So after playing around with combos, he ended up with.... grey. Grey with a greenish tinge, but definitely grey. Go figure! In any event, I am now sewing away...

Anyway, thanks to all for all the feedback!
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BWHAHAHAhahaha!!!

You have MY luck!


Well, congratulation! Looking foward to pics of the tunic.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am too! Gray is a hard color to get just right; finding the right shade for my tunic was quite the process. But lo and behold, I found it eventually - a rich taupe, with enough deep gray to give it depth, and a hint of the brown shading to make it look natural and earthy. Gray goes excellently with the browns and tans of a Jedi's gear; it's my favorite neutral tone.

Cool
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was going to write that linen does not dye well but then read that you do already know that. Raw silk would be a better choice. I agree Dharma trading is the best source for fabric dyes. It's too late but there are sources for linen on line:

http://www.fabrics-store.com/

This one is even gray
http://www.fabrics-store.com/first.php?goto=big_fabric&menu=f&menu=f&fabric_id=496

Here are more shades of gray
http://www.fabrics-store.com/first.php?goto=fabricselector&menu=f&sstr=1&type=&content=1&weight=3&color=Grey
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JenB wrote:
So after playing around with combos, he ended up with.... grey. Grey with a greenish tinge, but definitely grey. Go figure! In any event, I am now sewing away...

Anyway, thanks to all for all the feedback!


Haha! Laughing Well, lucky for you that you did want grey in the first place. Wink Share some pics at some time.

I'm suddenly dreading my plans to dye some fabrics for a future project.
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Boudicca (Jennifer Bagosy)
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Lora Skywalker"]
JenB wrote:

Haha! Laughing Well, lucky for you that you did want grey in the first place. Wink Share some pics at some time.


And he's approved with the grey tunic! Here are the pics:

http://www.rebellegion.com/forum/costume.php?mode=view&c=7170
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks good with the grey. Smile
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