this dyeing obsession

After my successful shirt-dyeing session last year, I became obsessed with Dylon Intense Violet and started to plot further dye-based adventures. I went through my wardrobe and picked out all the things that I liked, but didn't love because they were white, pale pink, a pale shade of grey, or otherwise Not Purple Enough.

I wrote down the fabric composition of each item, and then I loaded up the Dylon website and added to my list the best type of dye to use for each item. I decided to start my quest for purplefication with three items. This was mostly because Hobbycraft only had one box of Intense Violet machine dye left, and after the tedium of stirring last time, I decided that I would avoid future hand dyeing whenever possible, so I picked out the items that would get better results from hand dye and resolved to do the rest in the machine.

I checked the weight of the fabric by putting it into a jug on top of electronic kitchen scales. Do not attempt to use bathroom scales to weigh your fabric. They are too imprecise. The first item I chose, along with the scales and jug:

This cardigan was a faded pale pink hand-me-up from my sister and had quite a few random yellow or brownish stains. It's a really good fit though, so I didn't want to throw it away. Perfect candidate for purplefication, and 100% cotton so ideal for machine dye. The other two items I forgot to photograph before I'd already put them into the bowl, but I did take a picture before adding the dye. 

The grey angora/wool/nylon blend cardigan, according to my research, was better suited to hand dye because of the natural fibres. I had no idea how it would come out, because of the nylon content. The other item was a white leotard, or as Topshop (and other brands) insist on calling them, 'body'. Come now. A body is the thing that goes inside the leotard. As you would expect, the leotard had lycra in it, and apparently lycra does not get on well with high temperatures and agitation, so hand dye was again the best option.

So onto the results! The cotton cardigan came out beautifully.

In the photo it looks like the middle section is pinker, that's just my camera. It's actually the same fabulous shade all over. All the stains have disappeared and the whole thing looks refreshed and ready for many more years of wear. A+++ would dye again.

The grey cardigan turned out much better than I was hoping. It's came out more of a pinkish shade, but it's still pretty uniform.

Again, the glowy pinky section in the middle is down to my camera.

The leotard did not come out as well. It's quite patchy, especially by the seams, and the thread it was sown together with didn't take the dye (it's probably polyester), so now it stands out, white as before.

This time the colour variations are not down to my camera. It actually looks like this.

I'm not really concerned though because a) I was never going to wear it as-was, there were too many stains and b) I'll probably wear it under a cardigan or another top, which should hide the imperfections.

All in all, I'd say that this session was very successful, and I look forward to even more adventures with dye! I'm going to write a post with all my fabric dye tips, so if you have any questions, leave a comment or tweet me!

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