Dyeing Clothes??? Ideas/Experience/Advice

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Dyeing Clothes??? Ideas/Experience/Advice

Post by sigsi on Tue Sep 01, 2015 12:50 am

So I found a blythe dress that I think would be perfect for my doll. It is white and made of dupioni silk. I have a very particular blue I want this dress to be (a medium soft blue), so I will need to dye it. Is there anyone out there with any ideas for how to dye this? I haven't ever dyed anything before, so I'd appreciate any advice.
I've read some places that it is possible to dye cotton (human) clothes with acrylic paints, rubbing alcohol and salt. Supply wise I have acrylic paint, watercolor pencils, and Liquitex Professional Matte Varnish (also rubbing alcohol and food coloring Rolling Eyes ). I would able to get Rit dye if needed.
Thanks Smile


Last edited by sigsi on Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Dyeing Clothes??? Ideas/Experience/Advice

Post by jupiternames on Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:49 am

Hi Sigsi! I would recommend using Rit since it is made for natural fibres. I have dyed cotton with acrylic paint before, but I don't think the texture is as nice as with Rit. In my experience the paint stiffens the fabric up. The Rit dye website has a lot of good tips on how to dye various materials and the package comes with directions printed on the inside of the box. I don't know if you would need to mix dyes to get the right color or just adjust the water content. Also, there is a nice Pantone section that can help you mix the right color.

My favorite tip is that you can test the color by dipping a paper towel into your dye bath before adding your fabric. Dying can be nerve wracking!

Just another thought, hopefully not too annoying--do you have any Blythe or does the seller have a Makie? Sometimes the clothes sharing doesn't work that well. I'd do an information post on it, but I don't have a Blythe. If this is something people really want though, I could have my parents send me my old Licca-chan.

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Re: Dyeing Clothes??? Ideas/Experience/Advice

Post by jupiternames on Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:55 am

jupiternames wrote:I have dyed cotton with acrylic paint before, but I don't think the texture is as nice as with Rit. In my experience the paint stiffens the fabric up. 

But I don't know if I was doing the acrylic paint dying right or just doing it my way. It could be that there is a nice way to do it?

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Re: Dyeing Clothes??? Ideas/Experience/Advice

Post by nattherat on Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:47 am

I don't think there's a way you can make acrylic paint work - quite frankly it just isn't intended for that use. I think you'll always find that it forms a solid stiff layer that will eventually crack/crinkle on fabric.

You're definitely better off with rit dye, or other dyes specifically made for textile use!

I'd second the suggestion of double checking whether the dress would fit. There can be some crossover between Blythe and Makies, but I don't think it's safe to rely on. When I commissioned the clothes for my makies, Blythe patterns were okay to use as a base (because similar proportions), but they DID have to be altered to take the chunkier bodies of makies into account. Definitely check first!
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Re: Dyeing Clothes??? Ideas/Experience/Advice

Post by sigsi on Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:23 pm

Thanks you both for your replies. Initially, I was leaning towards Rit dye, but was used to acrylics in general so thought I'd check. As you all said, Rit sounds like it will have the most appealing texture outcome though so I will most likely go with that. Smile Thanks again jupiternames for the Rit information/tips
Now to the sizing, I do not have any Blythe dolls actually. I was just going off of what I read somewhere else on the forums about what will fit a Makie doll. I didn't even think of checking initially, but definitely will now. The seller doesn't have a Makie/make Makie clothing, so I will probably ask for the sizing around the waist/arms. The dress is a babydoll style dress, so I am hoping it shall still work out.
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Re: Dyeing Clothes??? Ideas/Experience/Advice

Post by sigsi on Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:24 pm

Well the dress finally arrived, it fits almost perfectly, just have to adjust the straps a bit. Now another question before I order some dye...
Would you guys recommend a powder dye or liquid dye?
Why? (Any pros/cons would be great to Smile )
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Re: Dyeing Clothes??? Ideas/Experience/Advice

Post by jupiternames on Thu Sep 24, 2015 5:22 am

I would pick up a small sample of similar silk if your local fabric store has any. It's always safest to test-dye, but even if you don't have anything, plain cotton in white could also give you an idea. Or paper towels, dipped in.

Anyway, I've never actually used liquid Rit for a true dye job, only to touch up Theral's elbows and knees after I had dyed her. I really like the powder. It's cheaper and still does a great job. One reason I've kept using powder aside from pure habit is that I can easily save any remaining dye in a bag, in its original box without worrying about it evaporating or spilling. That way, even years later I can reproduce my work. The liquid could be more user friendly since it is already dissolved dye, but again, I can't really say.

Since I'm not sure how bright or dark your blue is, I'm not entirely sure how to advise you. But I would say that both the liquid and the powder are likely to work about the same and both recommend adding white vinegar if you're dyeing silk. Though, that is likely to make the color more vibrant. Adding vinegar helps silk (and nylon) to take the color. And whatever color you want, I'd also suggest wetting the fabric first, then stirring and pushing the fabric under the surface constantly while it's in the dye. It's the best way to get an even dye job. I've also bought all special dyeing supplies--a pot, measuring spoons, and a slotted spoon and strainer all from the thrift store so I don't have to use my kitchenware. You could get away with gladware or an old plastic tub and a plastic spoon if you'e not going to use the stovetop method. Afterwards, I'd recommend rinsing the dress in gradually cooler water until the water runs clean and then washing it after that.

I've noticed that diluting the dye isn't as powerful as you might think. Maybe you've got a cup (8oz) of dye in water, but if you double the volume by adding 8oz of water, you won't get 50% lighter if it's at the same temperature. In my experience, you can get a lighter color by cooling the dye or by dissolving your dye in a small amount of hot water, then adding it to a larger volume of room temperature water. I mean, you can always add less dye in the first place, but it's just surprising how little can make such a vibrant color when using the stovetop method.

Oh, and the really high heat dyebaths that everyone seems to use for Makies is because the Makie nylon gets speckles if there is a blue element to the dye and people have found that higher temperatures can keep this from happening. I've never seen speckling with fabric before. I'd still dissolve the powder in near-boiling water, though, even if you have to cool it afterward by adding more water.

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Re: Dyeing Clothes??? Ideas/Experience/Advice

Post by jupiternames on Thu Sep 24, 2015 5:26 am

I buy all my dye at Michael's or JoAnn's, in case that helps. It's way cheaper than Amazon.

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Re: Dyeing Clothes??? Ideas/Experience/Advice

Post by sigsi on Fri Sep 25, 2015 4:50 pm

Thanks for all the advice/tips Smile I think I'll test the coloring out on a white sock I found. As long it is about the color I am aiming for, it'll be okay.
Sadly I can't get out to a Michael's or a JoAnn's anytime soon, so I'm checking around eBay for dye. By the colors listed on Pantone Seasonal Colors that you suggested in an earlier comment (which I had no idea existed/now love). These are the colors I am considering:

I think I am going to go with the top one of 2015.
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Re: Dyeing Clothes??? Ideas/Experience/Advice

Post by ForestGreen on Sat Sep 26, 2015 12:10 am

You might want to use a scrap of silk to test the color with. Cotton and silk sometimes take color differently.

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Re: Dyeing Clothes??? Ideas/Experience/Advice

Post by sigsi on Sat Sep 26, 2015 1:41 am

ForestGreen wrote:You might want to use a scrap of silk to test the color with. Cotton and silk sometimes take color differently.
Okay thanks. I am going to have to go dig around for some silk now  Razz
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Re: Dyeing Clothes??? Ideas/Experience/Advice

Post by sigsi on Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:10 pm

Mini-update: The sleeves of the dress didn't quite fit over her shoulders at first, so they needed to be extended (thank goodness the person who made it had extra sleeve thread in the bodice of the dress). Now I am just waiting for my dye to arrive, which should arrive by the end of this week. Smile

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