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Unread 02-24-2013, 11:48 AM   #1
Talossa
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A couple questions about gradient dyeing

I'm going to be gradient dyeing a kimono, starting from a light yellow at the top, down to orange, then red at the very bottom. I've looked through the forum archive, but I still have a couple questions.

1) Do I dye the fabric, then sew the garment, or do I sew the garment, then dye it? I know if I were dyeing it all just one color it would be dye then sew, but I'm not sure how to get the best results with regards to dyeing a gradient.

2) A lot of the threads I saw said this would only work well on natural fibers, not synthetics. However, said threads were also all quite ancient, and I don't know if my options for dyes are different than they would have been 10 years ago. Is this still the case, or are there now dyes that would give me good results with a synthetic fabric as well?

Thank you!
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Unread 02-24-2013, 02:23 PM   #2
Evil Bishounen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talossa View Post
Do I dye the fabric, then sew the garment, or do I sew the garment, then dye it? I know if I were dyeing it all just one color it would be dye then sew, but I'm not sure how to get the best results with regards to dyeing a gradient.
Depends on how you want the gradient to cover the kimono. If you want the body and sleeves to have the same vertical shift (in which case, the bottom of the kimono will be darker and more red than the bottom of the sleeves), you could dye the finished kimono.

The thing is though, finished kimonos can get quite heavy, especially if you fully line it and do those long furisode sleeves. It partially depends on the type of fabric you use....and when fabric is wet, it becomes even heavier. But, the weight and/or the sheer size of the garment could make it difficult to control.

Another option is to cut your fabric yardage into sections so you can dye it before sewing it up. I don't mean cut your kimono panels all out and dye them; just cut blocks of yardage that you will later cut your pattern pieces from. (You might have one block that will be for body panels, another that will be for sleeves, etc.) This will be lighter in weight and easier to control.


Quote:
2) A lot of the threads I saw said this would only work well on natural fibers, not synthetics. However, said threads were also all quite ancient, and I don't know if my options for dyes are different than they would have been 10 years ago. Is this still the case, or are there now dyes that would give me good results with a synthetic fabric as well?
There is one dye out now that works on polyester. It's a Jacquard brand dye called iDye Poly. (This is not to be confused with regular iDye, which is meant for cotton.) I have not used it myself so I can't personally vouch for effectiveness or problems, but what I can tell you based on a quick Internet search is that it comes in a packet meant for a washing machine. You'll have to cut it open and pot-dye it on the stove to do gradient dyeing with it. It comes in very limited colors, but it does come in yellow, orange, and red. And apparently it smells really, really bad.

There are many more options available for natural fibers, though. All my own dyeing has been with either silk or cotton, and the method required for procion dye (cellulose fabrics) lends itself better to gradient dyeing. Procion dye does not require the stove and can be done pretty much anywhere.
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Unread 02-24-2013, 04:42 PM   #3
guardianterra
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If you want the whole thing after you sew it, I would recommend doing it out doors...less mess and less fuss then trying to do it in a bucket on the stove...Heat your dye inside and then carry it out or heat it on the grill so there is less chance of getting all over the house. Upside is then the house don't smell like dye...

Also if you do sew and then dye it will get the thread the same color.

I would invest in a dowel to hang it on when you do this. That way it keep the sleeves out and give you some thing other then the garment to hold and you will get a more even dye. Also if you have a place to hook it you don't have to hold it when it is soaking leaving your hands free to agitate the stuff in the dye.

The other option is to use spray bottles with the dye. Do your over all dye and then spray on the gradient. Again out doors and put down a drop cloth.

If you haven't got the fabric yet I honestly would get natural fiber...you will be happier with the results and cooler in the long run.

Either way make a test batch to see if you like how the dye layers and looks. Nothing worse then ruining the whole thing if say the dye wouldn't take or layer the way you want.
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Unread 02-24-2013, 08:09 PM   #4
Talossa
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Excellent, thanks so much!

I am planning on doing this outdoors, because there's really no safe place to set up anything like this in my house, and I've already figured out a good setup. I do agree that doing the whole thing at once might be a bit unwieldy (I'm most concerned about there being enough room for proper circulation in the dyebath) The suggestion of doing it in sections seems really good; I think I'm going to try that, thank you!

I haven't yet bought the fabric. I've never made a kimono before and I researched fabric options but it was all a bit overwhelming! This definitely helps to narrow things down - I'll be looking for natural fibers, then. Thanks again!
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Unread 02-25-2013, 02:20 PM   #5
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One last note, if you're going to sew and then dye, just make sure your sewing thread isn't polyester. Most threads these days are all polyester or polyester coated. I can find cotton (or at least cotton covered) and silk near me, and they'll both accept the dye more readily than polyester. I've done projects that required being sewn first, and none of my threads dyed (I didn't expect them to, though, so everything worked out).
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