Originally Posted by Talossa
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.
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.