I don't wanna wear a pepto pink dress!
April 12, 2010 5:42 AM   Subscribe

Dyeing fabric that has intricate sequin-type work on it.

I got my custom-made dress yesterday, and while gorgeous, it's the wrong color! Sending it back to get it fixed is out of the question, unfortunately. I want to have it re-dyed from a bright pink to this deep red [pic]. The problem is, the fabric has intricate zardozi (sequin and bead) work on it, and it's banarasi (has gold thread woven into it) [pic--the zardozi is the leaf design, and the banarasi is the circle of golden thread to the left]. I don't want the delicate work to get ruined. I don't mind if the golds get dulled a little, though. The work is all over the fabric, as you can see here. Any recommendations on how to approach re-dyeing this fabric? I don't want to attempt doing it myself because I'll most likely ruin it. I'm in North Jersey (close to NYC) if anyone has any recommendations.
posted by asras to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would not recommend re-dying this, certainly not yourself. I hate to say it, but you may just have to live with it or buy a new one that's closer to your desired color.
posted by pomegranate at 6:15 AM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

What kind of fabric is it? You may have more or less success depending on what it's made of.
posted by that girl at 6:18 AM on April 12, 2010

Banarsi can usually be dyed as long as the weave is in metallics, no problem. The zardozi -- I'd be most worried about the thread though sometimes sequins can also take dye. Do you know if it's silk or an artificial fibre? If the latter, it should be fine.

I'd suggest going to your local Indian dress shops in an area with a large South Asian population. They should be able to tell you if you can/ should risk it, and might be able to hook you up with a dyer. Indian, or at at least Pakistani, dressmakers are used to having to dye materials since they use different fabrics for different elements of the garment.

The material looks like a net? If so, be prepared that the red might not come out very rich. In my experience there's something about net which just kills intense dyes. But maybe I had a rubbish dyer then, who knows.
posted by tavegyl at 6:23 AM on April 12, 2010

Is the dress washable? You can't dye anything that is not washable. Imagine what will happen if the fabric shrinks just a little: the embroidery will become too large for the underlying fabric, which will ruin it. In addition, if the dress is lined, then the lining is likely to shrink either more or less than the outer layer, ruining its shape.

Even if the dress is washable, it's impossible to tell whether it's dyeable without knowing the fiber content of the fabric. If it's made of silk or rayon, it should be possible to dye the fabric without dyeing the metallics or the sequins. Contact Metro Custom Dyeing in New York to ask whether they can do it.

However, if the fabric is made of polyester, then the only type of dye that will work is disperse dye, which requires extensive boiling with the fabric, and which will dye many plastics, including the plastics that sequins are made of. It's hard to imagine intricate beadwork or embroidery being undamaged by boiling. Furthermore, there is no custom dyer that I know of anywhere that is willing to dye polyester garments that are not white to start out with. Very few custom dyers are willing to touch polyester at all.
posted by Ery at 8:10 AM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

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