Can I dye a silk shirt?
August 25, 2006 9:38 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to dye a silk blouse. Any thoughts? Any suggestions for an appropriate brand of dye, or should I not attempt this at all?
posted by puddinghead to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total)
Dharma Trading Company sells dye for silk and has instructions for tub dying on their website. Silk dyes very nicely- it's sometimes a little difficult to know exactly how the color will turn out without a test strip though.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:59 PM on August 25, 2006

I second the Dharma Trading Company suggestion. Wash the garment with this stuff if you're concerned about an even tone. In my experience, it really makes a difference--even freshly laundered fabric can have enough crap (detergent/soap residue, fabric softener, lip balm that was in your pocket in the dryer last winter) on it to make for splotchy dyeing.
This won't be cheap, at least not like dumping a packet of Rit and some salt or whatever into the washing machine, so make sure it's worth the expense, or find other things that you'd like to dye the same color.
And please, please don't tye-dye anything.
posted by pullayup at 12:45 AM on August 26, 2006

By 'won't be cheap' I meant maybe $20, with shipping..I didn't intend to scare you off.
posted by pullayup at 12:48 AM on August 26, 2006

Excellent! Thanks for the help.
posted by puddinghead at 1:16 AM on August 26, 2006

I've used Procion Dye for many years and silk in particular is a dream to dye. I prefer a more mottled, uneven, hand dyed look myself and you can scrunch silk, apply the dye with a brush or dip it in multiple colors. Combining colors gives you a greater, much richer palette than is available with commercially dyed fabrics. I've used hand dyed materials to make fantastic sofa cushions, quilts, and wall hangings.

The problem with dying a ready made garment however is usually the thread takes the dye differently than the material. This means that you will have contrasting (usually lighter) thread at the seams, hems and buttonholes.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:19 AM on August 26, 2006

Silk will dye beautifully, providing the thread is also made with a natural fiber. Even with a cheap dye like RIT (though the colors tend to be way off on cheap dyes like that.)
posted by criticalsass at 12:54 PM on August 26, 2006

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