Tips & Tricks dyeing silk

Discussion in 'Costuming and Props' started by Sakara, Aug 13, 2005.

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  1. Sakara Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2005
    star 2
    I bought this gorgeous soft drapy textured silk to make a jedi tunic for my friend, but she wanted it dyed a terracotta colour. So dyed it was. But now it seems to have lost its softness and taken on the texture of crunchy paper!...Ive tried using a softener to soften it but to no luck.
    Has anyone had this happen to them when they dyed silk? is there anyway to get rid of the crunchy texture and make it soft again..?

    help!
  2. JainaMSolo Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2001
    star 3
    How, specifically, did you dye the silk? Sink? Washing machine? How did you rinse and dry it? Have you ironed it yet?
  3. Sakara Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2005
    star 2
    I used a machine dye, that said it was good with silks. ive since washed it again to try and soften it and have recently ironed it aswell..that softened a bit but not back to its orginal drapyness, its still quite stiff.
  4. JainaMSolo Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2001
    star 3
    Hm. Ironing, for me, has always worked to restore the texture. I'd say it sounds like you have some excess dye still in your fabric, but if you've washed it several times then that's probably not the case.
  5. Koshka-the-Cat Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2002
    star 1
    You might want to try Millsoft, it's an industrial fabric softener and it's available from http://www.dharmatrading.com

    The silk for my Eowyn travelling coat was incredibly crunchy after being dyed, and that fixed it.

    Also, I've never tried this so if you do it, do a swatch first, but I've heard hair conditioner works really well to soften dyed silks as well...
  6. Sakara Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2005
    star 2
    Ah i have a good bit left over so ill try the hair conditioner trick on a piece, I see how it could work since silk is a natural animal fibre...

  7. SWCostumer Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2005
    star 2
    What dye did you use? The correct dye for silk (and any animal protein fiber) is acid dye. I have dyed over 100 yards of various silk and pounds of ostrich feathers and have never gotten a crunchy result. Plus I have used both stove top and washing machine methods (depending on yardage being dyed) and both produced the same result.

    I can only think that there was something in the dye or the activating agent that has reacted with the silk.
  8. Sakara Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2005
    star 2
    Since the ONLY dye i can get here easily in the UK is Dylon i used the machine dye. It said it was ok for silk.
    if you know of any suppliers of acid dye in the UK id be more that grateful for their addresses.
  9. Neimhaille Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 12, 2002
    star 3
    Their cold water dye is fine, I also like Dylon's stove top. I've never used the machine stuff, but it really shouldn't have affected your silk that way. I don't know what the componants of the dye are for the machine, but with cold water you need to use a *lot* of salt. And that salt can just lie between the fibres and require a really good washing to come out. I have some dupioni that this happened with. But soaking then washing with fabric softener helped it. I'm wondering if it also reacted to some treatment of the silk by the manufactorers?

    Do you have any of the silk left over to test with some washing and soaking in salt water? It may help pinpoint the actual problem to help decide your next course of action.


    A really good quality deep conditioner (redken, kerastase etc) could help. I find it can do wonders with even non animal fibres! I also use it as a leave in treatment for my fabrics;)
  10. Sakara Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2005
    star 2
    yeah im wondering if simply soaking it in a conditioner then rinsing would do the trick. thats what im going to try with a swatch of the leftover fabric to see if it softens it...
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