Wanted black, got purple
  • Hi, I was dyeing two cotton dresses using iDye in a top loading washing machine. I followed all the directions, used very hot water, let them agitate and soak for a long time, but they both came out plum-colored--definitely not black. I knew it was unlikely they'd really get black, but I thought the failure color would be more like gray than purple. I redyed one of them with a new packet and had it soak for quite a time, but it remained purple.

    is there anything to be done? I don't want two purple dresses! I would love to get at least one of them to a muddier, drab color. Should I put them through with brown dye maybe?

    I also have two other things--one is white cotton and one is a khaki polyester, I bought black iDye for them too (the cotton kind for the cotton one and the polyester kind for the polyester one), I wanted to dye them both black too, but obviously I think I won't do that now. ANy suggestions for the previously dyed stuff and for the stuff I haven't yet dyed?

    I live in NYC in a very small apartment and don't have room to do annything elaborate (plus fear of staining something and losing my security deposit). I did the iDye while housesitting for a friend, in her machine (with permission). I will probably be out there again later this summer and would like to try again if you guys have any thoughts.

    thanks!
  • As a general rule, you need to use two to four times as much dye, no matter what kind of dye you are using, if you want to get black, because black is darker than any other color. You'd probably get blacker, less purple results if you use more dye.

    If you want to overdye your purple dresses to get a more neutral color, use the opposite color on the color wheel, which is yellow. Yellow combines with purple to make black, or at least to make a darker, more neutral, color, depending on whether you've used enough dye. To counter a bluish violet, use a golden yellow; to counter a reddish violet, use a lemon yellow color.

    I don't like the idea of iDye for cotton as much as I like Procion MX dyes and other fiber reactive dyes. You can really get a black black with Procion MX dyes without having to work very hard at it, though of course you have to use more dye powder for a good rich black than for any other color. Procion MX dyes are much easier to use because they do not require hot water, so they can be applied in a bucket if it's more convenient for you. All-purpose dyes dyes (such as iDye for natural fibers) are never as washfast as fiber reactive dyes, and they work best when applied in nearly boiling water and when followed by the use of a cationic dye fixative to make it more able to withstand washing without fading.

    Although I recommend Procion MX dye for your remaining cotton dress, I don't recommend it for your polyester dress, because, like most other dyes, Procion dyes do not work on polyester. Polyester can be dyed only with special polyester dye. The iDye Poly is easier to find than other polyester dyes. It will require boiling with the fabric for best results; I don't think it is likely to work well in a washing machine, since the temperatures a washing machine gets are nowhere near boiling. Other dyes, such as all-purpose dyes or fiber reactive dyes, will not work at all on polyester, so iDye Poly is probably your best bet for dyeing polyester clothing. The hard part is finding a suitable cooking pot that you won't be reusing for food.

    Paula
  • yaaaaa! Paula to the rescue!

    anet
  • thanks! I don't want this to turn into a giant project, which is why the iDye appealed. I might try going over it once more with yellow, thanks!