Stovetop Dyeing for Poly/Cotton Blends Question
  • Hey folks,

    iDye was suggested to me by a friend for a costume I am working on. My goal is to dye a chef's jacket a light to medium gray. It will eventually have rust colored patches painted along the seams and some weathering added.

    The goal is to get something wearable that still looks like iron.

    Think Tin Woodsman from Wizard of Oz meets Iron Chef with a steampunk flare to it.

    The jacket itself is a 65/35 Poly/Cotton blend.

    My quandary is that iDye Poly doesn't come in gray and I am afraid that mixing with black will make it *too* dark. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance.
  • You could get a 35% intensity gray, which is a light gray, with white stitching at the seams, by dyeing your 65% poly/35% cotton with a black Procion MX dye, which works only on cotton, not on polyester. Since it would color only the cotton, and not the polyester, you would get 35% as much color as you would get on pure cotton.

    Or, you could get a 65% intensity gray, which is a dark gray, with black stitching at the seams, by boiling the shirt with black iDye Poly. Since it would dye only the polyester, and not the cotton, you would get 65% as much color as you would get on pure polyester.

    Don't confuse iDye with iDye Poly. iDye, without the Poly, works only on natural fiber, so it will have effects similar to the Procion MX dye, though it's more trouble since it must be boiled while the Procion MX dye doesn't require cooking at all, and it's less washfast (not that that matters much for a costume).

    You need to combine the iDye with the iDye Poly only if you want to dye both fibers, which would be necessary only for trying to get a true black, instead of gray.

    One caveat: different black dyes produce different shades of gray when not dyed to 100% intensity. Some produce a bluish gray, some a greenish gray, some a purplish gray, some a brownish gray. It's rare to get a true neutral gray by using a black dye. I don't know which hues the iDye Poly black and the iDye black tend toward.

    -Paula
  • Luckily, I'm not hugely worried about a true neutral gray. A cool gray would work best (bluish tinge to it) rather than a Warm or French gray anyway. I just need something that is darker than white but quite a bit lighter than pure black if that makes sense?

    I think I may just go with the Procion as long as I can find it in a store offline. It'll be less than the iDye. (I am on a tighttighttight budget)