Dying rayon/nylon/lycra blend dress
  • Hi there,
    Was hoping for a bit of help from those who are more experienced. I have NEVER dyed anything, so any advice is appreciated.

    I have a white/ivory dress that is a rayon/nylon/lycra blend, with a polyester lining. I have bought the idye machine dye, and idye poly dye, (both in the color violet) as well as dye salt, as I was told I can use both dyes at the same time in my washer to dye this sort of material.

    I was also advised to use a high heat (90 degrees C) on an extended wash cycle in order to get the best results.
    The dress actually says "dry clean" on the care tag, but I have washed it a couple times myself in my washer and it has turned out fine.

    Here is my question, what is the likelihood of this dress shrinking significantly when washed in such hot water?

    I really don't want to ruin this dress, it was expensive, however it was bought for a specific event and it had to be white. I will never wear a white dress ever again, which it why I want to dye it a darker color.

    Any help with this would be great, as well as any other advice!
  • First, there is generally a reason why a garment manufacturer lists the item as dry clean only. Even if you have previously washed it, it doesn't mean that it will survive the dyeing process of heat, agitation, shrinkage, etc. (discussed later).

    Second, the dress has several different types of fabrics-all of which may take the dye differently. It is possible that you may end up with different shades of purple on each of the different types of fiber.

    Third, iDye Poly is a hot water dye. In order for maximum color absorption, the stove top method instructions should be followed. While synthetic fibers don't typically shrink, the rayon may shrink when exposed to simmering temperatures. The other concern is that Lycra can be damaged by temperatures above 105 degrees F.

    Its up to you whether or not you want to proceed. If, as you say, it will never be worn again then it may be worth it to try.

    Good luck and if you have any other questions, just ask.
  • Thanks Jenny for the advice.
    I've decided to go through with the dyeing process anyway, because as I said, I didn't really have anything to lose.
    It actually came out really well, it dyed to a very rich dark purple, and as far as I can tell, no shrinkage!
    The lining which is polyester, only dyed to a light purple, but to be honest you can't see it anyway since it's on the inside. I dyed it in the washing machine because I didn't have a container big enough to do it on the stovetop, and I wasn't going to run out and buy one just for this one project. Had I done it on the stove, maybe the polyester would have dyed darker.
    Anyway, I'm really pleased, and surprised, at how well it turned out!
  • You're welcome and I'm glad that it turned out so well!