Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Dyeing Clothes made from Polyester Fabric

Here we include tips on how to dye polyester clothing with Fibrecrafts Disperse Dyes and Jacquard iDye Poly Dyes.

Things to Concider when Dyeing Polyester Clothes

  1. Firstly you need to be absolutely certain about the type of fabric and select a dye which will work on it. Polyester has to be dyed using Disperse dyes in boiling water. These dyes are formulated to dye polyester or nylon but will not dye natural fibres such as cotton thread that may have been used to sew the garment.
  2. Patterns, stains, logos, bleach marks, and faded or worn patches may still be discernible after dyeing, even if dark coloured dyes are used.
  3. The base colour of the fabric will affect the final colour. Understanding colour theory will help you to understand what the final results will be. For example, dyeing yellow fibres blue will result in a shade of green. In addition, the end colour of the chosen dye colour will vary by how much dye is used and the length of time the fabric is in the dye bath.
  4. The fabric needs to be prepared for dyeing. This means that starches, sizing or finishes need to be removed from the fabric.

Dyeing Polyester Clothes that have been previously dyed


Fabric that has been dyed yellow will turn to a shade of green if it is dyed with a blue colour. The shade of green will vary depending on the shade of yellow and blue that are combined.

Polyester is a popular fabric for designers because pleats and shapes can be fixed in the fabric with heat. Dyeing polyester garments, such as the dress below, may alter the heat-set shapes because the Disperse dye needs boiling water to make the colour permanent.


Mixing Dye Colours


This tie-dye shows how combining colours will create other colours. It is cotton fabric which has been dyed using Procion MX dyes.

Yellow and blue have combined to make green, blue and pink have combined to make purple, and yellow and pink have combined to make red. This colour theory also applies to disperse dyes when used on polyester and acid dyes when used on silk or wool.

If you would like to experiment with disperse dyes, undyed polyester is available from the website. The fabric is suitable for heat-moulding and 3D shibori techniques, or it can be painted using heat transfer paints which are made from disperse dyes.

Which Dyes for Polyester Fabric?


If you would like to dye polyester, George Weil sell Fibrecrafts Disperse Dyes and Jacquard iDye Poly Dyes. You will find colour charts on the website which are provided as an indication of colour.

Please note that as there are many factors to consider when dyeing ready-made polyester garments the end results are beyond our control.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Basic Colour Theory

Understanding a little about colour theory can help you to decide which colours to choose for art or craft projects. The success of a project, whether it be woven cloth or a watercolour painting, can be determined by choosing the best colour relationships.

Primary Colours

The primary colours red, yellow and blue are the only colours that cannot be made by mixing together other colours. They can be mixed in different combinations to create other colours in the spectrum.


Secondary Colours

Secondary colours are made by mixing any two of the primary colours in equal quantities:

red + yellow = orange
yellow + blue = green
blue + red = violet

There are now 6 colours on the colour wheel which include the 3 primary colours and the 3 secondary colours.


Tertiary Colours

By combining the neighbour of any of the primary or secondary colours in equal quantities, we can add a further six colours to the colour wheel. These are called tertiary colours.

yellow + orange = yellow-orange
orange + red = red-orange
red + violet = red-violet
violet + blue = blue-violet
blue + green = blue-green
green + yellow = yellow-green


Tints, Tones and Shades

Further hues of a colour can be created by adding black, grey or white. In colour theory, black and white are not considered to be colours. Colours are created by the reflection and emission of light and defined by how the eye and brain interpret them. Black means there is no light and white is pure light.

Adding black to a colour will produce a shade of the original colour, making it darker. White will lighten a colour and create a tint. Tones are made by mixing colours with grey (black & white). Another way to darken a colour is to add some of its complementary colour (see next paragraph).


Choosing Colours for Design - Colour Relationships

Colour theory can also help you to decide which colours to use in design. The colour relationships below will help with choosing combinations that are pleasing to the eye.

Complementary colours are pairs of colours that contrast with each other more than any other colour, and make each other appear brighter when placed next to each other. These complementary colours appear opposite each other on the colour wheel i.e. blue and orange.

Each of the pairs of complementary colours contain one cool colour and one warm colour. When placed side by side, the warm colours of oranges, reds and yellows create a simultaneous contrast with the cool colours of blues, greens and purples.



Other colour relationships include monochromatic, which is shades and tints of the same colour, and analogous which are colours located next to each other on the colour wheel.

Colour theory is a complex subject and barely covered in this post. We recommend Shirley Williams' website Color Wheel Artist and Janet L Ford Shallbetter's website worqx.com for further information on this fascinating subject.