DIY – Dyeing A Nylon/Lycra Blend Dress With Jacquard Acid Dyes
I ordered this dress from Athleta on super sale.
It was only $20 (down from $69!), and it was a size Medium Tall, which I do not usually find in the sale sections. So, I bought it hoping to dye it.
All the dyeing I have done in the past has been with Dharma’s Procion dyes. Procion dyes are really easy to use. Unfortunately, this dress is a nylon/spandex blend, 75/25. This sent me into the scary world of Jacquard Acid Dyes.
This is a scary thing, right? ACID dyes.
As it turns out, it really is not scary. First, I had to find a stainless steel pan that I was willing to never use for food, and it had to be big enough to hold the dress with room to move around. I picked up one secondhand for $10. That seemed like kind of a lot, but I have been scouting the second hand shops for a while, and apparently big stainless steel pans either go fast or don’t get donated very often.
The thing that makes it an acid dye is that you use vinegar. Vinegar is not scary.
First step is to put hot water in a pan (stainless steel or ceramic) and turn on the stove. Then you add the dye to the pot. I used half an ounce of dye, because that was how much I had. Dharma recommends 1/3-2/3 oz per pound of fabric. After mixing the dye in the water so it seemed well dissolved, I put the wet dress in.
After it had been in there for a while and the whole mess was almost boiling (but not, because it is not supposed to actually boil), I poured in 1/4 cup of vinegar. I just used regular white vinegar from my kitchen cabinet. It was only smelly for a minute or so. The directions say not to pour the vinegar on the fabric, so I just kind of mushed the dress over while I poured in the vinegar.
After all that, I just stirred it for half an hour. Pretty easy. And not scary.
Now, the directions are pretty clear in saying that you should keep the temperature between 185-200, and not boiling. I did not have a thermometer that I wanted to put in the dye bath, so I just tried to keep it from boiling. It is possible that once it did get hotter than it was supposed to and I had to turn it down a whole bunch. However, it seems to have turned out okay, so try not to panic if you do this and that happens.
After the half hour, I dumped the whole thing in my laundry sink. There was momentary panic when I saw some of the color completely running off. Then I remembered that the lining of the dress is polyester, so that part was not expected to hold the dye. Whew!
The wooly nylon used in the stitching dyed, but the thread in the needles was likely polyester, that did not hold the dye at all. I think the contrast with the navy blue is okay, though.
I tossed it in the washer with some Synthrapol and hoped for the best.
No blue bubbles, thank goodness.
Here it is all done. It really is a nice navy blue.
Have you used acid dyes? It was much easier than I expected. I am thinking about picking up a purple acid dye and giving tie-dye a try on the second dress I bought.