I had an interesting question from a customer recently about dyeing silk fabric for playsilks and I thought it might be of wider interest.
Celine wanted to dye some playsilks for her daughter’s birthday. After an initial dyeing, the colours weren’t as saturated as she wanted.
The fabric is pure silk and they were dyed with procion mx dye using a cold water method using sodium carbonate fixer and soaking in large milk containers overnight. The containers meant that Celine could put the cap on and give them a good shake to re-distribute the solution which I thought was a pretty nifty idea!
My first thought was that the silks were very fine and quite see-through. This meant that the colour would always look a little lighter than on a thicker fabric as the light shining through would ‘dissipate’ the colour. If you want to see how this works, try wrapping a length of yarn round a piece of white card. Begin by wrapping with the strands a little way apart. Now wrap the same yarn around the same card, this time pushing the strands close together. You should see that the looser wrap looks lighter even though the yarn is identical. You can also see this in the re-dyed, folded silks below.
As the silk had exhausted all the dye during the dyeing process it was possible that there was scope to re-dye to a deeper shade.
When the silks are folded, the impact of the fineness of the silk against the light is even more evident. The samples of fleece on the red, green and orange also illustrate the difference in shades that are achieved on a different fibre.
I hope you’ve found this interesting. Do post any questions or queries in the comments below and if you have a question about your dyeing project, please do get in touch 🙂