Thursday, January 29, 2009

Shades of Grey

I often get requests to dye fabric as the colours required are simply not available elsewhere. Recently I was given 10 metres of white silk georgette to dye for three bridesmaids. It was to have a shiny dark silver silk fabric underneath and needed to tone. This shiny dark silver fabric was also to be used as a band, on top, under the bust line and tying at the back.
Another dyer had attempted this, had achieved a perfect sample, but failed to repeat this on the larger piece. I fully sympathised with this as there is always a big leap between a smaller sample and the larger requirement; and working with a black dye (in lesser amounts this produces silver/grey) is not always easy. I therefore had a double challenge.
I have two black dyes, one which favours brown, the other favours red. I decided on the brown and dyed half a metre accordingly, recording all measurements, volumes and times. As suspected it came out too brown. The colour needed to go more 'black' but the problem I faced was how to make black more black, there being nothing darker than black. I went for a walk.
On my return I dyed another sample replacing some of the black with a navy dye. To my delight, this seemed to do the trick and my client was satisfied.
I then dyed the 10 metres. Despite checking and re-checking my calculations this did dye darker than my original sample but otherwise was perfect. Fortunately all parties involved agreed that the end result would be very elegant and I am looking forward to receiving a photo of the bridal party.

Here are the first two samples displayed against the shiny silver silk

The three dyeings against the silver, the narrow strip on the right being the final colour

The same three against a white background

Nothing to do with the above but the sky towards Wellington on Sunday night. Taken from my studio deck through the trees. The flash lights up the trees very nicely.