Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Dye and Fabric Tests

Inspired by Ann from CA in a recent Quilt University dyers' class, and Vicki Welsh at Field Trips in Fiber, I decided to run a test on sample dye fabrics to see which one(s) work best for my dye conditions (humidity, water chemistry, etc.).

I ordered / requested samples from Dye Artist Fabrics and Batiks, etc. as well as testing a few things purchased locally.

Here's the Legend :
1- Dye Artist Fabric (DAF) - Lawn - $6.59/yd
2-DAF - Dyer's Cloth - $2.95/yd
3-DAF - Sateen - $6.99/yd
4-DAF - Pimatex - $5.39/yd
5-DAF - Kona Cotton - $4.39/yd.
6-Batiks, etc. - Pimatex PFD Bleach White - $6.50/yd
7-Batiks, etc. - Radiance - $12.50/yd
8-Batiks, etc. - Prima Cotton- Vintage White - $5.75/yd.
9-Batiks, etc. - Kona Cotton - White $5.50/yd.
10-Batiks, etc. - Ultra Sateen - $9.00/yd
11-Batiks, etc. - Hoffman White - $6.50/yd
12-Batiks, etc. - Aurora Muslin - $3.25/yd
13- Roclon - Ultra Muslin
14-Hobby Lobby - Kona Cotton - Snow White $4/yd
15- 100% Cotton of unknown origin
16-Walmart Muslin $3.44 / yd
17- Laundered Linen (leftover from my wedding dress)
18- Mystery Muslin
19-JoAnn Fabrics - 200 Count Muslin
20-Hobby Lobby - Muslin 97 cents / yard

Notes on samples shown : I only had enough samples to do 1-12 in both fuschia and blue. I didn't have samples to test in yellow. The 2nd page consists of samples (from my stash) 13-20 in all three colors.

I was hoping these results would give me a solid and definitive answer so I could buy a bolt to have on hand and have this question settled. But what I discovered is : It depends on the effect you're looking for, and the cost and weight of the fabric you want to work with.

Everything from Dye Artist Fabrics and Batiks etc. seemed to take the color beautifully.

My own stash stuff seemed to dye up a little duller, not so bright (maybe bleached or otherwise treated?). Some had splotches (bleach?), not the lovely and sought-after mottled effect.

Highlights : The Linen dyed up beautifully in all three colors--deep and bright, with a nice luster. Not exactly good material for quilting, though.

DAF Lawn is very thin and frays easily. I like to have a heavier weight cotton.

I must have gotten a bad batch of Kona Cotton along the way, because the KK from my stash dyed with splotches, while the Kona Cotton from the fabric suppliers was fine.

Surprises :
* Some fabrics seemed to take 1 color beautifully, but were just okay in another color.
* The most expensive fabric didn't necessarily offer the best / desired results.
* The Aurora (which I have been using) comes out darker and deeper than the other natural colored muslins. That's fine if that's the effect you want, but it won't always be what I'm aiming for.

So what am I going to purchase? I don't know yet ... What do you think?

1 comment:

Vicki W said...

Glad you did this test. You tested a lot of fabrics that I didn't! I'm going to have to order a few of those to try myself - espeically the Aurora. thanks for sharing your results!