Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Does Ironing Set the Dyes?

Hand (dye) painted fabric with thread sketched details
After hearing from a fellow quilter last week about the way she sets her dyes, I decided to do some experimenting. To set the Procion fibre reactive dyes that I use, I have always 'batched' the (soda soaked) fabric I paint on, between sheets of plastic for at least overnight at 70 degrees or more. Another dyer told me that before learning about batching, she would air dry her fabrics and then iron them. So... I am since I am always looking for the best way to keep the colours strong on my dye painted fabrics, I tested the method.
As you can see below, I painted 6 rectangles. They just happened to be on pink cloth but that has no significance to the experiment. After batching all of them overnight between plastic, I took two and rinsed them in cold water and then washed them in Dharma Tradings, Professional Textile Detergent. They were then rinsed twice in cold water.  The other 4 were air dried, and then ironed with a hot iron. They were then were washed as before. The colour results were all the same.
I tried the drying and ironing technique on other pieces too and results were the same as with just the batching. Therefore I have come to the conclusion that batching alone with a temperature of 70 degrees or more has the best results for setting the dyes. Click here for information from Dharma Trading on the subject.
Do you have another way for setting the fibre reactive dyes?

Six hand painted textile pieces ready for 'batching', placing between plastic sheeting for overnight at 70 degrees.

Not much dye rinsing out of the fabric after batching.

Washing the dyed fabric. The fabric was then rinsed twice in cold water, dried and pressed.

The experiment. Drying the dyed fabric in the sun. I ironed the left side of all the panels before rinsing. The colour was the same in those that were ironed and those that were not.

The results of 4 days of painting.

My Personal Favorite.
 I think that is because it was so unexpected that it turned out. I was near the end of my day when I painted it with dyes that were left over from the day.
I am planning to organize a tutorial page so readers can easily access information on painting with dyes. More to follow. I love to hear from you in the comments or by email egidman@kootenay.com


Win Dinn, Artist said...

There is just nothing like experimenting yourself on processes, is there Eileen. I love your 'try it and see' attitude. It's no doubt how you've come up with all your marvellous dyed paintings in the first place!

vix said...

Lovely to see your experiments Eileen!
Having problems with my email system at the moment to reply to your recent email..will get back to you soon.
Lovely idea about the Tutorial by the way !

Lynda said...

This was a great experiment. I never heard of ironing fiber reactive dyes. Love to see other options and experiments. Thanks.