Always identify the fabric type before dyeing

Some fabrics do not dye at all, such as polyester and acrylics (they can only be dyed industrially), while others do not lend themselves to temperature treatment - such as wool. Others, such as cotton / polyester blends will only dye up to a point, depending on the proportion of natural fabric in the material.

Never mix material types when dyeing

Materials dye differently. You will not get the same result on different fabric types because they differ in their affinity for dyes and the temperatures at which they change shade.

Always accurately weigh the dry fabric before making the dye solution

The shade is determined by the dosage of dye. This means that the amount of dye is determined by the weight of the fabric that the dye is applied to. The best results are when you: - accurately weigh the garment - accurately measure the dye - control the temperature and procedure Best results are always obtained on natural fabrics.

First wash all fabric in hot, soapy water (whether or new or used).

Clothing contains impurities and dirt. Even new clothes contain sizing and starchy substances that facilitate its handling and treatment in manufacture. These traces adversely affect dyeing they affect the shade achieved and the levelness of the result.

Heat the dye bath slowly

A gradual increase in temperature causes a more thorough flow of dye into the fabric. A gradual increase in temperature also permits more time to agitate and stir the fabric, promoting better exposure and more level dyeing. As the temperature rises the pace of dyeing increases. When hand dyeing, ensure continued agitation of the entire garment in order to get as "level" a result as possible

Don't underfill or over a washing machine with fabric

This will affect the dyeing process negatively.

Always fix in the dye

The hallmark of an effective dye - given good shading - is its ability to last and withstand washing. Both colour-fastness and wash-fastness are required to ensure coulours won't fade. So always carefully apply fixative according to the manufacturer's directions and don't shortcut the process.

When using a washing machine, be extra careful when weighing fabrics and dyes

Dyeing in a washing machine is convenient and quick when you have a lot of material to dye. But it has to be planned. Firstly be aware that non-automatic washing machines (such as twin tubs) do not lend themselves to hot-water dyeing. Use only cold water dyes for this purpose. Hot water dyes can be used automatic washing machines that reach in excess of 90 degrees so check your machine first. Secondly, bear in mind that the calculation of the dye dosage is key. The normal Lady Dye dosage of 1 pack to 250 grams of dry fabric applies, but automatic washing machines require a minimum of 1 kg of fabric to dye effectively and no more than half the maximum wash load. Effectively this places a minimum of 4 packs of dye (to match the 1 kg minimum dry fabric weight) per load.

Always read the instructions first!

This will save you from making mistakes.