Dye your T-shirt!

Dye your T-shirt!

15th April 2020 by Clare Conlin
Ethical Styling | 0 Comments



Our t-shirts will be with you for a long time, so what about a colour update!

Our t-shirts are designed to last, but as some of our customer's tees enter their second or third year of wearing the whiteness can start to look a little sad. Even black and navy, after a couple of summers of sunshine, can begin to fade and lose that initial depth of colour.

We are often asked about dying and the good news is that our t-shirts dye beautifully, but we would like to share some tips and advice before you start.

All our t-shirts are GOTS certified, which means that we do not use any harsh chemicals or toxic finishes. This is obviously great for the environment and ourselves but will influence finished results.

So three things to be aware of:

  • You will not be starting with a bleached white base. Our t-shirts are beautifully white, but this is achieved by using hydrogen peroxide, which is completed neutralised when diluted with water. So when you're looking at colours, bear in mind you will not be starting from a white, white base colour.
  • Our coloured t-shirts are all yarn-dyed to get their lovely depth of colour. This means that colour will not run, but as with any garment, they will fade over time if continuously exposed to sunlight. So just be aware that some areas may fade more than others, for examples shoulders. You usually will not notice this, but dying may create a very slight variation. We hasten to add that we have not noticed this at all with our UK sun!
  • To add strength to our seams, we use a thread which is 50% organic cotton and 50% recycled polyester. THIS IS IMPORTANT as it determines the dyes you can use.

PLEASE NOTE...We usually suggest washing our organic cotton t-shirts at no more than 40 degrees. For the best dying results, however, we recommend synthetic dyes which require boiling! So bear in mind you may get approx 5% shrinkage on our pure organic t-shirts, but we used old t-shirts and found no noticeable difference.

So top tips…
We hesitate to advise any dye brand over another, as success is actually down to following the instruction VERY carefully. Please note, however, whichever brand you choose the best results will be achieved by using a brand suitable for synthetic materials…even for our pure organic t-shirts. This is because the thread we use is 50% recycled polyester, so if you want as close a match as possible between yarn and cotton you need to use a dye suitable for dying fabrics with more than a 50% synthetic content.

We have, however, also used RIT All Purpose Dye, which is recommended for blends up to 38% synthetic and we only noted a slight variation, so it really depends how precise you want to be.

The main difference between using synthetic dyes and natural fibre dyes is that the synthetic dyes do require heat, boiling heat. So if you would prefer to keep away from the stove, you may be happy sacrificing a little colour variation between yarn and cotton.

Whichever method you use we recommend washing your t-shirt first. Do not use detergent, just rinse thoroughly. This is purely to make sure that the t-shirt is wet evenly and any residue conditioner or laundry detergent is rinsed away.

Whether dying on the stove or in the sink, make sure your t-shirt has plenty of room to move freely. We recommend just dying one t-shirt at a time. You need to keep stirring throughout the dying process, so the t-shirt has plenty of room, AND you don't want any splashes!
We found a Jam Pan a good, safe size.

Whichever brand or method you use, please read the instructions carefully and follow them to the letter!

the white t-shirt co dying your t-shirt

The photographed t-shirt is one of our Men's Relaxed T-shirts. We chose to show this one as this style has an overlocked neck, rather than bound, so the stitching is more obvious.

  • We used RIT DYEMORE. The colour is Frost Grey but at approx 50% dilution as we wanted it pale.
  • Be aware that labels will change colour too
  • The photograph is accurate to the finished colours, so you can see how close the stitching is to the cotton.

We have used both RIT and Dylon with excellent results. We found the most challenging part was judging the finished depth of colour, so start light if you are unsure by diluting the dye. Use cotton scraps or kitchen paper to test the colours first.

Please note that we are not able to guarantee your finished results, but we hope that the above tips will be of help to prolong the life of your tee!

Have fun!


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