What happened here?

I am not a complete newbie at fabric dyeing. In fact, I have dyed a couple hundred yards and for the most part, have been successful. So what went wrong this week?

A while back I needed muslin for some craft things and had a 50% off coupon for JoAnn’s. I grabbed a bolt of muslin but when I got it home realized it was “Dyer’s Cloth.” Cool, I thought. They said at JoAnn’s that it had no finishes or perma press added and was ready to go. So I ripped some pieces and used it off the bolt. I think this may have been my mistake.

This is one piece of fabric:

Not too bad,eh? I kid you not, what follows is the reverse side of this SAME piece:

Sorry for the blur, here is a closeup:

What are those white areas????? Someone please help me out here! I find it so strange that they show on one side of the fabric but not the other. I have this on nearly EVERY piece of this dyer’s cloth that I used. No, I did not pre-wash it. I think I should have. Does this prove it does indeed have a finish of some sort on it?

Here is a closeup from another piece:

I dyed some other pieces the same day using the same dyes and soda ash. No white splotches. I had thought perhaps the soda ash was not completely dissolved but since the non-dyers cloth pieces turned out fine it must be something to do with this cloth.

So if anyone knows, please tell me! Also, for all you wise dyers out there, now what? Do you think overdying with a weak dye solution will help?

Until next time….

About katyquilts

I am a wife, mom of four amazing adult kids, and a former librarian. I love making everything from traditional quilts to art quilts. I am thankful to God my Father and Creator for the gift of creativity!
This entry was posted in Hand Dyed Fabric, Mistakes. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to What happened here?

  1. YES, I would say there is a sizing of some kind on the fabric. Now that you have washed it, I’d over dye in another colour and those white spots will be gone.

  2. katyquilts says:

    Yep. I think overdyeing is the way to go. I just HOPE all the sizing is now gone! Thanks again.

  3. kathy says:

    Katy, don’t consider your cloth a complete loss…you can over dye it…now that the sizing is out of it!~ Some of the cloth I had that happen with I decided to use those white spots as a design element!

  4. kathy says:

    I means to say…if it floats and is very hard to get wet…it has sizing on it.

  5. kathy says:

    Hi Katy, this does look like a sizing resist. I have purchased bolts of supposedly pfd, didn’t pre wash it and found these same types of spots. It was not pfd and it had sizing on it. The clear edges means the soda (and dye) didn’t soak into it. Do you pre-soak in soda ash before dyeing? Or do you pour it on with the dye? I am a pre-soaker…and I can tell when I am trying to wet the fabric…if it floats in the bucket, it has sizing/and or perma press.
    I used Joann’s dyer’s cloth for years…can’t remember now, but I probably did prewash it. HTH

  6. Diana Angus says:

    I have a lot of experience with dyeing cottons with MX dyes, including low water immersion. I have learned through experience and have had this confirmed by other more experienced dyers/artists from whom I take classes that one must scour fabric, even if it is declared PFD. I scour in my washing machine using a small amount of Synthrapol, 1/4 cup soda ash and wash on the highest temp setting. Yes, it takes more time, takes more energy (your own as well as the power company) and puts more “mileage” on your washing machine, but it is worth it to avoid the results that you found out about here. You learn like I learn–by doing! Diana in Ohio

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