Know Your Fabrics
This information should help you avoid sending unsuitable fabrics which we would have to return at your expense. Please examine your fabrics and make sure of the fibre content. If it is not 100% cotton or you are not sure it is advisable to test a tiny piece before proceeding. Any hint of mixed colour fibres or some parts of the fibre are "hairy" or shiny and the chances are that it is not 100% cotton. Check the seams - make sure there are no raw edges which will fray during processing. Any tears or frays must be repaired before sending your covers. We have processed fabrics with metal studs successfully but cannot guarantee that the studs just pressed into the fabric will stay in place. Buttons and zips are generally OK, buttons can be lost if the stitching is at all loose. Zips very rarely lose their puller or become stuck. Much depends on the quality and condition of zip.
Multi Colour or Printed Fabrics
We are often asked to overdye printed or multi-colour fabrics when the customer would like to have a solid colour result. We have tried many times on samples pieces but with limited success. Printed fabrics typically have a pale background and a floral or stripe/check pattern. The reverse of the fabric is a light, natural cotton colour, and the pattern is only on the surface of one side. We have found no way to remove the print which blocks the new dye and the result is usually unsatisfactory.
Woven multicolour patterns often are made of mixed fibres, cotton, acrylic, polyester and sometimes wool. These rarely strip satisfactorily as there is usually at least one component that will not strip. Any fabrics with a wool component will not dye satisfactorily as the wool will "felt" (become matted) in the dye process.
Our process is most successful on 100% cotton solid colour fabrics. We may be able to dye other fabrics, including polyester but with some limitations. For example, we cannot strip polyester or achieve very dark shades. So there is not much we can achieve if you already have a very dark polyester fabric. If you have a light or medium shade polyester fabric we may be able to dye it darker. Mid greys and mid browns are about as dark as we can achieve on polyester. If you have any queries please call us.
Washable or Dry Clean Only.
If your fabrics claim to be washable and you have washed them there is a very good prospect of being able to dye them. If they are dry clean only and you have not washed them we must be extra careful before deciding to go ahead. Sometimes the maker specifies dry clean only because the fibre content includes wool which is a no no for dyeing or machine washing as it will felt and shrink and will not dye with cotton dyes. Sometimes the quality of construction is not as good as covers designed to be washed. The seams may not be as secure and the edges may be raw in parts rather than overlocked. Any raw edges will fray and the seam may be lost.
Chenille and Cord fabrics.
Chenille and cord fabrics can present difficulties as they are often substantial fabrics in weight but quite weak in structure. You can recognise these types of fabric as they have straight lines of thick yarns but these are woven together with thin threads. Unlike conventional upholstery weaves you can relatively easily prise the main threads apart. Chenilles tend to have a textured surface and are usually of mixed fibres some of which may not dye. Cords are often 100% cotton and may be OK provided the seams are in good condition.