Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do you sell wholesale?
Q: Is this fabric really pre-treated? What else do I need to do to it before dyeing?
A: The fiber has been treated prior to spinning and weaving. Just launder it in hot soapy water.
Q: Is this cotton mercerized?
A: No. It has been scoured under alkaline conditions, but the alkalinity is not enough for mercerization to occur. The scouring removes impurities so that the chemical binding agent (mordant) can attach to both the cotton and the dye. With the chemical mordant, mercerizaion is not necessary.
Q: Is this cotton bleached?
A: No. The treated cotton, however, is easily bleached by soaking in hydrogen peroxide.
Q: Should I pre-wash and machine dry this fabric to pre-shrink it like I do with my other fabrics?
A: Yes. Always do this before dyeing any fabric. Washing will also remove everyone’s fingerprints. Dry it only if you are going to dye it later.
Q: Will the mordant wash out if I wash it first?
A: No, the mordant is permanent.
Q: How is this fabric different from fabric I've washed with Synthrapol to remove sizings, etc.
A: Washing or laundering removes what is on the outside of the fiber. In addition, the pre-scouring removes impurities that are naturally attached internally to the cellulose. In addition, a mordant has been added, which helps the dye bond to the fiber.
Q: If the fibers resist dye, do they also resist RESISTS? (Things like wax or gutta resist that keep dye from flowing?)
A: The fibers do not technically resist anything. Untreated cotton just naturally does not accept dyes easily. If the surface is clean, resists will behave as usual.
Q: Is there a right side and a wrong side of this fabric or is it like batik, identical on both sides when dyed?
A: Both sides are the same; it will behave as a yarn dyed fabric.
Q: How is this different from PFD fabric I can buy at the store now?
A: It is PFD PLUS pre-scoured, PLUS pre-mordanted, PLUS the fabric is pre-patterned
Q: How would this fabric work with fabric paints as opposed to dyes? Would the patterns still show up?
A: Paint is a surface treatment, designed to coat and cover a surface. If the paint is thin or transparent, you may be able to see the pattern, otherwise paint will obscure it.
Q: I washed it with a red shirt, and it came out pink. Will it remove color from my clothes?
A: It will remove color from the water, not the clothes. The red in the shirt apparently bled, releasing its color into the water.
Q: If the mordant is permanent, can I discharge color?
A: Discharging breaks the bond between the mordant and the dye. Discharging removes the dye, not the mordant, so yes, you can discharge color as you normally do.
Q: How safe is it to handle this pretreated fabric? Are the chemicals proven safe for bare hands?
A: Very safe. The fiber is oekotex certifiable, and I have heard from chemically sensitive people that they have had no problem with it.
Q: How quickly will the dye expire in the bottles? Should we keep them refrigerated after opening?
A: The Aquarelle dyes will last about 3 years after openig, and while they should be stored in a cool dark place, they do not need to be refrigerated.
Q: Is the fabric white or natural colored?
A: It is natural, unbleached.
Q: Is it necessary to treat the dyed fabric in any way to make the dye permanent, after dyeing?
A: The treatment it's already been through makes the dye permanent, so you need no extra processes or chemicals.
Q: What natural elements can I collect to use as dyes on your fabrics?
A: Many flowers and leaves and bark, onion skins; you can pick up any book on natural dyes and find the substances that are known good dyes for coloring cloth. My favorite is Jim Liles' Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing. Berries are pretty, but are technically stains, not dyes, and are not lightfast.
Q: Is the cost of your pre-treated fabric the same price as ordinary cotton?
A: No; any time you add a process, the cost to make it increases.
Q: Are your dyes available outside the US?
A: I am not selling dyes, except in the introductory kits. The fabric and the kits ship anywhere in the world.
Q: Do different mordants produce different colours with the natural dyes?
A: Yes. You can see a comparison and some samples on my Pinterest page.
Q: What mordant did you use?
A: This is an industrial strength mordant not available for home use. The formula is proprietary.
Q: How do I replace my charkha bearings?
A: The easiest way is o get some tightly twisted cotton twine from the hardware store. Not butcher twine, it is too soft and not tightly twisted enough. Cut to the length you want an dip the bearings in melted wax (beeswax, paraffin, or any combination). Then replace and oil before use. You could instead braid some cornhusk; oil these before use too.
Q: How do you ply on a charkha?
A: Go here for a long description.