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Dyeing Chair Covers

Hi Jennifer,
I have six hand-sewn chair covers that were created in a Waverly fabric, a lighter blue background with mauve circles. I believe it’s a polished cotton.
I would like to dye the covers a brown shade. What color dye should be used? Is RIT a reputable dye? Is there a professional who can dye them in Austin where I live?
Thanks,
Brooke

Dear Brooke,
Well, the answer depends on a few more things. Are you talking about slipcovers or chair seat covers? Is the fabric all cotton or a blend? Is it treated with scotchguard, or with some other kind of coating that makes that polished effect? Is the fabric a print or woven pattern? How dark are the colors?
You cannot dye a mix of blues to a mix of browns. You will get mud. The thing to consider is what brown would look like mixed with the blues that you have there.
Even if you have all cotton fabric that is a good candidate for dyeing, I would not recommend Rit. The reactive dyes available at Silk Road (here in Austin) or from Dharma Trading Company are much more deep and vivid and require a minimum of chemicals. Speaking of Silk Road, you could take one of the covers there and ask Karen what she thinks about dyeing potential. I learned a lot of what I know from her.
If you want to consult a professional, I suggest contacting www.fabricdyeing.com.
Have fun!!
Jennifer

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