Dyeing 100% Tencel

I have a celery colored dress made of 100% Tencel. I love the dress but not the color. I would like to dye it black…is that possible?
Thank you,
Kathy G.

Dear Kathy,
Tencel is a natural fiber derived from cellulose, similar to rayon. This means that it can be dyed. However, the answer to your question is slightly more complicated, depending on the construction, care instructions, and color of the dress.
If the care tags say that the dress can be washed, you are ahead. Dyeing requires submerging in warm water. In general, agitation is also required in order to get an even distribution of color. So if there is delicate trim or detailing, it might not withstand the process.
Construction is another factor. If it has a zipper closure, and a lot of visible stitching, you need to know that the thread and the zipper will not take the dye, but will remain their original colors.
Black is a tough color to get. It requires a lot of dye and warmer-than-usual-for-dyeing water. My guess is that it’s likely that you will get a sort of charcoal-purplish-green. (Although I use black dye as a contributing color in some of my work, I do not try to dye anything solid black.) If you still want to try it yourself, get a catalog from www.dharmatrading.com and look over their instructions for vat dyeing with Procion dyes.
Have fun!

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