Dyeing Beaded Garments

Can a prom gown made of silk lining and chiffon overlayed with (beaded pattern) be dyed? Thanks,
B. C.

Dear Betsy,
In theory, this can be dyed. Here is what you need to take into consideration:
1. The dress must be able to withstand warm water processing, either in a bucket or in the washer.
2. Bucket dyeing is somewhat uneven and might produce streaking, in my experience.
3. Silk will shrink and could twist out of shape. Silk chiffon shrinks, in my processing, about 15-20%.
4. The thread will not take the dye, and any trim on the dress is unpredictable. For example, if it is trimmed with rayon lace, binding, or anything else, this will become a slightly different color from the silk.
5. If the dress has been worn and has any spots, seen or unseen, the dye may take unevenly at those places.
Having said that, I have to tell you that I recently dyed a vintage beaded silk chiffon blouse and it came out fantastic!! I did it in the washer in a net bag. This protected the beads and prevented undue stress on the fabric. You can try your dress knowing that there are no guarantees.
Another alternative is to consult with Sherry Smilo at www.fabricdyeing.com. See what she says. She will dye individual garments at a reasonable cost.
If you want to try it yourself, get a catalog from www.dharmatrading.com and read all instructions carefully. Use the reactive dyes (the silk dyes must be steam set, way too much trouble).
happy Prom,

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