Fumes From Dyeing

This is the first time that I have read your column. I am a clothing designer in Baltimore Maryland/ DC – I have been using bleach to create some funky fun denim pieces. I took a textile class some time back – we basic used color dyes. I like the bleaching but the fumes become very strong in my apartment – I open all my windows when I am doing the process – but I am interested in using color dye on cotton and silk. Is there anything out there that is non-toxic. I am not going to do the bleach out anymore because the fumes are deadly. If you can respond, it would be wonderful. Thank you for your response and time. Blessings!

Dear Katherine,
You are in for a great adventure. Get catalogs from www.dharmatrading.com and www.prochemical.com. There is a wealth of information there about fabric dyeing. Although you do want to be careful with all products, the reactive dyes are relatively innocuous. I mainly do vat or solid-color dyeing in the washer just because the mess is so much less. There are organizations of fiber artists that provide a lot of info, tips, and instruction, too. Do a quick search for one in your neighborhood.
Have fun and send photos!

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