Dyeing Ultrapreme Fabric

One of my personal favorite fabrics to work with is the ultrapreme fabric from Yaya Han‘s fabric line by Cosplay Fabrics.  It comes in 7 different colors, but sometimes you just need something a bit more customized.  Luckily, Ultrapreme is a breeze to dye.

Materials list:

  • Ultrapreme Fabric in white
  • RIT Dyemore or iDye Poly in desired color
  • Large stainless steel pot for water
  • Kitchen thermometer
  • Large spoon for mixing (preferably one you don’t care about)
  • Tongs (optional but helpful)
  • Dish soap or liquid laundry detergent for colors
  • Scissors

Step 1:  Cut your fabric

Ultrapreme fabric is rather thick, so I find it best to cut out the fabric pieces you need prior to dyeing anything.  Be sure that your fabric scissors are nice and sharp!  Since it is such a thick fabric, it isn’t going to flow nicely in a pot of water if it is still in one giant piece.  Plus, since it also has a rubbery coating, water isn’t going to flow through it like a normal fabric would, so its best to have smaller pieces than one giant piece.  You’ll get a more even color that way.

Step 2: Select your dye

In order to successfully dye ultrapreme, you’ll need a dye made specifically for synthetic materials.  RIT Dyemore and iDye Poly both work great for this.  I have personally used both and the results are great with either one!  I’m using blue for my color, but you can use any color you like!  You can even mix colors together to achieve the perfect shade!  But if you’re going to mix, be sure you’re only mixing RIT Dyemore with RIT Dyemore or iDye Poly with iDye Poly.  I would not recommend trying to mix the different brands together.  If you want an especially dark or bright color, opt for two packages of dye instead of just one.

Step 3:  Prepare water/dye mixture and fabric

Fill your large pot with enough water to let your fabric flow freely.  If you have a lot of fabric, you’ll be using a lot of water.  It’s best to have stainless steel pot specifically for dyeing fabric (its safest that way), but if you really want to use one of your usual stainless steel pots make sure you clean it extremely well.  I would recommend washing it with dish soap and a rough sponge first, then again with baking soda and vinegar. Set your pot full of water on the stove and begin heating it.  You can mix the dye into the water at any time, but be sure to wait until the water/dye mixture is around 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius) before adding your fabric.

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You’ll need the water to be hot, but not so hot that it will damage the fabric.  Ultrapreme has that rubber coating after all, and too much heat can damage it.  Use a kitchen thermometer to keep track of the temperature.  If it starts to go over 180 degrees, just take the heat off of it for a bit.  If it starts to cool down too much, put the heat back on.  While you’re waiting for the water to heat, go ahead and take your fabric and run it under water until the fabric is nice and evenly wet.  I usually wet the fabric and keep it in a spare pot until I’m ready to dye it.

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Please note that different brands of dye may have a different process for adding the dye into your water.  With RIT Dyemore, you only have to add the dye that comes in the bottle.  With iDye Poly, you have to add in a package of color intensifier along with the dye.  Be sure to follow whatever directions come with your chosen dye.

RIT Dyemore
iDye Poly

Step 4:  Test on a scrap piece of fabric

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Before fully committing to the dye, you should always test it out on a piece of scrap fabric first.  You want to make sure the color is what you want before dumping all your good fabric into it!  I just cut an extra small piece and let it sit in the dye to see what happens to it.  It is also a good way to see how long your fabric will need to sit in the dye water to achieve the color you’re looking for.  The package of dye will probably tell you to let the fabric sit for 30 minutes to an hour, but you may need more or less time depending on if you’re going for a lighter color or a darker color.  Sometimes when dying fabric I have to let my test scrap sit for the entire 30 minutes, and other times I don’t need that much time.  Do whatever works for you!

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Step 5:  Dye your fabric

Once you know you are happy with how the dye will turn out, submerge ALL your fabric into the dye water.  Set a timer for your desired number of minutes, and continuously stir your fabric so that the dye water and fabric is constantly moving, all the while making sure that the temperature of the dye water stays around 180 degrees.

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Keeping the dye water moving will ensure that you have a nice even color when you are done.  Letting it sit unmoving might result in streaks or splotches on your fabric.  Once the time is up, turn the stove off and dump the dye water out.

TIP:  The dye can (and probably will) stain anything it touches, including your sink.  If you have a sink you don’t care about turning colors, great!  But if you want to make sure things stay clean you might just want to go ahead and dump the water outside.  Stainless steal sinks will be ok, but they might still stain a little bit and would need immediate cleaning to get rid of it (the same goes for your stainless steel pot, make sure you clean it EXTRA thoroughly if its a pot you use for other things).

For this particular batch of fabric, I used one bottle of RIT Dyemore in Kentucky Sky.  It gave me a beautiful light blue!

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Step 6:  Wash and dry your fabric

Run your fabric under cold water until the water runs clear.  Be careful when handling the fabric right after you’ve dyed it, because it will be very hot.  It will be as hot as the dye water was, to be exact.  Once the water runs clear, wash each piece of fabric.  I usually use a small amount of dish soap, but you can also use laundry detergent if you wish.  If you use laundry detergent, be sure to use something that is safe for colors.  I actually use the same pot I dyed the fabric in to wash the fabric in as well.  I fill the pot with cold water, add in some soap, and swish the fabric around in the soapy water until each piece is clean.

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Look at that nice even color!

Then, thoroughly rinse your fabric and hang it up to dry.  You could probably also use your dryer to dry the fabric, but if you do, only use a NO HEAT setting.  Heat from the dryer can damage the ultrapreme fabric if it gets too hot, and you don’t want to take that chance. To be safe, I just hang it up, set some towels underneath it to catch the water that will drip off, and let it air dry.

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Step 7:  Create! 

I paired my freshly dyed ultrapreme with the royal blue ultrapreme to create this bodysuit!  If you’d like to know how I made it, check out my tutorial on altering an existing bodysuit pattern!

picmonkey-collage-5

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