I just finished up a couple of weeks of intense production in my studio. When I'm dyeing fabric, it looks like a storm has blown through here and then I have to deal with the aftermath. However, I was very productive as my supply was in serious need of replenishment.
To save money this time around, I supplemented my usual tightly woven PFD with Joann's Premium Legacy Muslin. I was very happy with the results. I scoured the crap out of it, and that's why I was able to get great color. It has a smoother hand and a denser weave then Kona, so it's a great way to save a buck when you consider the coupons.
However, when I'm doing something like this, I only use the best PFD, and my favorites are Hoffman and Pimatex. When I dye my gradations, I start with the lightest color, and make sure the whole piece is very wet. I then start from the crease and move up in stages, wtih the more saturated color. I wear rubber or vinyl gloves and I blend by hand, rubbing in a circular motion. I've found this method gives me the best results.
By the way, I dye all of my fabric on plastic sheets like this as apposed to immersion. I do that sometimes, but I prefer to have control over my texture.
The finished product.
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