Frequently Asked Questions on our Dyed Fabrics

Fabrics that go for outdoor applications [tents, awnings, etc.] are exposed to harsh weather. Hence they are manufactured to meet a different set of specifications. Certain additives like UV inhibitors (to prevent color fading); mildew inhibitors (to prevent mold & mildew); Fluorocarbons (for stain resistance) are included in the dye bath. A simple direct dye like what we have used on our stock program will not be adequate to meet the above requirements. So, our stock dyed fabrics are not suitable for outdoor use. The only exception to this rule will be our specialty finishes (Sunforger, Canvak & Pyrosnuff).

For reasons beyond our control, we do not recommend washing the fabrics purchased from our dyed stock programs. We can gladly submit a quote to meet the specific needs. Please contact us for more information.

If you consider work-wear and uniforms as a garment (believe us, some do!!), then you can use our dyed fabrics for that purpose. If you are planning to make shirts, skirts or pants, then we highly recommend you not to use our dyed fabrics. Our production technique and materials used do not result in a good quality dyed fabric suitable for making garments. Basically, all our dyed fabrics are intended for an industrial application like tote bags, aprons, upholstery, etc.

With an array of 10 product lines and 100’s of color choices as a stock program, we certainly hope that one of our stock fabrics will meet your need. But if you have a specific color or finish, we certainly can help you. Custom color? Need fabric slit? Special put-ups? Need a FR finish? Vat Dyeing? Military Specs? No problem! We can do most of them. If we cannot, at the least we can point you in a different direction.

Based on our experience, we can say for sure that crocking and bleeding are always mixed up and used interchangeably by our customers. For a textile purist, both are as vastly different as an onion Vs pumpkin. Crocking refers to the “color-transference” of a fabric. In layman terms, it is called “rubbing”. There are two types of crocking – Dry & Wet. In dry crocking, a piece of a dry white cloth is rubbed against the dyed fabric in a crock-meter. After a specific time (or number of rubs), the white fabric which will have some stain from the dyed fabric (due to the rubbing) is measured on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being “very poor” & 5 being “excellent”.  The same method is used for a wet crocking, except that in this case, the white cloth is damp. All our stock program dyed fabrics have a dry crock of 2.5 – 3.5+ and a wet crock of 1.5 – 2.5+, depending on the color. There is no such thing as “no crocking”. Every fabric crocks (except white) – some less, some more. As an end user/manufacturer, you need to advise us what standards are acceptable. Bleeding means “What happens when the dyed fabric is washed?” Dark colors like black and red will bleed more in comparison to a tan or light grey. There are other factors like temperature of the water, washing time, type of detergent used, etc. that can affect the color bleeding in a fabric. There are different standards set by ISO & AATCC to determine the various levels of color bleeding. You need to advise us the wash standards of the dyed fabric so that we can advise you further.

Sorry, we cannot! Truth be told – nobody in the industrial fabric business can make that guarantee. Long Answer:   Every dyed fabric bleeds. Some bleed more, some less! If you cut a small piece of a black or red dyed duck fabric and dip it in a cup of warm water, you will observe color bleeding. This is normal. On the contrary, if it was a light color like grey or linen, you may not see any bleeding. There are several aspects that affect color bleeding [texture and weight of the cloth, color, dye method, apparatus, chemicals, etc.].  We do not have any control on how the end-user is going to wash the fabric. So, we cannot guarantee on color bleeding. Our simple advise is never to wash the fabric. If at all required, you may remove the excess dirt using a moist sponge and air dry.  Based on our collective experience, we can recommend a few things that improve the color bleeding in the cloth. However, dyeing is not an exact science and there is no guarantee for a zero color bleed.

We have also seen that the term “color-fastness” gets mixed up with crocking and bleeding (see Q-5 & Q-6 above) by our customers. In a technical sense, color-fastness or light-fastness refers to what happens to the color of the fabric when it is exposed continuously to a steady source of light. This term is usually reserved for fabrics intended for outdoor use [e.g., casual furniture]. In lab conditions, the dyed fabric is exposed to a Xenon Arc lamp that emits UV radiations on glowing. The fabric is exposed to a certain amount of time [say 1500 hours] and then compared on a scale of 1 to 8, with 1 being “severe loss of color” to 8 being “no change in color”. Since our stock dyed fabrics do not have any UV inhibitors, we neither have tested this light-fastness nor recommend our fabric for outdoor use. The only exception to this rule will be our specialty finishes (Sunforger, Canvak & Pyrosnuff), which are suitable for outdoor use [but we do not guarantee any colorfastness]. Our regular dyed stock collection is not suitable for outdoor use. For better colorfastness, we would suggest you to go with Vat Dyeing.

Absolutely! It is a two way learning process. We have done this exercise many a time with several folks who are now our loyal customers. The more we know about the product, better we can help you. We may not have all the answers. But, we work with some of the brightest minds in the U.S. Textile Industry who can help us. Rest assured your discussions with us will be kept confidential.

It’s like as simple as comparing onions to carrots. No. We are not joking. Please see the pictures below.

Conventional Dyeing (e.g.,Vat Dyeing) is like an onion – reddish purple on the outside, but white on the inside.
The dye particles are dissolved in a solution (called dye bath) that contains water, fixing agents and other chemicals. The untreated fabric is soaked into this dye bath. By applying heat and pressure, the fabric is “cooked” in this dye bath. Then it is passed through hot drums which squeeze out the excess liquids. The colors in the dye bath get attached to the surface of the fabric. Sometimes, the dyeing is deep. Sometimes, it’s not. It all depends on the texture, weight, thickness, dye method, temperature, etc. When you cut the dyed fabric, you will see some “whiteness” inside. No matter what you do, the dye simply cannot penetrate all the way into the fabric. Cottons, poly-cottons and other natural fibers/fabrics are usually dyed using this method.

Solution Dyeing is like a carrot – the color remains the same when cut.
Solution Dyeing is a complex and a high end dyeing method. It’s mostly used for dyeing synthetic fibers like Acrylics, Polyesters etc. The dye particles are “dissolved” into a dye bath that also contains particles of esters, acids, fixing agents, etc. Under certain conditions, a chemical reaction called polymerization occurs inside this dye bath that produces a polyester fiber, which is spun right out of the dye bath. These fibers have the dye particles bonded to them at a micro-level almost inseparable – just like a carrot. These fibers are then woven into fabrics. Because of this complex procedure, solution dyed fabrics have excellent resistance to color fading. They also offer superior protection from the harmful Ultra-Violet rays. Outdoor fabrics that are solution dyed find great use in boat covers, awnings & casual furniture.