Washing Your Hand-Dyed Materials
Congratulations! You are considering buying or have bought some of our very special, artisan, hand-dyed fabric and elastic. It's so fun to have such a wide range of color for your undergarments, and to be able to use all manner of patterns, laces and prints to make coordinated looks. Let's talk about how to take care of you new fabrics and garments!
First, while the amount of shrinkage in our undyed fabrics is minimal, it does exist! I recommend prewashing any undyed material in the same manner that you plan on using to wash your finished garments. In general, our Bamboo Jersey fabric (most of our prints) is very robust to washing and doesn't shrink much at all. I tend not to prewash this fabric. This fabric is factory printed.
For our solid dyed fabrics, you don't need to prewash for shrinkage, but you might like to prewash for color fastness if you're planning on pairing the fabric with something quite different in color. I always wash colors with a Shout Color Catcher, and I recommend this for your hand dyed materials. Different colors have different levels of color fastness, just like any commercially dyed product. Deep, saturated colors are more likely to need care. I have a number of saturated colors that I always take care with, and hand dyed fabrics are no different than commercially dyed fabrics like dark washed blue jeans and red kitchen towels. You just need to be careful.
To best preserve your colors, wash your fabrics with a gentle soap and in cold to cool water. Wash gently and don't use lots of agitation. Warm or hot water will cause the fabric to lose grip on the dye, and you're more likely to have fading. This applies to all fabric dyes, not just hand dyed fabrics. If you combine that hot water with lots of agitation, you're likely to lose more color. I dry all my fabrics and garments in the dryer, but this can shorten the life of the garment a bit, whether hand dyed or machine dyed.
You can be proud of the way that your hand dyed materials interact with society as a whole. First, our non-toxic dyes (yes, they are all non-toxic) are better for the environment. Commercially dyed textiles put things like aniline, phthalates, and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE’s) into the environment. Second, our small batch dye process uses less water and energy than commercial processes. Commercial dye processes use 200 parts of water for every one part of textile. We use less than 10% of that. Third, we keep fabrics out of the waste stream by dyeing only what we have orders for, and reusing all our waste products. Finally, you're giving someone a decent-paying job. We do everything in the USA, and use as much US made material as we can. Yes, we do source from all over the world so that you can get the absolute best quality, but we favor US suppliers.
All this being said, I generally pop my hand dyed fabrics into the washing machine with my other garments and let it do the job. I'm willing to live with more fading for the sake of convenience, but I'd certainly treat silk or special garments with more washing care. I would also be careful with colors like hot pink, navy and deep red, regardless of how it was dyed. Those colors are a bit more temperamental, so use cold water and gentle washing.