How to Dye Polyester Suits

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Polyester suits can be dyed a variety of colors.
Polyester suits can be dyed a variety of colors. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Polyester suits first achieved popularity as a preferred garment in the 1970s. Today, polyester is still a popular material choice among suit manufacturers and consumers because it is less expensive than other fabric alternatives and generally resists wrinkling and shrinking. Whether for a costume or to update a look, altering a suit's color is an economical method to transform the overall appearance. Dyeing a synthetic material like polyester, however, presents more challenges than modifying fabrics composed of natural fibers.

Things You'll Need

  • Disperse powder dye
  • Fabric detergent
  • Fabric softener
  • Safety glasses
  • Rubber gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Wooden spoon
  • 2 nylon stockings
  • 1 teaspoon Synthrapol
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • Candy thermometer

Purchase a disperse powder dye in the preferred color. Reference the color of the suit when determining desired color; polyester suits light in fabric color will have greater flexibility in achieving a variety of colors.

Machine or tub wash the suit with detergent in warm water to remove any superficial impurities such as dirt or grease. Add fabric softener to combat any stiffness in the fabric. Dry on a low heat setting or hang to dry.

Place a dust mask over the mouth to prevent inhaling the disperse dye powder. Place safety glasses over eyes and protective rubber gloves on hands to avoid soiling skin with the dye.

Add the desired amount of disperse dye powder in 1 cup of boiling water. Refer to the manufacturer's color chart to determine the proper measurements of dye. Darker, bolder colors require more a greater amount of dye by added to the boiling water.

Stir dye mixture thoroughly with a wooden spoon until all the powder is completely dissolved and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain the mixture through two nylon stockings.

Fill a large stainless steel pot with 2 1/2 gallons of water. Add 1/2 teaspoon Synthrapol and 1 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar to the water and stir. Pour the strained disperse dye mixture into the pot and bring to a temperature of at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring frequently. Use a candy thermometer to accurately determine the temperature of the water.

Separate the jacket from the pants and add the jacket to the boiling mixture. Stir the jacket in the pot frequently to prevent creasing and allow the fabric to soak in mixture 30 minutes for pale shades and up to 45 minutes to achieve a darker color.

Fill a separate stainless steel pot with 3 gallons of water and bring to a boil of 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the jacket from the dye mixture and submerge in the 180 degrees Fahrenheit water.

Discard the dye mixture and refill the pot with three gallons of water. Add 1/2 teaspoons of Synthrapol to the mixture. Bring to a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the jacket to this mixture and stir for five to 10 minutes.

Rinse jacket in warm water to ensure all excess dye is removed from the fabric. Allow the jacket to dry. Repeat Steps 4 through 9 to dye the suit pants.

Tips & Warnings

  • Dye the jacket and pants separately to ensure maximum color saturation.
  • Only dye polyester in well-ventilated areas.
  • Do not use aluminum pots; the metal will react with the dye and damage the garment.
  • Discard wooden spoon after use or do not use in future food preparation.

References

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