I do not offer a wedding dress dyeing service in the uk or anywhere! I do have extensive knowledge of the dye process and as I often get asked if I can dye wedding dresses I have written a series of blog posts to help people decide about dyeing their gowns.
The risks of dyeing your wedding dress
Your wedding dress may not come out the same size and shape as it went in
Dyeing any garment requires very hot water, much hotter than a 30 or even 40 degree ‘wash’ and very hot water damages fabrics. Natural fibres like cotton and linen might shrink. Manmade/synthetic fibres won’t shrink but they do have to actually be boiled to be dyed (see paragraph below for why) and after boiling there is still no guarantee the dress you put in will be the same size and shape as the dress you get out. It is quite an extreme process to put any fabric through, not least a tailored design in delicate fabrics like a wedding dress!
Your wedding dress is probably made of more than one fabric type
Different fibres require different dye chemicals to change their colour. The main difference is between natural and synthetic based fabrics but there are subcategories in both of those. If your dress is mostly silk but has a polyester lace overlay you will need one type of dye for the silk and another one for the lace. Just putting it in the silk dye will result in coloured silk but no change at all to the lace and vice versa. And even a garment with a 100% cotton or 100% silk label has almost certainly been sewn with polyester sewing thread (in 99.9% of garments this will be true) so dyeing with the appropriate dye for the fabric will still leave you with pale stitch lines on all the seams and hems.
You might decide to dye your dress multiple times for the different fibres but getting a colour match will not be straight forward. The dye chemicals for a navy blue on silk may not match the navy blue available in a dye for synthetic fibres.
The colour result may not be even
Unless your dress is quite small and light-weight the chances you or I own a vessel large enough to properly submerge and agitate your dress is quite low. If I cannot stir a dress freely under the water the final result will probably be uneven and patchy. When I offer a wedding dress dyeing service I own a very large fish kettle which fits over two gas rings on my hob. I can use this to dye larger garments than will fit in a normal saucepan but many wedding dresses would require a dye-vat twice the size of a bath! There is no way a home dye set-up will accommodate such large garments. You would need to find a specialist with a professional dye studio and equipment.
Perfect colour matches are difficult
Dye chemicals come in lots of colours but not every colour under sun. They can be mixed, like paint but this means ensuring a perfect ratio/recipe to get an exact shade. For example mixing 10g of blue with 3.5g of green to achieve your perfect turquoise. Once you have the chemical recipe other elements come into play, timing and relative water volume/fabric quantities affect the colour too. If I am dyeing a garment for a client I always do a sample for you to approve before dyeing the real thing. When I then dye an actual garment I have to carefully upscale the sample recipe, timings and water/fabric/dye ratio to reproduce that exact colour again. With so many elements to get right there is always a high risk that colours are not perfectly matched each time.
If you ask me to dipdye your dress or dye using more than one colour you must understand that we are dealing with hot liquids and big, heavy bits of fabric (especially when wet). Splashes happen! A perfectly even, gentle fade is very very difficult to achieve at the top of a dip-dye colour, and fades between shades similarly so. It is highly likely that a little splash of colour will end up in an unplanned area. It’s just such a difficult process!
Your wedding dress is precious and the risks are high
All these risks might be ok if you were looking to home dye a charity shop dress for a halloween costume. But if you want me to dye a dress that has cost you thousands of pounds I want you to understand very thoroughly what might go wrong. Any wedding dress dyeing service UK will ask you to sign a waiver taking full responsibility for all those risks.
I always take great care when working on any wedding dress, no less so when dyeing than sewing. But if I am working with big, boiling vats of dye, powder dye chemicals that are permanent when they touch fabric and huge, heavy garments you will have to accept that ‘perfection’ is not to be expected.
Dyeing fabric verses dyeing sewn garments.
It is always best to dye fabric before it is sewn.
Most materials are dyed in an industrial setting, either before they are made into fabric, (when they are still just fibre/yarn) or after being knitted or woven into fabric. The heat and chemical reactions of the dye process can change fabric’s texture, size and weight so for a controlled product it makes more sense to dye the materials and then cut and sew it.
Dye specialists might dye already sewn garments (called piece-dyeing) if they want to choose specific dye placement for that garment. For example like a tie-dye or dipdye effect where the colour is added to one part of the design and not another. But otherwise fabric is dyed first and then cut and sewn into a garment. It is much more difficult to dye a dress that already exists than to dye flat fabric.
For home-dyeing I might choose to dye a sewn garment, like a t-shirt for a tie-dye project, or a loose fitting cotton dress or anything that won’t matter if it shrinks a little. But if your wedding dress is a good fit before you start there is a risk it won’t be the same shape or quite the same size when it comes out of the dye vat.
Wedding Dress dyeing services
Although I do not offer this service you can find professionals who may be prepared to help. I’d love to add a list of recommendations so please do be in touch if you find a good service!
One company recently discovered is ‘Renegade Bridal’ based in the US and they do take on dyeing wedding gown, whole dresses and dipdye effect.