Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Understanding Fabric Dye Lots

When you visit our store you will find a lot of fabric!  Yes, we love fabric and try to keep a wide selection for our customers.   Our hope is that you find the perfect fabric for your quilting, garment and home décor projects! 

Sometimes the fabric is “perfect” because of the color.  You may have purchased twenty-five yards of a beautiful damask fabric for new curtains because it was just the right shade of yellow, but when you returned several months later to purchase more fabric to slipcover a chair it didn't match.  How can this be?  It is the same fabric!

An example of cuttings of the same fabric from three different dye lots

What happened is the new bolt and the old bolt were from different dye lots. A good explanation of dye lots can be found in the book Textiles: Fabrics, Application and Historic Style by Karla J. Nielson. 

“One batch of dye solution is referred to as a job lot or dye lot, and the dyed or printed textiles within that dye lot are exactly the same.  When subsequent batches are mixed according to the master or standard formula, they may be slightly different.  This means that a set piece-goods bolt may be just off from the standard, and a precise match may be impossible”.

For this reason it is always best practice to purchase all the fabric you will need at once.  Never assume you will be able to buy more of the same fabric later.  If you do return to our store, looking for additional yardage of the same fabric, bring a cutting of the original fabric to compare. 

The dye lots of this chevron fabric are slightly different, one is darker than the other
This applies to all types of fabric from quilting to upholstery – dye lots can vary slightly or a great deal.  The good news is that this is not a common problem, but one that should be considered as you plan your next sewing project.

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