Is it possible to dye a store bought Pashmina? If so, is there anything I should to do it before putting it into a regular dye-bath using RIT dye? Any recommended process that would help “fix” the dye afterwards? here’s a closeup of the tag and texture of it. Thanks 🌸🧶 🌊🌙
Pashmina or cashmere is a type of wool, and therefore a natural fiber, so the dye you use will need to be appropriate for natural fibers. As a type of wool, cashmere will shrink in hot water, which is necessary for many types of dye. You may wish to test on a lower cost or damaged piece before dying anything you value, to ensure you avoid shrinkage and felting. These effects can be minimized by moving the finished item as little as possible in the hot water bath, and by keeping the rinse water at a similar temperature to the dye bath, allowing the fabric and rinse water to cool down together.
According to the Dye Road Map published by Jacquard, a well established maker of dyes, the best results on wool will be Acid, Basic (chemical, not "simple"), Indigo, Cochineal, "Super Fast Acid Dye for Wool," and "Dye-Na-Flow Fabric Paint," with good results from "SolarFast" and "Pinata Alcohol Ink," and fair from "iDye Natural." (You can see more information on the specific types of dyes at their dye homepage.) Jacquard dyes are not quite as available as RIT, but can be found in art supply stores and similar retailers.
You can also use Kool-Aid or Cake Icing Dye and Vinegar to dye wool; these dyes may or may not be as colorfast as a proper wool dye, but they are more readily available. There are many references on how to perform this process; the following is taken from a forum on backpacking:
Wool (all animal proteins) and nylon fibers are the only things that will dye with this process, but believe me it works great!
Weigh your garment when it's dry,, this will tell you how many kool aid packets you need.
Soak your wool in warm water with two or three Tb vinegar. (none for red kook-aid) while you mix your dye bath. make sure the wool is completely soaked for at least 1/2 hour so all the little air bubbles between knits are gone.
The acid in the kool aid, citric acid, is enough to make the FC&C dyes permanently bond to the proteins in the animal fibers.
If you're using Wilton [cake icing] dyes, use vinegar as your mordant.
One packet of kool-aid will dye about 2 oz of wool, if your sweater is 8 ounces or more, I would go with more packets than you think you need.
Testing on a plain wool sock or some wool yarn is always helpful.
Once you have your color where you want it, (I pre-mix my colors in quart mason jars, then dilute into a big non-reactive pot) add it to the dye pot, stir and turn on the heat.. Carefully wring out the sweater and loosen it so the fibers aren't all tight and mashed together. Sink it into the dye pot and let it heat slowly to 180° and maintain until the water in the pot is clear. This will take longer for blues and greens, but reds exhaust the fastest. Do not stir the sweater and DO NOT let it boil, it will shrink and felt, that's bad.
Once the water is clear, turn off the heat and let stand to room temp, then rinse several times under cold water until all the flavoring smell is gone.
Source: User Rebecca Audette on BackpackingLight
RIT dye is a "Union" or universal dye, and as such, it dyes all objects poorly. It's readily available and easy to use, but the colors often don't take well, and often aren't colorfast or have odd results on different materials. You'll get the most vibrant results using a dye designed for wool, but RIT can be used. Again, test on another wool piece first to see your results.
With any type of dyeing, choosing the right type of dye and testing it before use are key. Particularly with wool, you want to ensure you're choosing a dye that will produce the color you want, and can do so without requiring so much heat that it will shrink or felt your item.