Indigo Blue Is Now A Fiber Reactive Dye Color!
If you don't want to mess with Indigo Vats, reducing and oxidizing, not to mention crocking (think the "Tuareg, The Blue Men of the Sahara, an ancient Berber tribe that ranges from southern Morocco...", not the Blue Man Group) we have a permanent Fiber Reactive Dye color that we added awhile back to our expanding line of professional dyes for natural fibers! You customers are probably saying "..it's about time!" It is #PR168 - Indigo Blue*!
For years (decades?) we have had folks ask which of our Fiber Reactive colors most resembles natural Indigo. They want that beautiful millennia old color, but don't want to mess with Indigo vats - they have the Indigo Blues! Depending on whom here you might talk to, we all have had our favorite recommendations, not necessarily the same, but the truth really was, it was subjective, because none of our existing colors were a true match.
True natural Indigo, reduced and oxidized correctly, produces a beautiful blue shade with slight reddish tones. (Green toned indigo isn't oxidized all the way, but now we are getting too much into the chemistry of Indigo dyeing!) The other aspect of Indigo is, the more you dip the fabric in the bath, oxidize (expose to the air) and dip again, the more layers of Indigo you build up, and the deeper and richer the hue gets.
Our task was not easy! Develop a color that had the ability to match that shade in all the strengths, i.e. if you use more dye, it will also get deeper and richer, and still maintain the proper color value, i.e. not shift the way some mixes do. Also, it had to have just the right amount of red in it to match, yet not bleed red with tie-dye or shibori techniques. Natural Indigo does NOT bleed red! So we never got around to it, until our Retail Store Manager bugged us and reminded us that all things Indigo are enjoying a huge resurgence in popularity these days, and we just needed that color. Now if you don't want to "cheat", and you want the real deal, click here!
There ARE some advantages, if you just want that beautiful Indigo blue hue, to using a Fiber Reactive Dye over natural Indigo, or the easier to use Pre-reduced Indigo crystals. Have you ever bought a wonderful Indigo dyed garment, and worn it right off the rack because you were so drawn to its beauty, and felt like you needed to send in an application to the Blue Man Group afterwards? Did you know the ancient Tuareg people of the Sahara were/are also known as the Blue Men? This is because they traditionally dye all of their clothing with Indigo, and it rubs off the clothing and stains much of their skin over time. This is called "crocking". There are, of course, ways to reduce crocking, and fading, with natural Indigo - hot Dharma Dye Fixative soak, then a hot Synthrapol wash. But those of us who have used Fiber Reactive Dyes know, when used properly and washed thoroughly, that this dye actually chemically bonds to the fabric, and it does NOT come off, or crock. Babies can safely chew on fabric properly dyed with Reactive dyes. They also do not fade with every wash, but retain their original beauty long after the fabric is worn out! Only sun and bleach or other discharge chemicals can fade Reactive Dyes!
When using this color, it depends on the shade of Indigo you want, how much you use in the dye bath or tie-dye, etc., recipe. We have called it a * color, because using double the "normal" amount is in the middle of the range. But you can use as little or much as you like!
Here are some guidelines:
2% OWG for tub dye, 2tsp/8oz water for tie-dye = 1 dip in the Indigo vat color - a lovely lighter blue
*4% OWG for tub dye, 4tsp/8oz water for tie-dye = 2 dips or so in the Indigo vat - about twice as dark
**8% OWG for tub dye, or 8tsp/8oz water for tie-dye yields the deep rich blue you would expect from multiple dips and "aerations" in and out of the Indigo Vat.
Tie-dye and other forms of "direct application" are using a really concentrated dye mix, so we found that you can actually get some pretty deep tones just using 2 to 4 tsp/8 oz water, so experiment!!!
(OWG stands for Of Weight of Goods, so for example, 2% of 1 lb of fabric is .02 x 16 oz or .32 of an ounce per lb of dry fabric - see our instructions for Tub Dyeing solid colors with Fiber Reactive Dyes here.
Here are some dyed samples: