...about the Mercerization process?
Mercerization is a process that makes cotton take dye better and increases its luster!
It was originally developed and patented by a man named John Mercer in 1844. The cotton is treated with Sodium Hydroxide (Caustic Soda) to swell the fibers and increase the fiber's luster as well as its affinity for dye by increasing the surface area of the fiber. Afterwards, the fabric is soaked in an acidic bath to neutralize the base. Also, by swelling the fibers in this highly alkaline bath, it makes the cotton fibers stronger and "pre-shrunk" because the they don't retract, so the woven fabric will shrink less later. The fabric also has a smoother and more lustrous look when mercerized under tension.
Mercerized Cotton Fabrics accept dye so much better than other fabrics, it's amazing. Mercerization gives a much richer and more vibrant color saturation than with unmercerized versions of the same cotton fabric.
Here is a picture, side by side, of of mercerized and unmercerized fabrics dyed in the same dye bath. You can see that the mercerized one is a much deeper and richer color.
Dharma carries 2 types of Mercerized Cotton Fabric: our best selling #CPC (Cotton Print Cloth), and our fabulous #MCCB (Combed Cotton Broadcloth).
The #KC (Kona Cotton)while not mercerized also dyes almost or as well as the mercerized cottons above. It is also one of our best selling cotton fabrics and that's one of the reasons.
Additionally, we also carry #MCTH (Mercerized Cotton Thread) in both natural and white for all your sewing needs.
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