Dyeing

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「日本人は藁の煙だけを用いて極めて巧みに着色する」戦国時代、宣教師が驚愕した超絶技巧『印伝』:DDN JAPAN

燻べ

traditional japanese dyeing “fusube (to smoke)“

“We dye the leather using colors, but the Japanese ingeniously adorned the dyes with the smoke from straws.”

— 16th-century Portuguese missionary, Luis Frois (source [PDF] The Yamanashi Grapevine)       

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So because I’ve found so many tutorials/work logs from other cosplayers extremely helpful, I decided I should give back by sharing information I have from work/school on dyeing/fabric design.

Have you ever dyed a fabric for a costume and gotten terrible results, or actually liked your dye job, but it washed out or rubbed off on you while you were wearing it at a con? In this first video, I go over several different types of dyes and what they’re used for, as well as tools any dyer (whether you do it once or daily like me) needs in his/her arsenal.

Sorry it’s so long, but this is actually cut down quite a bit from my original footage! I could talk all day about this stuff :)

Happy weekend lovely peeps! It’s been a bit of a drizzly ol’ week here in my little town (lots of afternoon thunderstorms) which has given me a great excuse (after work) to spend some time #dyeing up #BFL fibre and #spinning awat to my heart’s content. Over the next few days I’ll be sharing some of my recent #handspun #yarn and sharing the result of some serious colour blending I’ve been doing. So much fun! (at Yass NSW)

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I loved the scene in episode 5 of Outlander that had the Scotswomen working together & singing while ‘waulking’ the wool … this involved soaking the wool in hot urine to set the dye back in the 1700s … also known as 'fulling’ …they’re using their hands in the tv series but in the engraving from the 1770s, notice they are only using their feet to handle the wool … in truth,  it probably helped to soften the feet …

Fulling or tucking or walking (“waulking” in Scotland) is a step in woolen clothmaking which involves the cleansing of cloth (particularly wool) to eliminate oils, dirt, and other impurities, and making it thicker. The worker who does the job is a fuller, tucker, or walker.The Welsh word for a fulling mill is pandy, which appears in many place-names.

Process

Fulling involves two processes, scouring and milling (thickening). Originally, fulling was carried out by pounding the woolen cloth with the fuller’s feet, or hands, or a club. In Scottish Gaelic tradition, this process was accompanied by waulking songs which women sang to set the pace. From the medieval period, however, fulling often was carried out in a water mill.

These processes are followed by stretching the cloth on great frames known as tenters, to which it is attached by tenterhooks. It is from this process that the phrase being on tenterhooks is derived, as meaning to be held in suspense. The area where the tenters were erected was known as a tenterground.

Scouring

In Roman times, fulling was conducted by slaves working the cloth while ankle deep in tubs of human urine. Urine was so important to the fulling business that it was taxed. Stale urine, known as wash, was a source of ammonium salts and assisted in cleansing and whitening the cloth.

By the medieval period, fuller’s earth had been introduced for use in the process. This is a soft clay-like material occurring naturally as an impure hydrous aluminium silicate. It was used in conjunction with wash. More recently, soap has been used.

~per wikipedia, fulling

this is bjds n things. Do you have pics of your blue and purple ombre wig? Did you follow a tutorial to make it? I’d like to see it if you wouldn’t mind sharing.

Hi #bjds-n-things , sorry for the delay in answering - I was away for two days and then needed to hunt down/take pics of what I did. If I remember correctly, I followed Xanthi’s wig-making tutorial. For the coloring itself I don’t remember reading anything specific.

My process:

I bought unwashed Suri Alpaca locks online and combed, washed, dried, and combed them before starting the dyeing process. If you can, I would recommend purchasing alpaca hair that has already been washed and combed as (for me) the process was very tedious and I lost A LOT of the original hair.

Below you can see my super professional set up ;) I transfered smaller amounts of the colors to a mixing plate to avoid accidental contamination to the pots. I spread out the gathered strands of alpaca to a thin (~single) layer of hairs. The spread was no longer than the span of my hand so that I could keep all of them in place.

For the wig, I used four colors - plum, midnight blue, blue lagoon, and a whitener. 

For the coloring process, I used a brush to dab/carefully stroke on the paint onto the desired area while holding on to the hairs with my other hand. I went with lightest color to darkest and always cleaned my brush when using the next color. I tried to avoid mixing of two colors by leaving a tiny tiny sliver of uncolored area between them and dabbing this border area to mix the two only after the whole strand had been colored in both colors.

Below you can see the colors AFTER use for the whole wig. Blue lagoon is more empty than the others due to having been used before for dyeing human hair. I found I used more color the lighter it was and very little of the darker shades. Generally, you don’t need much at all for one wig.

Once a strand had been colored in all four colors, I carefully pushed the hairs back together lengthwise and wrapped them in aluminum foil. After a certain amount of time, I carefully washed them until the water ran clear and dried them. Then, again, combing.

Below, you can see the strands after drying. You might notice that the ones on the right are darker and the ones on the left more pastel-colored. This is due to different exposure times before wasing out the dye. The ones one the left are closer to the manufacturers recommended time while one the right I started to extend the dyeing time to maybe double? I don’t remember anymore, it might have been around 1-2 hours for the darker ones and 0.5-1 hour for the lighter ones? The darker ones were how I wanted the colors to look.

I had made the wig cap a while before out of a tan-colored net-like fabric (not tulle! fabric like it might be used for “nude” areas on ice skating dresses or similar, I believe). Stockings/pantyhose would probably work as well. Two layers of fabric with white glue inbetween. The resulting cap is semisoft - it retains the shape of the head by itself but can easily be bent.

I had sorted my colored strands after combing by intensity and seperated them further into smaller portions for easier and thinner application to the wig cap. As you can see, I attached them step by step with white glue, working from the bottom/neck in circles upward. Like in Xanthi’s tutorial, I tried to fold over the last strand of hair to hide the glue line and to finish a parting line. I believe with more practise, it will look less messy, but this was my first ever wig, so there is still a lot of room for improvement.

After everything had dried, I started cutting away on one side of the head to generate something resembling a side cut.
The finished product is what you can see below. There are still a few points I’m not satisfied with - I’ll remake this wig someday.

Below you can see the two major things that need improving: a cleaner glue-line (thus also less messy look) and a more even coloring of the strands, at least on the side intended to be cropped to avoid a patchy look.

I originally didn’t care much about applying always the same with of color to the hairs as I thought it would help with the gradient-blending process. Furthermore, I couldn’t decide originally, which side I wanted the side-cut to be on/which side would look contain less “mistakes” after wig-making, so I used the gradient-colored strands all-around. Next time, I will color the ones intended for the side-cut in purple only.

While my wig is not super great technically, I hope this was still helpful and understandable in terms of dyeing the hair. If you need me to, I can try drawing some diagrams for the process.