Did you know………..A dye lot is a record taken during the dyeing of yarn to identify yarn that received its coloration in the same vat at the same time. Yarn manufacturers assign each lot a unique identification number and stamp it on the label before shipping.
There is always lots of talk and conversation when crafting large stage draperies about the fabric of choice and the number of “dye lots” that the project will utilize. The concern seems greatest with cotton products, where we see far broader visual variances in the color tone and density between one dye lot and another.
As a client – this means that some thought should be put towards possible future re-orders or expansion of a project by phase. For example – if you are just going to do the main stage drapes right now (utilizing say a Red 21oz Cotton Velour) but plan to add legs and border in 6 months time, you should be aware that there is significant risk of the legs and border not in fact matching the drapes when the time comes as they will be cut from a different dye lot of cloth.
We have a couple of cruise ship clients that will purchase a full dye lot of cloth and then store the remnant for replacement and drapery maintenance while out at sea. But indeed, we don’t always have budgets to allow such purchasing behaviors. So we would suggest that some mindfulness be applied when deciding what to order and when. Try to order the drapes that will “play together” such as mains and main border, or leg sets and borders. That way variations in color will be far less evident if they are given some on-stage depth separation and perspective.
Polyester Velours seem to be less impacted by dye lot variations. There are some very stable polyester velour available – such as Encore Velour (in 15 or 22oz) – which are generally speaking near exact across dye lots. Beware of large lot variations in materials such as wide muslin (in blues and greys) or in cotton napped velours.
If you are really concerned – then order a sample yard to be taken from the same “dye lot” that the order will be sewn from.
Hope that this little snippit of information is helpful to those of you who have wondered about dye lots. If there are ever any questions don’t hesitate to call us here at Sew What? Inc.