Color Theory and a Primer on Dye vs Print
Additive Color Techniques
There's a way to achieve any color combination you have in mind for your gown. The issue is WHEN to approach the color, and as you might expect, results will be in your favor if you use some intentionality from the beginning. While we dye gowns purchased anywhere, many of the ideas we have submitted from eager brides-to-be aren't feasible except with PRINTING their fabric - which we do for our custom design brides all the time! That sure sounds like bad news if you already own a gown, though. So here I am, hoping to catch you, inspired bride, while you still have options! THE SINGLE MOST VIRAL ombre dress out there, a lovely rainbow spectrum though it is, is exactly the challenge I'm talking about. That gal offers a service coloring dresses with paint, but that is not at all my recommended approach, for reasons that I always assumed would be readily apparent, but read more here.
Let's science with pretty, shall we?
Logistically speaking, an ombre dip dye with multiple colors are essentially stacked. For the swatch on the right, we'd dip yellow up to the knee or so, then red lower down, achieving the fiery yellow-orange-red blend. (And yes, there's more finesse to it than just that. lol) We could NOT, however, use dye to go from green to orange. Follow? For that, we print!
Let's look at a simple, one-color ombre dye concept. With a single color of dye, the only variable at play is saturation. A much more complex and dynamic blue might be achieved in print, though, if multiple shades are desired. Now, on some gowns, less is more. On a simple, minimalist wedding dress? Sure, go for multi-toned richness, if your heart desires.
One last point regarding color theory and dyeing is choosing colors that will naturally blend well. Let's say we've got an LSU alum bride-to-be, though, who is really feeling her alma mater and wants a purple and yellow blend. With dye, frankly, I wouldn't advise it. To counteract the "muddiness" of the blend, though, it is possible to infuse a "hidden" color (here, a magenta) to maintain the integrity of the vivid blend desired.
It's almost starting to sound like I don't love dye. haha. Not true! And I certainly prefer it to paint...but I digress! Just educating y'all on the limitatations and rules of the medium. One more thing I do need you to be aware of, though. Some people, some personalities, have a tendency to see handmade items as imperfect. If you're on of those, again, you'll love the results from printing. Dyeing will leave subtle lines and wrinkle marks from how your fabric moves within the dye bath. For this reason, I personally believe some of the best dye results are on gowns with overlay layers, like lace or tulle, that help to diffuse those "made with love" marks. This is a well-executed dip on four different fabrics.