Which Wedding Dress Fabrics will Dye Best?

Gown dyeing is both an art and science. Like many things in life, the answer to this question is: it depends. As there is finesse involved, and an element of imperfection typical of hand work arises, we created this guideline for the curious.

There are a few considerations:

Don't worry. Our dye experts will guide you through identifying your fabric and sharing our expectations in your complimentary consult. We never promise a result without your swatch test.

Aiming for Black

Black is also our most popular request, but we schedule only one at a time. Please allow for a generous booking period so that we may give your gothic beauty the attention she deserves.

Where it takes 4 drops to achieve blush on an entire ballgown, it can take pounds of pigment to achieve black. Black dyed gowns among both the most challenging colors to dye. Any resistance from a fabric at all tends to make pushing from a charcoal to a satisfying black really challenging.  We've had some tests top out at charcoal and others an eggplant shade (as black dye is just very saturated blue and red pigment).

Dyeing Results by Fiber and Fabric Type

Nylon Tulle 👍/ ✅

Soft English net, delicate bridal tulle. Most will achieve any color. Do not confuse with polyester tulle, which is not as optimal.

Nylon Lace 👍/ ✅

Optimal and suitable for every color, including jewel tones and can achieve rich, jet black.

Poly/Lycra Blends 👍/ 🤷❓

Usually successful in reaching even vibrant tones, but will depend upon percentage of poly in blend.

Polyester Organza 😬 / 👎

Lovely as a pastel or maybe midtone. Not a good candidate for jewel tones or black.

Polyester Tulle 😬 / 👎

Will achieve pastel or maybe midtone. Not a good candidate for jewel tones or black.

Polyester Chiffon ⚠️

Success depends upon color goal. Some colors are more muted. Yellow-based tones tend to be ✅

Polyester Satin ⚠️/🤷❓

Satins are often treated with extra finishes to add gloss or body. Unfortunately, this can be like trying to dye something Scotchgarded. We don't know until we swatch test.

Silk Organza 👍/ ✅

Silk takes color well; we just need to verify that it can withstand water without damage.

Polyester Crepe ⚠️/🤷❓

Thick, hydrophobic, neoprene-like varieties do not hold water evenly, therefore cannot dye evenly. Lightweight varieties are ✅

Silk Tulle 👍/ ✅

Silk takes color well; we just need to verify that it can withstand water without damage.

Polyester Lace 😬 / 👎

Will achieve pastel or sometimes midtones. Not likely to reach jewel tones or black.

Polyester or Acetate Taffeta ⚠️

With aggressive dye saturation AND time, it can reach rich tones when dyeing allover. Ombre projects are challenging to reach dark colors.

Embellishments ⚠️

Plastic and acrylic elements tend to tint. Glass and crystal will not color at all. Metal takes slight tint. Glued rhinestones may loosen in heated bath.

Horsehair 😬 / 👎

Does not take color, which is often acceptable with clear horsehair. White may be best replaced with your tailor; we can order horsehair in many colors.

About Embroidery, Thread ⚠️

Embroidery and laces with poly thread may not reach darker tones. Metallic embroidery does tint subtly.

Mixed Fiber Gowns ⚠️

Wedding dresses are often combined with multiple fiber elements. For instance, a corded lace may have the base embroidered applique in polyester, but the cord in nylon. The base underneath may dye better than the tulle lace is appliqued upon. These gowns will have multidimensional results.  We'll share our expectations for each of your specific project's fabrics in your consultation and then swatch test every one for you to clearly see before proceeding.


We absolutely do not need a white dress as a base! So long as we can use additive color (red dress + blue overdye = purple result), this is a great way to liven up beloved garments. We'll help you review your color plan with fiber content details.

Poly Mikado 😬 / 👎

Takes on a really gorgeous metallic effect, but very resistant. Dyeing mikado black yields a silver result. Great for pastel to midtones, not a candidate for darker tones.

Glitter Tulle 👍/ ✅

Plastic-based glitters will tint well. Some shed is to be expected as heat loosens glue, but it's never a noticable amount. The base tulle result depends upon that fiber content.

Sequins, Sequin Tulle ⚠️

Transparency remains the same; clear sequins dyed blue become transparent blue. Opaque sequins have sometimes been resistant to dye entirely. The tulle backing's result depends upon that fiber content. Sequins do limit the amount of time we can have a garment in a heated bath.

Cotton Lace 👍/ ✅

Takes color easily. If only the cotton is being dyed, heat can be avoided and shrink will not be a concern.

Dyeing Considerations (Which We'll Help You Navigate)

Dyeing Factors Which Can Effect Alterations

We'll suggest a plan in your consult, but you can learn more here about likelihood of shrink or stretch.

Identify Your Gown's Fiber and Fabric

To share our expectations for how your color goal and dress's capacity align, we need to know both.


We happily dye outside dresses, but our dye-optimized True Colors collection guarantees achieving your vibrant color goals.

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The idea of presenting yourself to be joined for a lifetime calls for the most authentic expression of your lifetime. Renegade offers Dyeing Services, Custom Design Services, and exciting Collections.