Frequently Asked Questions on our Dyed Fabrics

1. Can the dyed fabric be used outdoors?

Short Answer: Not recommended
Long Answer: Fabrics that go for outdoor applications [tents, awnings, etc.] are exposed to harsh weather. Hence they are manufactured to meet a different set of specifications. Certain additives like UV inhibitors (to prevent color fading); mildew inhibitors (to prevent mold & mildew); Fluorocarbons (for stain resistance) are included in the dye bath. A simple direct dye like what we have used on our stock program will not be adequate to meet the above requirements. So, our stock dyed fabrics are ngreen.jpgot suitable for outdoor use. The only exception to this rule will be our specialty finishes (Sunforger, Canvak & Pyrosnuff). 

2. Can I wash the dyed fabric or the product made from it? 

Short Answer: Not recommended
Long Answer: For reasons beyond our control, we do not recommend washing the fabrics purchased from our dyed stock programs. We can gladly submit a quote to meet the specific needs. Please contact us for more information. 

3. Can I make garments using your dyed fabrics?  

Short Answer: Yes and No. 
Long Answer: If you consider work-wear and uniforms as a garment (believe us, some do!), then you can use our dyed fabrics for that purpose. If you are planning to make shirts, skirts or pants, then we suggest not to use our dyed fabrics.  Our production technique and materials used do not result in a good quality dyed fabric suitable for making garments. Basically, all our dyed fabrics are intended for an industrial application like tote bags, aprons, upholstery, etc.

4. I have a need for a specific color. Can you do custom dyeing and finishing?   


Short Answer:  Yes! We certainly can.

Long Answer:  With an array of 10 product lines and 100's of color choices as a stock program, we certainly hope that one of our stock fabrics will meet your need. But if you have a specific color or finish, we certainly can help you. Custom color? Need fabric slit? Special put-ups? Need an FR finish? Vat Dyeing? Military Specs? No problem! We can do most of them. Even if we cannot, we will at least we can offer you an alternative.

5. Is color bleeding and crocking the same?

Short Answer: No. They are not!

Long Answer:  Based on our experience, we can say for sure that crocking and bleeding are always mixed up and used interchangeably by our customers. For a textile purist, both are as vastly different as an onion is from a pumpkin. 

Crocking refers to the "color-transference" of a fabric. In layman terms, it is called "rubbing". There are two types of crocking - Dry & Wet. In dry crocking, a piece of a dry white cloth is rubbed against the dyed fabric in a crock-meter. After a specific time (or number of rubs), the white fabric which will have some stain from the dyed fabric (due to the rubbing) is measured on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being "very poor" & 5 being "excellent".  The same method is used for a wet crocking, except that in this case, the white cloth is damp. All our stock program dyed fabrics have a dry crock of 2.5 - 3.5+ and a wet crock of 1.5 - 2.5+, depending on the color. There is no such thing as "no crocking". Every fabric crocks (except white) - some less, some more. As an end user/manufacturer, you need to advise us what standards are acceptable. 

Bleeding means "What happens when the dyed fabric is washed?” Dark colors like black and red will bleed more in comparison to a tan or light grey. There are other factors like temperature of the water, washing time, type of detergent used, etc. that can affect the color bleeding in a fabric. There are different standards set by ISO & AATCC to determine the various levels of color bleeding. 
You need to inform us the wash standards of the dyed fabric so that we can advise you further. 

6. I don't want any color bleeding in my fabrics. Can you guarantee that?  

Short Answer:  Sorry, we cannot! Truth be told - nobody in the industrial fabric business can make that guarantee.
Long Answer:   Every dyed fabric bleeds. Some bleed more, some less! If you cut a small piece of a black or red dyed duck fabric and dip it in a cup of warm water, you will observe color bleeding. This is normal. On the contrary, if it was a light color like grey or linen, you may not see any bleeding. There are several aspects that affect color bleeding [texture and weight of the cloth, color, dye method, apparatus, chemicals, etc.].  We do not have any control on how the end-user is going to wash the fabric. So, we cannot guarantee on color bleeding. Our simple advise is never to wash the fabric. If at all required, you may remove the excess dirt using a moist sponge and air dry.  Based on our collective experience, we can recommend a few things that improve the color bleeding in the cloth. However, dyeing is not an exact science and there is no guarantee for a zero color bleed. 

7. I want the best color-fastness in the fabric. Any suggestions? 

We have also seen that the term "color-fastness" gets mixed up with crocking and bleeding (see Q-5 & Q-6 above) by our customers. In a technical sense, color-fastness or light-fastness refers to what happens to the color of the fabric when it is exposed continuously to a steady source of light. This term is usually reserved for fabrics intended for outdoor use [e.g., casual furniture]. In lab conditions, the dyed fabric is exposed to a Xenon Arc lamp that emits UV radiations on glowing. The fabric is exposed to a certain amount of time [say 1500 hours] and then compared on a scale of 1 to 8, with 1 being "severe loss of color" to 8 being "no change in color". Since our stock dyed fabrics do not have any UV inhibitors, we neither have tested this light-fastness nor recommend our fabric for outdoor use. The only exception to this rule will be our specialty finishes (Sunforger, Canvak & Pyrosnuff), which are suitable for outdoor use [but we do not guarantee any colorfastness]. Our regular dyed stock collection is not suitable for outdoor use. For better colorfastness, we would suggest you to go with Vat Dyeing. 

8. I have a product in my mind. But I am not familiar with the textile terms and specifications. Will you help me? 

Absolutely! It is a two way learning process. We have done this exercise many a time with several folks who are now our loyal customers. The more we know about the product, the better we can help you. We may not have all the answers, but, we work with some of the brightest minds in the U.S. Textile Industry who can help us. Rest assured your discussions with us will be treated as confidential. 

9. What is Natural canvas?

A fabric that is thicker, heavier or coarser than the cloth usually used for producing garments is referred to as "canvas". The word natural is used here to mean a fabric in its natural state, unwashed or unbleached. Such fabric is also called "greige" or "grey" or "gray". Heavier fabrics are also referred to as ducks.

You can see a natural canvas product here

10. Is duck canvas water resistant?

The duck canvas uses coarser, plied yarns. It is also heavier than the fabrics used for producing garments. In the natural unbleached condition, there are some natural oils and a very small amount of starch in the duck cloth. This will help resist a water spray. The bag produced may hold good for a minute or two against a slight drizzle. Beyond that it will not hold good. We have to apply a water repellent finish to make the fabric more water resistant.

11. Is canvas waterproof material?

Canvas is not inherently water resistant and so is certainly not waterproof. Water proofing means water cannot penetrate into the fabric. Period. Water resistance means the fabric will repel (beat off) water for a limited time. Canvas and Duck fabrics made from 100% cotton are breathable. That means there are air-spaces (pores) between the warp and the weft yarns in the cloth. These pores are completely sealed off using a water proofing process (e.g. coating with PVC, rubber and wax).

We have to use a water resistant finish on canvas to make it water repellent. For this a pigment (e.g. silicone) is sprayed on the surface that partially seals the air-pores. That helps the fabric breathe. Water repellent is another term used in the trade for water resistance.

12. What kind of canvas should I use for acrylic paint?

For painting with acrylic or oil paints, a primed canvas should be used. Priming means coating the fabric on the backside with an acrylic primer. The coating prevents the ink from oozing through the canvas fabric. Acrylic primer is also known as "acrylic gesso". One or two layers of the acrylic primer should be applied. Colors will stand out well in a properly primed canvas. If a canvas is not properly primed dull patches may appear on the painting where the oil is absorbed by the canvas cloth.

You can see a primed canvas product here

13. What is the difference between duck and canvas?

In a layperson's terms, there isn't any difference. The words duck and canvas have been used interchangeably for almost a century now. There is no scientific demarcation between the two either because these are colloquial terms. Both mean the fabric is heavier, coarser and stronger than a garment quality fabric. In the trade, usually a fabric of 7 oz/sq.yd or heavier is called as a duck. Ducks can be as heavy as 30+ oz/sq.yd.

You can see 12 oz duck natural canvas here

14. Is canvas a natural material?

If the canvas is produced with 100% cotton fibers and in an unbleached form, then it is 100% natural. If the canvas is produced using a blend (e.g. Polyester and Cotton), then it is partially natural. If the canvas is produced using a synthetic fiber (e.g. 100% Spun Polyesters), then it is not natural.

15. Is Canvas considered paper?

Canvas is not considered as paper. However with some advanced technical coatings, coated canvas is supplied in an A4 paper size sheet which can be fed into special digital printers and an image can be printed directly on to the canvas.

16. How is canvas weight measured?

The weight is measured in GSM (Grams per square meter) or OSY (Ounces per square yard). The former is the SI (abbreviated from the French Système International) system of measurement. The latter is the Imperial System (USA). In simple terms all it means is the weight of a 36" x 36" piece of the cloth. In the U.S, from a manufacturing perspective, the cloth is usually referred as Yards per Pound.

17. What is duck cloth used for?

Duck cloth is used for bags, aprons, sail cloth, sacks, drop cloths, covers, tents, tarps, artist canvas, filter cloth, belting and all such industrial products.

18. What materials can you use to paint on canvas?

Acrylic and oil paints are popular for use on canvas. Other paints such as gouache, tempera and even latex house paints have been tried, but not with much success. Canvas is not well suited for such paints. You should also avoid using water colors on canvas.

You can see an example of canvas suited for acrylic and oil paints here

19. Which is better, linen or cotton canvas?

A linen canvas has a painting surface that is smoother and more robust. The linen fiber’s natural tensile strength is double that of cotton, which means the fabric will not stretch easily when moistened. For this reason, linen is the better option for larger pieces of work. The cloth will still hold its overall shape and tautness in most circumstances and environments.

Another factor to consider is the desired longevity of the painting. The reasoning behind this is relative to the rate at which cotton decays. The fibers are significantly weaker in structure than linen fibers, especially when wet. However, a heavier weight cotton canvas can combat the effects of excessive moisture. For a painting that will stay true to the test of time, choose linen. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties, both of which help to preserve the integrity of the material.

If the piece is to be used as a temporary wall decoration, a cotton canvas would be the economical choice because cotton canvas costs less.

You can view a linen canvas product here

20. What is an unframed canvas?

Unframed canvas is a simple piece or roll of canvas which is not stretched to a frame. The piece or roll of fabric comes right out of the bag as packed at the fabric mill. There is no finish or color to the fabric. In trade the description used for such a piece or roll is "the fabric is in its loomstate".

21. Is canvas a strong material?

Canvas fabrics are very strong when compared to ordinary fabric used for garments. Will it be strong enough to make a durable tote bag? Yes. Is it good for stretching on a frame? Yes. Is it strong enough to make a tent? Yes.

The term "strong" is relative. Is it strong enough to pull a loaded 40' container stuck in a trench? May be not. There are stronger materials such as nylon belts for that.

22. What does canvas feel like?

Canvas feels like… well canvas. That is to say canvas is quite unique in its texture and feel. The fabric has a coarse structure, a beefy feel and is quite heavy too. So, it is easy to tell that a canvas fabric will not feel great if used in a garment such as a shirt though it is often used for personal use products such as sneakers.

23. Is canvas a polyester?

Canvas could be made from polyester. Canvas is a broad term. Generally, the word is associated with heavy fabrics woven using 100% cotton threads. But it is not a rule. You can get canvas made using 100% spun polyester as well. You can get canvas made with a polyester-nylon blend. There are many such variations possible. Only a handful of such combinations are popular though and natural canvas is the most popular product because of its versatility.

24. What is canvas material made from?

Canvas is usually made from cotton. It can also be made from linen, polyester and blends.

25. Is canvas stronger than denim?

Yes and No. Denim has a strong weave but depending on the yarn used for the canvas, either could be stronger. A denim usually is a 10-14 oz cotton fabric with a twill weave. A twill weave is stronger than a plain weave duck of similar weight. So, a 10 oz Denim will be stronger than a 10 oz Canvas (or Duck). But there are other types of ducks that are stronger. A 10.10 oz army duck or a #4 duck (24 oz) will be having a higher tensile strength than denim. Therefore it is stronger in that respect.

26. What is the best fabric for slipcovers?

An 8-10 oz natural or dyed cotton fabric, preferably with a twill weave, should be the choice. If the fabric has been treated for shrinkage control, it is even better.

27. Does duck canvas shrink?

All cotton duck canvas fabrics will shrink. Some shrink less and some shrink more. The amount of shrinkage depends on whether the fabric has been treated for shrinkage. Untreated heavy cotton ducks (18 oz or more) will have a residual shrinkage ranging from 3% to 6%. 9-14 oz cotton ducks will have a shrinkage ranging from 6% to 9%. Fabrics less than 8 oz can shrink up to 12%. The amount of shrinkage also depends on the texture, weave and the purpose for which the fabric is used. It also depends on how often the end product will be washed.

28. Is canvas good for upholstery?

Canvas was used extensively for upholstery before synthetic fabrics became the popular choice. Canvas still is often used for upholstery applications. For example pillow shells and chair covers are still made using cotton canvas.

29. What is the best type of canvas for acrylic painting?

Cotton canvas is the most popular choice. Linen canvas is also popular specially with oil painters for its smooth, stiff surface, and it can also be used in acrylic paintings. Acrylic paints can be applied directly onto the canvas surface. Oil paints require the canvas to be primed. This is because acrylic paints will not get absorbed like oil paint into the canvas material. Acrylic paints produce strong, bright colors on raw cotton canvas. There is no need to size or prime the canvas before you start working with acrylic paints.

30. Is canvas flammable?

All untreated cotton ducks or canvas fabrics are flammable. The fabrics needs to be treated with flame retardant chemicals before they can be used in such environments where flame retardant fabric is safe to use. If the fire risk cannot be met by flame retardant materials canvas should not be used.

31. Is polyester canvas waterproof?

Polyester is inherently water repellent. But there are still gaps left in the weave of the fabric. Therefore to enhance the water repellent property of polyester canvas a polyurethane coating is applied. To make polyester canvas water proof, either an acrylic coating or a PVC coating is applied.

32. What's the difference between cotton and polyester?

Cotton is a natural fiber. Polyester is a synthetic fabric produced by polymerizing ester molecules. There are two types of polyesters - spun polyesters and filament polyesters. Filament poly is a brittle fiber and used in high tenacity applications (eg., boat covers, tents, etc.) Spun polyester has a soft, cotton/wool like feel and is used in various industrial applications like filter cloths and tote bags. Cotton fabrics breathe where as polyester fabrics do not breathe.

33. What is the difference between duck and twill fabric?

A duck is a plain weave fabric. A twill has a diagonal weave, like denim.

34. What type of fabric is twill?

Usually twill is 100% cotton. It is though produced using spun polyesters as well.

35. Is canvas natural or synthetic?

If produced using cotton or linen, canvas is 100% natural. If synthetic materials such as polyester and aramide are used then it is not natural.


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