Every single piece of clothing starts with a greige cloth which is simply put, an unfinished piece of woven or knitted fabric that has neither been bleached nor dyed.
How does the dyeing process work? Let’s break it down:
Singeing and desizing
Singeing the process through which the greige is inspected and loose, hairy fibers that jut out of the cloth are removed. This is done by passing the fabric over brushes that will raise these fibers. The cloth then passes over a metal plate heated by gas flames that will then burn off (singe) the raised fibers. This is essential to getting the cloth to a smooth and clean looking state that enables a smoother, shinier dye.
Desizing consists of removing sizing materials that were originally put in place to allow the fabric to resist the friction of the loom. If these were not removed the cloth would remain stiff and make bleaching and dyeing more difficult, resulting in uneven, patchy, dyeing or shade variations.
Bleaching removes the natural (grayish) color of the cloth. The procedure also has the added bonus of removing any remaining impurities from the fabric.
The bleached cloth is then subjected to inspection that will verify the absorbency of the cloth.
Mercerization is the process through which fabric or yarns are strengthened, and given a shiny appearance. This process is applied to cotton and hemp fabrics, and is considered to be an optional step in the dyeing process.
Dyeing is the process of adding color to fabric. There are various methods to dye fabrics, but the most common form of dyeing is piece dyeing, or the process of coloring the fabric after is has been constructed. Thicker yarns may be subjected to dyeing before the fabric is constructed to obtain a more even dye, not obtainable through the piece process. Yarn dyeing employs a process called vat dyeing (also known as Indigo) whereby the dye is dissolved in a vat where the fabric will be bathed.
After dyeing and/or printing is completed, the products will be subjected to inspection for defects.