A Garment-dyed piece of clothing has a soul.

It has a story to tell with its perfectly fringed cut edges, wavy stitches and the slightly varying dispersion of color pigments.

So let’s tell its story and be full of esteem for the people involved in this process – trying to reach precision while working with virgin materials and circumstances that by nature are not precise.

If you ever wondered why sometimes you wear different sizes of the same brand or why one fabric of the same collection has a slightly different tone – here comes the answer:

“Garment-dyed clothes” means that the item was sewn from raw white fabric, with raw white cotton yarn and buttons, after which it is being dyed in the desired color.

Sounds easy, right? But there are quite a few pitfalls. Inadvertently we learned a lot about them during our first collections.;) It’s no “sexy fashion topic” and but we thought it’s time to add some reality to the nice and shiny pictures of fashion campaigns.

The hardest learning of all was: You will never be able to have 100% control.

During the dyeing and tumbling process, single clothes are being spin-cycled in machines with up to 130 kg of clothing (a common household machine has about 7-12 kg). They are exposed to temperatures up to 90°C (= 194°F) and of course to colorants. This brings along some challenges:


Raw fabrics shrink during the dyeing process. In order to get the item we dye in the size that we want it to be, we cut pieces of fabrics of about 2x2m and sew a 1x1 m square on them. We have them dyed and then measure how the length of the sewing stitches changed in order to find out how many percent the fabric shrinked in width and length. This information is being applied on the pattern. The challenge here is that you cannot be 100% sure that the fabric will always behave this exact same way. Even fabrics from the same production batch behave differently depending on the tension they have been rolled up with, big surfaces of fabric without seams behave differently compared to surfaces of fabrics that are halted by seams, etc. The unfortunate reality is: We all have to accept that there is a variance in the sizing as you can never be sure that the item come out exactly on point.


The fabric is exposed to forces during spin-cycling. There are some precautionary measures to avoid fabric or sewing-yarn ripping as going through the spin-cycle. Such are: turning each piece to the left side, fixing the sleeves to each other, using bar tags at the end of seems, closing the pockets with a loose seam, etc. But some items simply twist their way along the washing machine ride so that they get caught up between other items and . . . rip.


The same color recipe generates a varying outcome on different fabrics. Even though they are based on the same material (e.g. cotton). This is especially challenging when using fabric-mixes in the design. And then of course there are the buttons and yarns that soak up the pigments differently. Compliments to the scientists finding the mixture that make them all match!


Just to make the entire process slightly more complete: We did not yet talk about the little pouches that are being attached to protect each care-label so you can still read what it says. They are being taken off again afterwards. Or the fact that each item with cut edges goes through a “hair-styling-process” (to make it sound more fashion-sexy). Meaning, that a person takes each piece, turns it back to the right side, unknots all fringes that got loose and wrapped around buttons plus themselves, cuts them and brings the edges into final shape before buttoning up the piece and folding it to be delivered.

These are some insights on the “science of garment-dyeing”. There is much more to this entire process that only the people wearing the white coats and holding a pipette in their hands know about.

Maybe next time one of us, who’s not working in the textile dyeing industry, is holding a garment-dyed piece of clothing in his/her hands, he/she will be thinking of this blog post

. . . and will love the piece of clothing even more!

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