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Fabrics are far more as complex than the colour one sees. Colouring techniques are a great sign of quality and craftmanship. There are three types of colour dyeing processes in manufacturing fabrics:
1. Piece dye – where pre-woven fabric is dyed. Mostly reserved for mass production as this offers a visible colouring to the customer but only shallow in depth for longevity.
2. Yarn dye – where spun yarn is dyed a single colour. Used in higher quality mass production garments where there is no need to create complex or rich colouring.
3. Top dye – a more arduous process where the actual worsted wool fibre is dyed and then colour blended into top dye yarn. This is mostly seen in exclusive small run top quality production where quality and complexity are key to its brand service levels. TOP DYE yarn is where the colouring process is performed at the very core of the fibre, so that the colour will last (and stay vivid) for the life of the garment. This colour generally does not fade with time. Fabric mills who are in the business of mass production, will opt for a more cost effective method where they spin what is referred to as “ecru coloured yarn” and then dye this pre-spun yarn using heat and pressure to saturate the yarn, this proves to be only a superficial result in depth of colour. TOP DYE yarn creates a complex colour that reads like an oil painting; where many colours are working together to create a hue with depth and character. Unlike yarn dyed cloth, Top Dyed cloth is woven with Top Dyed yarn. Top dye yarn is created by blending up to 16 different colours of dyed fibre into a single ply. The result is a rich and complex colour, a work of art in structure and depth. Quite simply a top dye colour cannot be recreated or copied using a yarn dye process. Generic “house brand” mills, or mass production fabric mills will seldom sell Top Dyed cloth simply due to the cost of production and or lack of production expertise, ask your tailor for the names of the Mills before making a decision on a fabric. A simple online search will assist you to highlight these differences within minutes.