February 12, 2018

GAP trousers waistband dye project

As you may recall, on my first 10th Doctor brown suit, I wanted to reproduce the interior of the original GAP trousers as exactly as possible, even to the extent of the blue striped waistband material.

10th Doctor GAP trousers replica, mk1
My GAP trousers replica, mk1


I was satisfied with my results at the time (nearly two years ago), but I've since learned much more about proper fabric dyeing from my friend Michael Cowart and been generously provided with a swatch of the original GAP trousers' waistband by Alex Murphy, aka "The Ginger Doctor."

With that swatch in-hand, a few yards of Magnoli's updated brown replica fabric, and a few minor imperfections in my existing brown suit bugging me, I've decided to give it another go - and this time, I'll be able to achieve a higher degree of "accuracy" to the original GAP trousers by color-matching the waistband material! 

It actually only took a few rounds of experimenting to land on what I believe to be an acceptable result.

10th Doctor GAP trousers waistband dye experiments


Naturally, the first thing I tested was a couple of the most promising pre-mixed fiber-reactive dye colors from Dharma Trading Company, but while beautiful colors, neither of them were close enough to what I was wanting.

10th Doctor GAP trousers waistband dye experiment
PR156 "Clear Sky"
10th Doctor GAP trousers waistband dye experiment
PR26 "Sky Blue"


To my eye, the desired color looked like it might be achievable with a combination of the two colors, so just for the hell of it, I whipped up a 50/50 mix and tested at a few different depths-of-shade - just to see what would happen.

10th Doctor GAP trousers waistband dye experiment
50% PR156 "Clear Sky"/
50% PR26 "Sky Blue"
@ 1% depth-of-shade
10th Doctor GAP trousers waistband dye experiment
50% PR156 "Clear Sky"/
50% PR26 "Sky Blue"
@ 1.5% depth-of-shade
10th Doctor GAP trousers waistband dye experiment
50% PR156 "Clear Sky"/
50% PR26 "Sky Blue"
@ 2% depth-of-shade


Obviously, the 50/50 mix didn't yield the result I wanted, and I wasn't inclined to further experiment with the proportions of these two particular colors; it was just a whim. (I prefer working with primary/single-pigment dyes, since those give one the highest degree of control over the specific color - an approach I learned from my friend Michael.) 

Of these, though, the 50/50 mix at 2% depth-of-shade yielded the closest result.

10th Doctor GAP trousers waistband dye experiment
50% PR156 "Clear Sky"/50% PR26 "Sky Blue" @ 2% depth-of-shade


While obviously not an ideal color match in direct sunlight, in normal indoor lighting (and under flash), the difference was less pronounced.

10th Doctor GAP trousers waistband dye experiment
50% PR156 "Clear Sky"/
50% PR26 "Sky Blue"
@ 2% depth-of-shade
(indoors, no flash)
10th Doctor GAP trousers waistband dye experiment
50% PR156 "Clear Sky"/
50% PR26 "Sky Blue"
@ 2% depth-of-shade
(indoors, w/ flash)


Truthfully, I could've probably just rolled with it, but I believed I could get closer. 

Time for a different plan of attack! 


I decided the "Clear Sky" was the closer of the two, but it needed a bit of yellow to shift it toward a greener/more teal blue. For this, I used Dharma's "Lemon Yellow" (a primary/single-pigment dye color) and tested a few different proportions.

10th Doctor GAP trousers waistband dye experiment
97% PR156 "Clear Sky"/
3% PR1 "Lemon Yellow"
@ 2.5% depth-of-shade
10th Doctor GAP trousers waistband dye experiment
97% PR156 "Clear Sky"/
3% PR1 "Lemon Yellow"
@ 2.5% depth-of-shade
10th Doctor GAP trousers waistband dye experiment
95% PR156 "Clear Sky"/
5% PR1 "Lemon Yellow"
@ 2.5% depth-of-shade
10th Doctor GAP trousers waistband dye experiment
95% PR156 "Clear Sky"/
5% PR1 "Lemon Yellow"
@ 2.5% depth-of-shade
10th Doctor GAP trousers waistband dye experiment
90% PR156 "Clear Sky"/10% PR1 "Lemon Yellow" @ 2.5% depth-of-shade


Obviously, 10% yellow was overkill and diluted the blue too much. Maybe with a higher depth-of-shade it might've turned out better, but I was pretty happy with the other two results. 

To my eye, the 97% "Clear Sky"/3% "Lemon Yellow" mix appeared to be a slightly closer match. 

Here's how it looks in normal indoor lighting, and under flash:

10th Doctor GAP trousers waistband dye experiment
97% PR156 "Clear Sky"/
3% PR1 "Lemon Yellow"
@ 2.5% depth-of-shade
(indoors, no flash)
10th Doctor GAP trousers waistband dye experiment
97% PR156 "Clear Sky"/
3% PR1 "Lemon Yellow"
@ 2.5% depth-of-shade
(indoors, w/ flash)


Pretty darn close! 

In fact, one could hardly go wrong with either the aforementioned 50% "Clear Sky"/50% "Sky Blue" @ 2% or the 97% "Clear Sky"/3% "Lemon Yellow" @ 2.5% ... here's a comparison of the two in normal indoor lighting:

10th Doctor GAP trousers waistband dye experiments


And here's an up-closer comparison of the two mixes, with and without flash:

10th Doctor GAP trousers waistband dye experiments


Neither is perfect, but both are very, very close - close enough for me, at least! 

As I said, either formula will work, and I think it's probably a matter of personal preference at this point. 

I'm partial to the 97% "Clear Sky"/3% "Lemon Yellow" mix @ 2.5%, myself!

10th Doctor GAP trousers waistband dye test

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