Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Custom Dye Job

How many times have you found something you liked, but wished it were a different color?  For me that happens all the time.  Maybe you have something that you like, but you'd like to give it a little pizzazz. Make it feel new again.  If it's made of natural fibers, you can give it a Custom Dye Job! 

If you have a pair of jeans that feel great, but look tired, try dying them either indigo blue or a bright color.  Colored jeans are all kinds of trendy right now.  I can remember my mother dying her curtains.  Great idea!      

Do you remember my Peasant Top Tutorial?  The original one was heather gray with a swirly pink and orange scarf.  Here it is.
Now that it is over dyed and has a different scarf, it feels like I have a brand new shirt!
Please don't be deceived into thinking you can only dye white fabric.  You can dye just about anything made of natural fibers.  Cotton dyes beautifully.  Just an FYI...  lots of cotton garments are made with synthetic thread.  It's not uncommon for the fabric to dye well, but the thread still be white.   

Another FYI...  If the fabric is white, this process is called dying.  If the fabric is already a color, this process is called over dying.

Dye only costs between $2.00 and $3.00.  It's a great way to change or rejuvenate all kinds of things.     
These jeans, onesies, cloth diapers and shorts are about to become Petal Pink and Wine. 
This is so easy!  My washing machine does all the work.  For the most part, I follow the directions on the package of dye.  I've tried a couple of brands.  I don't know that I prefer one brand over another.  Rit seems to be the most available brand near our Stone Cottage. 

Set your washing machine for the appropriate load size and for HOT water.  I'm usually dying a small load. 
The garments need to be wet when they are placed in the dye solution.  I toss my garments into the washing machine as it fills.  The hot water in my Stone Cottage isn't all that hot.  Once the fabric is thoroughly wet, I scoop them from the water and set them on top of the agitator.  That's when I pour the dye into the washing machine.  I use the entire bottle, even on small loads.  Then I take the bottle to my sink, fill it halfway or so with water, shake well and pour that into the washing machine.  

Bold colors - now that's where it's at!  

The package directions say fabric needs to be swished around in the dye solution for at least 30 minutes.  My washing machine's longest cycle is 14 minutes.  So, I let the fabric agitate for the 14 minutes, then reset the washing machine, and then reset it again.  Make sure the fabric is moving through the solution for at least 30 minutes

Here's the part where I deviate from the package directions.  I turn off the washing machine and let everything soak in the dye solution overnight.  

If you prefer soft colors, follow the directions.  If you prefer knock-your-socks-off, bold color, follow my directions.  I love wild colors!

In the morning, I reset the machine again to the longest cycle and let the machine complete both the wash and rinse cycles.  Next I change the settings to cold water and a larger load size.  Since I'm usually beginning with a small load, I switch the setting to medium load.  The washing machine again goes through the wash cycle and the rinse cycle.  So, the custom dyed garments are actually rinsed three times.  Anything that is safe for the dryer is tossed into the dryer.

Petal Pink items versus undyed garments.
Here is the comparison of Wine on the left and Petal Pink on the right.  You can see I threw in a white onesie just for contrast.  I am sooo diggin' these colors!! 
We should probably sit down and talk about over dying.  Have you seen the movie "Forrest Gump"?  Do you remember the line Momma said about the box of chocolates?  "You never know what you're gonna get."  Well, check out these jeans.  Wine is on the left, Petal Pink is on the right.  Each pair is a slightly different.
If precision is really important to you, over dying might just make you NUTS.  If you have an adventurous spirit though, over dying is way cool!  I like that none of them are quite the same.     

You're probably wondering what I am going to do with all this stuff now that it is dyed.  The awesome wine color jeans will be worn the way they are tucked into boots with a black sweater and scarf.  
As for the rest of it, well, just stay tuned.  Tutorials to follow!  Thank you for stopping by.  I love sharing my adventures with you!
;-)  -Marci


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