A few months back, I read an article in Lucky magazine about how to dye your own clothes. I tore all the pages out because I was so fascinated by it, but I was too scared to actually attempt it. Until now...
I didn't want to experiment on any of my favorite pieces for fear they would be ruined beyond repair. So, I picked up a little cropped jacket from the clearance rack at WalMart (yes, WalMart) to try it out on. That way, if something went terribly wrong, I wouldn't be devastated. And if it worked, I would have the confidence to try altering another item from my closet. Here is the "before" picture:
I purchased navy blue Rit dye ($2.99) at the local craft store, followed the steps outlined in the article and also switched out the buttons on the jacket (for $5.99). The only slight hiccup I experienced was that once it dried, I realized the "decorative stitching" had not picked up the color. Probably because dye will not adhere to anything that is more than 50% polyester (which I'm assuming the thread was). Thankfully, it was not structural, so I removed it. Here's two quick shots of me wearing the finished product:
Now that I have conquered my fears of dyeing clothes, I am thinking about what my next experiment will be...maybe transforming some white jeans into the coral red hue that is so popular right now? You'll have to check back to see... :)
How to try it:
Before you get started ~ Get all the items you need: rubber gloves, chopsticks to stir the pot, a brillo pad, Ajax, a sponge to clean up and an old towel to protect your bathtub while items dry. Remove any labels or buttons that you don't want dyed and sew them back on when you're finished. Pick a roomy pot that you don't use to cook in. Don't stress if you mess up...that's what Rit's Color Remover powder is for. It can fix small spots or lighten an entire garment. For more tips & techniques, visit http://www.ritdye.com/.
For cottons, silks & synthetics ~ Use an alkaline dye like Rit. Add a cup of regular table salt to a big pot of water (3 gallons per pound of fabric) and bring it to a simmer on the stove. Add dye and stir well. Thoroughly wet the garment you're dyeing in warm water, wring it out & place in pot. Stir regularly for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on how intense of a hue you want. Turn off the stove and let it all cool for 20 minutes. Dump the dye water into the bathtub (or sink), then rinse the garment in warm water (cold can cause shrinkage) until it runs completely clear. Hang item in the tub overnight to dry - place a towel underneath to protect any porous surfaces.