Anyway, I was determined to fix it. I mean I hadn’t actually WORN the thing yet- there’s no way that baby was getting thrown away, just because it looked like I spilled fruit punch on it! So I figured let’s just dye the dress a darker color. That should take care of the pink-ish spot aaand blue is a lot easier to wear than ivory/white anyway. Plus the Rit Dye packet was inexpensive (with coupon!) and all the other materials were just lying around.
Now my experience in dyeing at this point was extremely limited. As in, the last time I was involved in the process was tie-dyeing shirts as a kid. Beyond that, I had never attempted solo dyeing.
Using my newly founded dress-saving mentality, I read the included Rit Dye package directions forwards and backwards. Still having a bazillion questions, I turned to Google. There were TONS of tutorials but ended up settling on the guides provided by Rit Dye themselves. Best go to the direct source right?!
Now, before I get into the process, I must tell you that the supply quantities and some specific methods (like the salt addition) were based on my specific material type and weight. My dress is mostly cotton and it was dyed by itself without anything else. Mostly because it was my first attempt and I didn’t want to ruin anything else. I also removed those darn dyed beads using a seam ripper- without wanting to destroy them I may add- prior to getting my dye on. I assure you, the additional tips and methods are still worth giving a read before starting your project.
- *1 package Rit Dye, in your color choice (I used the powder stuff) *
- 5-gallon bucket (be sure it’s one you don’t mind getting stained)
- Mild non-bleach Laundry Detergent (any brand will do)
- 1 cup salt (for richer color) **
- Rubber Kitchen Gloves
- Spaghetti Server (this could get stained)
- 3 gallons water
- A tablespoon
- Cleaning rags (that you don’t mind getting stained)
- Plastic Paint Sheet (available at the dollar store)
- Bleach cleaner (exclusively for cleanup)
- Pots to boil water
**This dress was mostly made of cotton which suggested using salt for a richer color (also use this method with linen, ramie, ramie, or linen).
Follow the included package instructions and a little help from Rit Dye's handy tutorial. Here are the main steps along with a few things I picked up along the way:
1 | Place the detergent, gloves, spaghetti server, cleaning rags, bleach and tablespoon in the area you plan to rinse and clean up your mess. In my case, the bathroom. Lay out the plastic near the tub or sink where you plan to wash your garment. It pays to move rugs, the good towels, or anything else that you don’t want accidentally ruined by dye- out of your project zone.
2 | Boil enough water that your item can move around freely (I used approximately 3 gallons). I used a couple of the biggest pots I could find. While it boils, microwave 2 cups of water.
3 | After the three gallons of water are boiling, dissolve the Rit Dye packet into the microwaved water, and stir vigorously. And then stir some more.
4 | Empty the three gallons of boiled water to your 5-gallon bucket.
6 | Put on your rubber gloves. Then add the microwaved dye water to the hot water bucket and do a quick gentle stir. I expected to see the water turn a navy color, instead it looked like a deep purple at this point, to which I had a brief moment of panic. No worries, like Kool-Aid looks can be deceiving at this point.
7 | Fully submerse your item and begin agitating the water using the spaghetti server. Pretend you’re making Jell-O, stir enough to mix it up but not too much that it spills everywhere.
8 | After 5 minutes add the 1 cup salt and 1 tablespoon detergent. Continue agitating as long as your water stays warm or up to an hour.
9 | Rinse in warm water until the water runs clear. Then switch to cold water for a couple minutes.
10 | Hand wash your item with detergent and hang dry.
11 | Clean up affected dyed areas with bleach cleaner immediately to prevent permanent stains.
Couple things to note:
- If you happen to drip or spill any of the dyed water, spot clean with the bleach cleaner as quickly as possible. Be sure to rinse your gloves before continuing the agitation/handling your garment.
- For the first couple washes, hand wash so that any remaining dye (there shouldn’t be much) affects any of your other clothes.
Now, even after all the research, the preparation and all around careful precautions… the unthinkable happened. I hung up my garment in the tub to dry, you know just in-case any more dye was going to drip off.
When I went to immediately clean the tub (per the directions), I accidentally got bleach on my newly dyed dress. And a pink-ish bleach spot appeared:
After a minor internal fit, it was back to square one. I picked up the color remover from Rit Dye and followed the instructions and let the dress dry overnight.
Moral of the story: BE CAREFUL with bleach, then put your Captain Careful Cape on and be even more careful.
In order to prevent any more dyed-wooden bead accidents (even though it’s now Navy Blue), I spray painted those suckers white and hand sewed them into place.
And the rest is history:
Were the results worth it?! Absolutely. I STILL wear the dress to this day, no matter how many ‘seasons’ ago it was (even wore it for a special Independence Day What I Wore Fantastic Friday). Would I do it again?! Well let’s just say it surely hasn’t stopped me from going on a dye-spree.
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