I’m on a Dye-It!

I wore this dress to my bridal shower last summer. I love it! It was perfect for this post-maternity time of my life.

But what do you do with a white dress? I normally only wear dresses to weddings…where, um…the bride wears white! Apparently, it’s a total no-no to wear white as a wedding guest.

Did I mention that I love this dress? I really want to wear it again.

I picked up some iDye Poly in blue:

This dye is specifically made for Polyester fabrics, and this dress was 100% poly. (See more about the product and where to buy here.)

I followed the instructions ( I gave my dress a simmer for an hour, stirring often).

* On the regular iDye packages there is a dying method where you use the washing machine, which I thought at first would be the easiest way to go. I tried dying some onesies gray a few months ago (the Valentine’s Day shirt project) and they came out really splotchy. Then I realized my washing machine doesn’t have a “constant agitation” mode, so that’s why. I recommend using the stove-top method for dying fabrics as opposed to the washing machine, as you have total control over “constant agitation”, which is needed for uniform color.

I washed the dress in the machine in gentle soap (Dreft) and hung it to dry. And then the splotches became visible. See?

I was so annoyed!!

I had two options:

A. Create a pattern on the skirt area to camouflage the splotch. I am still proud of myself for thinking of such a clever idea.
B. Try to fix the splotches.

I did some quick research and proceeded with option B — promptly soaking the dress in vinegar. Supposedly vinegar helps to pull out excess dye. BUT…since the dress was already washed, I think that negated the vinegar trick. So the only other option was to re-dye it.

(PS. I also found out that if you have ever used a spot/stain remover on an item that it will cause splotches in those areas as well. Good to know — I’m willing to bet I spilled something or other on the white dress and used some Spray-N-Wash on it, which resulted in my splotches.)

Did you know that you can re-use dye? Apparently, once dye is mixed you can use it over and over again. I even read a forum where a guy said he lets the water from his dye baths evaporate until all that is left is a powder, to which he just fills with water and mixes again when he needs to use the dye. Crazy! Luckily I still had the dye bath in the pot (trying to decide how to dispose of it), so I repeated the process of boiling the water and submerging the dress, constantly stirring it for an hour.

And it worked the 2nd time around!!




Or so I thought….cue dramatic, disappointing music.

As I ironed the skirt part in preparation to wear it for my friend’s wedding, I noticed a splotch was still there. And there are a couple small dots on the back that are even darker – they look like dribbles of red wine. I’ve read that there is nothing I can do about it, because it’s likely from a stain (that thing I talked about earlier). Lesson learned: only dye new items that have never been stained!

Guess it’s back to the back-up plan, so I’ll keep you posted – as I’m determined to wear this freakin’ dress again! I plan to cut or buy some sort of stencil and use the Tulip fabric paint in navy or black (the same I used on the kid’s holiday shirts) to create a pattern on the skirt portion to help camouflage the excess dye spots.

To re-cap, here are some tips for dying fabric, learned by yours truly:

(but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, if you happen to be experienced in dying fabric)

1. Check your fabrics. If the primary area you are dying is 100% cotton, you can use pretty much any dye on the market, and those are cheap. If the fibers are natural, regular dyes will work also. If the fibers are not natural, then you may need to look into dye made specifically for your fabric, such as the Poly version I used.

2. Use the stove top method if you can fit your item in a large pot. Do not plan to use this pot for any food preparation after dying. If you plan to try the washing machine method, make sure it has a constant agitation setting or else manually agitate the bath.

3. Soak the fabric in vinegar and rinse thoroughly before starting the dye process.

4. Use boiling water for best results.

5. Wear gloves and be wary of your clothing — I splattered a shirt or two!

6. If your fabric turns out splotchy, repeat the process and cross your fingers, while thinking up a back-up plan.

7. And if it still doesn’t turn out, proceed with back-up plan. :)

Guess what else I dyed? I’m now a brunette. :)

And brown hair looks awesome with royal blue…

I. Must. Wear. The. Dress.