Easter is just around the corner and spring has finally arrived, at least by the calendar definition anyway. Right now we long for bright colors and loads of sunshine to come our way, don’t we? And, speaking of color, remember all the fun we had (or maybe still do) dyeing Easter eggs? The bright colors of blue, green, yellow and pink signified happiness and celebration! It was so easy to dye those eggs simply by dipping them in the dye-bath and then letting them dry, wasn’t it? I was thinking about this the last time I went shopping at Goodwill. Coming up with ideas to share as we all go about freshening up our homes and spring wardrobes can be a challenge, but those brightly-hued eggs were my inspiration for this week’s blog. Using fabric dye to add color and pizzazz to almost any clothing item (with some limitation) is a simple operation. Let me tell you all about it …
First, find an item that you love that needs a little TLC. In my case, I chose this double-breasted cropped jacket in a light-peach satin material that had a slight, but unfortunate, stain of some kind on the front. I also chose two pairs of gloves that I thought would look great in a color other than white. When I first noticed the stain on the coat I immediately thought of dyeing it, but I had to check its washability, as well as, fabric content. Why? Because,fabric contents vary. Each kind of fabric may take on dye color differently. The more cotton there is in a fabric, the better results you’ll have dyeing it. This particular coat was over 50 percent cotton, and the rest was acetate, which is a synthetic material. Next, I bought some RIT dye from the laundry aisle for around $3 at a big-box store near me. The kind I purchased was a liquid, which is so simple to use either on the stove top, or right in the washing machine. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions on how, and what to dye with their product. I always opt for the washing machine method. I pre-washed the coat first, and then set up my machine on a hot setting with a cold rinse, and then I added the contents of the dye bottle. If you’re a messy person PLEASE wear gloves, as you might splash some of the dye on your hands. When the tub was full of water (low level, as I only had the jacket and two pairs of gloves to dye) I shut the lid and let it agitate a little bit in order to mix the dye with the water. Once the dye was mixed-in, I added my articles to be dyed. I then closed the lid and allowed it to agitate just a little bit more. I allowed the pieces of clothing to sit in the dye bath for about 30 minutes with the cycle turned off. THEN I turned the washing machine on the full cycle to allow it to finish up. It’s so cool to open the lid and see how things turned out. I was really happy with my results!
Not only was the stain virtually gone, but the glow of pink really made the jacket POP! The two pairs of gloves also looked amazing, and you can see from the photos which garments had the highest concentration of cotton (the darkest gloves), and which had the least (the coat itself). I am really pleased with these pretty pink pieces and I’ll also be using them for an upcoming editorial!
TIP: After the dying process, immediately run your washing machine with some bleach and a small amount of detergent for a full cycle on the hot setting to clean the machine. If you do this right away there will be no residual dye leftover that could affect anything you wash next. What I always do is wash WHITE items in that cycle so as not to waste the water! Works like a charm! NEVER use dye in a laundromat, or in a washing machine you do not own or understand well. In that case, you may want to do the stove-top method in an old pan large enough to immerse your clothing in.
“Reduce, reuse, and recycle” isn’t just something we say at Goodwill, it’s something we BELIEVE in! Finding ways to refresh and renew clothing is always a great style! So, get your dye on, and see what beauty you can bring to items you may already have! Happy Spring from all of us at Goodwill!