With fall just around the corner, many of us take a look at our summer items and begin to make decisions on what to keep, retire or donate. Sometimes certain items in our wardrobes might seem just a little bit “tired.” Maybe they’re a little faded, or even a tad bit out of style for what’s happening in fashion right now. But, if you really love something and want to refresh it, or bring it back to life, dyeing is the easiest and most inexpensive way to do that. What’s in style right now is the color gray. Shades of gray run the gamut from dark carbon gray, to light purple gray and everything in between. I searched for some items at my local Goodwill that I thought could benefit from a “dye bath” to bring them a renewed sense of style. I found a crocheted cardigan ($3.99) with a slouchy textured feeling, as well as a denim trench coat ($5.99) that had some wonderful details. Both were in very good shape but had succumbed to being out of date, not because of the style, but because of the coloration. As long as an item is 100% cotton or has a high content of cotton in the fabric, it should be dyeable.
Since gray is so popular as a neutral, I decided to get a bottle of black dye at my local drugstore. The cost was around $5. These types of dyes are formulated to work in your washing machine or on the stove top. Simply read the directions on the label for the best results.
First, I washed my items in warm water with mild detergent to prepare them for their “bath.” Then leaving them damp, I refilled my washing machine with the hottest water setting and added my bottle of dye. Now, since I wanted more of a “gray wash,” I put the water level on high to dilute the dye a little bit. NOTE: If you want a more intense color, you may need to add another bottle of dye, and/or set your water level to low and allow your items to “steep” for a while before turning the washing machine to its normal setting. Once the machine was full of water, I added my damp items to the dye bath and let the washing machine go through its normal cycle. Upon removal from the wash, I loaded them in the dryer, and as they dried, I ran another cycle of my washing machine on hot, along with some bleach and a small amount of detergent to clean any remnants of dye left inside.
Once dry, I was pleased with the softer purplish gray that the cardigan came out with. I think it looks great over this wool dress and a DIY t-shirt necklace I had done for another blog. My trench coat came out a much richer shade of gray-blue and looked a lot more fashion forward with its makeover!
The key thing here is that I used items with some wonderful details and embellishments, which lend them more style than an average item. I think both of these items could become useful tools to build some great fall looks! Look around your own closet, or shop at Goodwill for some items you may be able to transform for just a few bucks and a little bit of your time. There’s nothing more fulfilling than bringing something back by reusing and recycling. After all, Goodwill’s motto is reduce, reuse and recycle - and that’s a beautiful thing!