DIY Fridays: the wonders of dye

2010-06-10 1So telling you all about my favourite dress that’s getting all fadey, got me thinking about the wonder that is dyeing things! I don’t think most people realise how easy it is and how much it can revamp something old for like $2… that’s cheap!

So enter one of my current obsessions: socks. I’ve been on the hunt for a cute pair of buttery yellow socks for ages… of course, I can’t find any. That always happens when I get a specific idea of what I want in my head (and a lot of the reason why I design my own clothing!). Soooo I did one of my favourite things, got out my huge collection of dyes, a pair of old white socks and ta da, super cute buttery yellow sockys. Happy Meg! very happy Meg!

2010-06-10 2

It doesn’t end there though…. I made this skirt a few years ago back when i lived in Perth, and last year I noticed it was getting tragically faded… so much so that I couldn’t really wear it anymore without feeling self conscious. So I overdyed it, and now it looks brand spanking new again. Have I convinced you yet?

So if you want to try and save a beloved wardrobe item, or also want to make pretty coloured socks here are my few little tips:

  1. Choose your dye. There are a couple of brands but my favourite is RIT. Mostly because I find their liquid dyes to be the easiest to use, you can buy a huge selection of colours in Walmart (yes I love walmart), and their website has a really awesome resource to help you figure out how to mix your dye colours to get exactly what you want.
  2. Natural fibers take dye best, so make sure whatever you’re dying is cotton or silk or something like that for best results.
  3. Wash and stain remove whatever you’re going to dye before you start. Dirt and stains will stop the dye from absorbing.
  4. Wear rubber gloves and an apron unless you want to look all creepy with dyed hands and speckled clothing.
  5. Most dyes say to put your fabric in a pot on the stove, or in the washing machine or something like that. In my opinion that’s too much like hard work (and i love my machine too much to risk ruining it with dye). So my short way is to fill a bucket with boiling water, mix the dye in well, and then leave my item to soak for at least an hour. (the longer you leave it in the richer the colour will be)
  6. Rinse your item well after dying, but don’t be stressed if the water doesn’t run completely clear (like the instructions often say it should). Then put it through the washing machine on a rinse or wash cycle to get out the few last bits of residual dye. I also like to tumble dry it after that (if the fabric will allow), because I feel like it sets the dye better. (this could be my own silly unfounded believe though!)

p.s. if you are some super awesome dye genius please feel free to leave your tips in the comments section!

2010-06-10 4Tank top: Target
Cropped cardi: Witchery
Belt: hand me down from my mom
Skirt: Megan Nielsen – overdyed
Socks: Walmart (?) – overdyed
Shoes: Sacha London

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  1. says

    Wow, what a refreshing posting! I love the common sense spirit of just fix what you have instead of the ubiquitous “toss it and buy new” world we live in. It’s such great advice and I shared it today with the readers on my blog. Love following your blog. It’s always insightful, love the outfits and especially keen on your clever sewing tutorials.

  2. Nikole says

    Put a little salt and vinegar in the water with the dye and it will help it adhere to the fabric. Natural spice dying is quite cool you can also use certain tree barks and leaves as well