I’ve been obsessed with finding a purple cardigan just like this one, every since I first saw it on Jess. So ages ago, when I found this cardigan (on sale!) in Gap, I thought I’d found what I wanted. Until I realised it was just too lavender for my tastes, and I pretty much never wore it.So I did what I always do in such circumstances where stores will not provide what I want – I got all DIY crazy, and overdyed it.
Every time I post about one of my dye projects, someone almost always asks what I mean when I say I “overdyed” it – so I guess it’s time for a dedicated post!
I pretty much group dye projects into two groups:
- Dying things that are plain white or cream (this I call dying)
- Dying things that are already another colour, or are patterned (I call this overdying)
The reason I call everything in the second group “overdying” is because you are dying over the top of what is already there. It’s something I do a lot, and I highly recommend it as a quick and easy craft project, and a great way to revamp an old piece of clothing.
Ok so you want to overdye something. What now?
- Check the fabric content of your garment. Dye works best on natural fibers like cotton, silk, bamboo and wool. If you decide to dye something polyester or a blend, do so at your own risk. I’m not saying it won’t work (I’ve done it a lot!), I’m just saying the results may not be quite what you’d expect.
- Next stop and think about the colour your garment currently is, and what colour you want it to end up as. My sweater was lavender and I wanted it to be more plummy. i didn’t want a super bright purple, or a very blue like purple – I wanted it with a bit more red. So I knew I’d need a redish dye – I chose wine, since I already had a bucket full of wine dye after making these pants.
- Buy some dye. I always recommend RIT dye, because after trying a couple of brands I just find the results to be the best. I also recommend going for the liquid dye over powdered.
- Follow the directions on the side of the packet. (oooooo you say, that’s mean and unhelpful meg~!) Or you can do my quick way:
- Put on some rubber gloves. You’ll thank me later.
- Fill a bucket with very hot water (I go for boiling most times), mix the dye in well.
- Then leave your garment submerged for a few hours. You can take it out almost straight away or even after a few minutes, but the colour will not be as strong or as deep. I tend to just leave it a few hours, stirring every now and then to make sure it gets evenly dyed.
- Rinse your garment really well under the tap, until the water runs clear.
- Wash in the machine (on it’s own) and then dry as you normally would.
- If after it’s dry the colour isn’t as dark as you wanted, guess what – you can do it again till you get it dark enough! (I’m considering doing this on this cardigan to get it a little darker).
Other things to consider:
- If you are overdying a patterned garment, some parts of the pattern will inevitably take more of the dye than the others, so be aware of that.
- Watch out for what colour the stitching is. Most garments are sewn with polyester thread which will not take dye well
- Only dye something you will not cry over if it gets ruined. I know that sounds a little like spoiling the fun – but when you dye something you are taking a calculated risk, and it’s always possible that that risk may not pay off.
If anyone is interested, I have a sweater I’ve been waiting to dye, and I could post a little tutorial on it when I do it (maybe video? I promise I’ll be super awkward and possibly dorky). Let me know :) Also if you have any tips you’ve learnt from your overdying experiences, leave them in the comments below!