Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My beautiful mess

...or, perhaps I should have titled this, My first attempt at dyeing a garment.
You may remember this pale blue petticoat I bought at an antique show last summer.  It's two layers -- one white, one blue, and very old.  I've kept it for the past year, trying to find something I would love to wear it with it...but finally decided it needs to be black.  Or maybe charcoal gray.  At least, not blue.
So I bought myself a couple of packages of black Rit powder dye and looked up How to Dye a Slip online.  I found a few guides and went to town!  Or, to the laundry room.
Actually, I went to the laundry room and the kitchen, because as a first step I needed to mix the dye in a big pot on the stove.  The directions are on the box of Rit, and I added vinegar because the slip had nylon in it.
If you're going to do this, there are two things to remember: first, don't use a wooden spoon you are attached to (I didn't), and, second, be ready to clean the pot as soon as you're finished.  With bleach.
Once the dye is mixed and hot, and, if you don't have a shiny new washing machine that you would hate to turn color (I don't), you can do the rest in the washing machine.  I filled mine with hot water on the longest cycle, because you want it to leave your garment in for a half an hour.  Notice I had rubber gloves and a pile of wet paper towels to catch spills.
Next, I put the petticoat into the water because your garment needs to be wet before it's dyed.  Then I took it out and untangled it so it could go into the dye as unwrinkled as possible.
Then I added the dye and put the slip carefully back into it.  I closed up the machine and let it run until just before the rinse cycle.
Just before a warm water rinse, took the slip out and straightened it again, as, even with gentle agitation, it got tangled up and the instructions said it could dye unevenly if I left it like that.  As you can see, it turned a beautiful shade of charcoal gray!
I ran it through two warm rinses.  After the final rinse, I washed the slip in mild detergent on the gently cycle to "set" the color.  Because the slip was so old and delicate, some of the lace came loose from these multiple treatments, and I even had a slight tear in one of the layers of the slip!
But, that was an easy fix and I didn't even mind, since I'm planning to wear the slip over leggings for that shabby chic look!  As you can see, the color is very rich (looks a bit purple after drying in the sun but it's really deep gray.)  I really love how it turned out!
I guess what I would stress is that you don't want to try this in your washing machine if it's shiny and new because, as you can see above, some of the interior could stain with your dye.  However, you should run the washing machine with detergent, empty, immediately after you finish dying, and most of it will come out.  Mine did.  And even though I was nervous the next time I used the washer, my clothes came out just fine/not black or even gray!
Also: it was time consuming!  Lots of waiting around and hovering, and endless rinses.  And messy!  Lots of messy drips.
But: fun!  Have you ever dyed anything?

10 comments :

Dee in N.H. said...

I have never dyed anything but holy cow, I love how that turned out! That's beautiful!

Michaele said...

So cute Laurie!!!!!!!!!!!

Tami Hacker said...

It turned out fantastic... love the new color! I have never dyed anything before except with coffee or tea. You are braver than I am. I love your new shabby chic slip!

pam said...

It looks totally purple in your pic! Weird how light can make things look different. leggins under it will be totally cute, I even wear other skirts over top of my layered skirts - you could probably try that too! Can't wait to see you wear it... I used to be the "art" teacher at a summer camp - Tye Dye was the kids favorite thing to do every week....luckily we were outdoors and it didn't matter if we spilled any. They would dye anything they could get their hands on, even underwear! The vinegar is the most important step to keep the dye from running!

autena said...

It looks like a beautiful deep royal blue to me. Wow! You know my dyeing experience with the buttons-- you ARE brave to do it in the house!

Wendy said...

It turned out really well for a first try!

Kathy said...

I haven't dyed anything in years and I have a front-loader now so I don't even think it woould work. Love your results!!

Gill said...

I haven't dyed anything in my washing machine - I haven't been brave enough!!!

Lisa said...

You are BRAVE Laurie! I've wanted to dye some things but am a chicken about it.
I love that slip - so cute!

Linda Sue said...

i dye stuff all the time but NEVER use the washing machine- It is just not careful enough- I use my stew pot on medium heat for as long as it takes , stirring and moving it continuously with a rounded wood spoon or spatula...gentle. Rit dye is undependable and can make some great surprises. I like to layer colour , especially with black, I use black,dark blue and purple packages, with red I toss in some orange or vermilion, gives it more life..