Monday, 17 November 2014

A chocolate dye job

Sometimes clothes need to change only the colour for you to like them and to wear them more often. In some cases they need a colour to be refreshed (like my black suit) and sometimes they need a completely new colour. In this case, the idea was to add colour to the items that suffered from the lack thereof. Supplies needed for this project are dye (with fixing agent included) and salt:

fabric dye
regular salt
As this type of dye works well in the washing machine, in most cases I opt for that the machine dyeing over 'pot technology'. That way, the mess is contained - and all I need to wash is the rubber of my front loading washing machine.
So, I had a very nicely fitted linen jacket-blouse (it could be either, but I usually wear it as a jacket) with an absolute lack of colour. If I had to ask myself what colour it was, I’d say it was colourless. And I decided I wanted it to be brown, so I purchased two packs of a nice warm chocolate colour, because I wanted the dyeing to be intensive and I knew I will end up adding additional items into the dyeing.

jacket before
jacket after

As for the process itself - I have decided to remove buttons from the jacket before dyeing to ensure proper fabric coverage. As the buttons were white-ish, they were not a suited for restitching. So I went through my button stash, discovering 11 brown buttons of the right size, but sadly, the were not quite the right shade. This did nothing to stop me, since I had the right colour (cheap) nail polish which I purchased intentionally for fixing scuff marks and scratches on belts and similar accessories. With some patience, nail polish and tweezers I was able to transform the buttons for the jacket (maybe it's worth to mention they were saved from an old garment that literally fell apart). After drying I proceeded with sewing the buttons and my new jacket was done!
Painting buttons with nail polish
The second item I planned to add to this dyeing project were men’s pants. While tidying the wardrobe I have stumbled upon a new pair of khaki jeans, which I have never seen before, and they turned out to be my husbands, so I made him put them on even though he protested loudly. He didn’t like the colour and he thought they didn’t fit him. The truth was they were too long, while perfectly fitted at the waist, or hips, or wherever guys with pronounced belly wear their pants. So I marked the length, trimmed and hemmed them so they fit him properly. Once that was done, they were ready for dyeing. Along with the pants, I decided to toss one of the trim-offs in the dye bath just in case they ever require to be fixed (e.g. from thigh chafing).

pants before (cuff included)
pants after dyeing

Pants detail
In addition to these, I added another little scarf (poly or similar blend) and a shawl which suffered from indistinctness of colour. As I wore it rarely, I decided to try how would tie dyeing work in the washing machine, and I got myself a pretty decent result, I think.

knotted scarf
tie dyed scarf (thin lines come from the rope)


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