Sunday, July 19, 2009

Beginners Guide to Dyeing (clothes) just to be clear

Dyeing can be scary - and I mean clothes - not as in mortality which can also be scary but is a topic for another day. But it can also be a great way to save slightly stained clothes and inject some new life into lack lustre items.
I do not claim to be a expert, in fact I am a raw beginner, so thought I would share some of my experience of how it went for me and some tips I found useful. So think of this as a Beginners guide by a beginner for beginners.

I used Dylon cold water dye - now I had a look at the site and the dye I used looked nothing like the products on there but I'm pretty sure that it's the same brand so I'll pop the link in any way...
I dyed two items - a pair of yellow shorts and a light green dress, both of which had stains on them that would not go, so I thought that dyeing them a darker colour would save items of clothes that I thought I been ruined.

So firstly - follow the instructions on any dye your using - mine told me to add salt, some will also tell you to add other stuff - pays to check in case you need any extras when you come to mixing it up.
First hint - if your going for an intense colour - use as little water as possible but still cover the entire garment, and go for two or three packs of dye. With my shorts I went for a colour called Mexican Red - I used hardly any water and two packs of dye and still didn't get that much of an intense colour. Also remember the colour mixing rules - so for me yellow shorts + red dye = orangey shorts. Which is was I expecting and didn't really mind because I couldn't be bothered with the extra step of whitening. Didn't get a before shot of the shorts but here is the after shot

Another thing to bear in mind when choosing a colour to dye - since buttons don't dye always consider how the new colour is going to match the old buttons. I'm pretty glad that the shorts aren't too red, because bright red and yellow could possible come across too Ronald McDonald now I think about it. Now the button thing is a bit of a no brainer, but something I didn't consider - thread doesn't dye either - so my red/orange shorts also have contrasting yellow thread, which actually looks pretty cool.

Secondly the dress - I actually didn't use cold water dye. I used regular dye, but instead of boiling the whole thing (because I am lazy) I just used boiling water and hoped for the best. Which lead to kind of dubious results really. Not what I was expecting but alright none the less.

Dress before:

Stains were down the bottom:


Ended up with kind of a marble effect - the dye didn't take as well in some places, might have been because I didn't move it round enough in the beginning stages because I was a bit distracted. I also used an old pack of dye, just one pack and hardly any water, so there could have been lots of reasons. However, I actually kind of like the marbled effect.
I used Dylon dye again, a colour called Windsor purple - so purple + green = blue. Also you can't quite see it in the pics but the stitching is all still green and looks really neat.

Some hints overall just from how I did it, not gospel by any means:
  • Don't panic, get too excited over the initial colour, just like with hair dye, most of the colour is going to wash out and the final colour is most likely going to be much lighter
  • WEAR RUBBER GLOVER - dye stains are not fun
  • Moving the garment around a lot in the initial stages will ensure an even coverage and a better end result
  • I leave my stuff in longer than it says on the packet - that's just me, I do the same thing with my hair dye
  • Make sure you give it a wash SEPARATELY after you've dyed it, even if it runs clear after a rinse there will still be more dye left in it

So hopefully that's some help. Overall I had lots of fun and it was great to see the end result of my labours. Would definitely do it again, and it helped saved two items of stained clothing, can't even see the stains anymore!
So guys any dyeing tips of your own? Thinking of dyeing an item yourself?

P.S - thanks for all the lovely comments of the last couple of posts - nothing like compliments to give a girl the warm fuzzies!


Cathryn said...

I'm thinking of dyeing a red cotton dress to blue - the dress is actually really similar to the blue dress Alexis Bledel/Lena wears in the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2 movie, which is partly why I want to dye it blue. I'm not sure how well it will go though, and I'm not sure if bleaching it first would be okay.

I have a question though - how do you wash your dyed items? Is it okay to throw them into the washing machine? Or is it better to handwash them, to be on the safe side?

Cathryn said...

Oops, I forgot to add - I love how your shorts turned out!

Charlie said...

Thanks for the comments Cathryn! If you're dyeing it blue over red it will probably turn out more purple. I'm not really sure about results with bleaching first because I was too scared to try!
Did you mean washing them normally or the first wash after the dye. The first wash after the dye I put them through the machine just because I wanted to get all the remaining dye out. However after wards I will probably hand wash because I don't want to ruin any other clothes (especially with the red shorts!). It depends how colorfast the dye you use is as well. Also what the kind of fabric you you dyed in the first place (if it was hand wash only then you should probably stick with that). I would hand wash just to be on the safe side to keep the color and protect your other clothes.

Piglet said...

Oh they look great! The splotches on the dress actually look really good.
I'm very very tempted to try and dye something now.

Trish Goodfield said...

Great post. I've been doing trials etc for Dylon in Australia. I'm going to add your post to my next one so people can see real stuff dyeing. A word of caution, not all stains can be covered over by dye. Greasy stains will be highlighted by dyeing. Not a good look. Let me know of you do more posts. I'll be haooy to add them.

Sarah ~ Lolia of Modern Times ~ said...

Thank you, so interesting... But I would be so afraid of missing it and having to throw away the clothes, ah ah ah... But I will definitively try to find something to try this, 'love customization!!!!


~ Lolita of modern times~

Little Bo Peeep said...

The dress looks much more interesting <3!

yiqin; said...

I am so dyeing my clothes soon!!! ;)

Eyeliah SS said...

Great, will save this post for my next dye project. :-)

Ria said...

Wow great job! I love how the shorts turned out!

And thanks for the dyeing tips! I need to dye a hat myself haha >__< I hope it works...

Bug said...

Hee, hee - I like those splotches. Good job, great post!

Piglet said...

Hi, I've nominated you for an award over on my blog.
Hope you're having a lovely day!


Charlie said...

Thanks for the comments guys :) Thanks for the hint Trish - will keep that in mind, the stain on the items I dyed were actually kind of like rust stains which just appeared from the laundry so I was lucky they were covered up by the dye.

ana b. said...

Oh this is great! I have a whole bagload of clothes that I either need to get tailored or have planned to dye. Your experiments are a real help. My DIYs usually haven't always gone to plan. Your Mexican Red shorts are fantastic! The yellow buttons are an added bonus. It's like a 70s short that Farrah would have worn.

Pretty Little Pictures said...

I dyed a dress last year and got slight tye dye effects too, its hard to make it all stay under water when it dosn't want to!! You did a great job though, looks awesome :)

chickdowntown.com_ashley said...

Love the dress and cardigan, such a cute look!

asonlysheknows said...

I am SERIOUSLY jealous of those shorts!! What a bloody amazing colour!! I love it :D and such a great dye job, they look as if they were always that colour!

I love the update to the dress too, gorgeous colour!
I really wish I wasn't terminally lazy and would get creative like you.

I am bookmarking this post for future reference!! :)