Tips for At Home Fabric Dyeing

Purple dress1Purple dress before and afterWe've been experimenting with all sorts of home dyeing projects lately! Today I'm sharing how I dyed my bride's maid dress. Elsie choose to have all her bride's maids wear white (or off white) dresses of their choice for her wedding day last May. It was such a beautiful affair and although I really loved my white dress I got the itch to change it up—so I tried home dyeing it a deep lavender. I was emailing my friend, Missy, about home dyeing (specifically natural dyeing, which we will be sharing projects on soon) and a great piece of advice she gave me was to go into the project with no expectations. It's hard to predict how a home dyeing project will turn out the first time, but here's what I did and what I learned from it:Tips for using Rit dye1. Supplies: cotton (or other natural fabric) garment, Rit dye, salt, bucket and gloves. 2. Follow the directions on the package/bottle to mix your dye (Rit brand suggested I use hot water and add salt to the mix). 3. Dye your garment, consult your dye package for suggestions on how long to leave it in the dye bath. 4. Thoroughly rinse the garment until the water runs clear. Wash your garment (by hand or machine) before wearing it in case any dye remains.

I choose to wash my garment in my washing machine after I had thoroughly rinsed it after dyeing. I washed it with a load of dark towels but I threw one white sock in as I was curious if the dye would bleed onto other clothes. Here's what I got:Sock testAs you can see, the sock on the left (the one I washed with the dress) did get dyed a very soft purple.Purple dress3Our Top 5 Tips for Home Dyeing projects:

-Prepare properly before you begin. You should wear gloves. You should wear old clothes and possibly an apron. It can only take a second for you to dye your skin, carpet or clothes so you need to plan out every step of the process before you begin.

-Keep your spirit of adventure! As you can see the thread in the upper bodice of my dress did not dye but remained white. Also the lace trim along the bust is a slightly different purple than the rest of the dress. These "imperfections" are what make home dyeing projects fun—but only if you don't go into the project with too high of expectations.

-Use cheap buckets or stainless steel to dye and rinse garments. You could also do the rinsing outdoors with a hose. Do not use your bathtub or porcelain sink as it will probably stain. My kitchen sink is stainless steal so it was ideal for this project but I was sure to remove all dishes before the project and I cleaned the sink after. You don't want to eat dye. Gross.

-Rinse the garment as thoroughly as you can; but the first time you wash it do so with other dark clothes or wash it by hand separately. As I learned from my sock test, even a thoroughly rinsed dyed garment will probably bleed the first time it's washed.

-Check your dye package for any allergy information. Most store bought dyes contain chemicals that you (or your loved ones) could be allergic to. In general they are perfectly safe, but it's best to double check before beginning a project.

Be safe, and above all have fun with home dyeing! xo emma

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