Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I'm Dyeing to Tell You

As I hinted on Monday and posted to Facebook, it's time for another DIY project! While sorting through clothes to give away over the weekend, I found a white cardigan stashed with other sweaters beneath our bed.

It still fit me fine, but was a little worse for wear. There were several food stains, most likely balsamic vinaigrette.

And, unfortunately, some pit stains. I think I've tried bleaching this sweater, but clearly didn't do a very good job at it.

So I decided to Martha Stewart-MacGuyver it. For $1.50 (after a Michaels coupon) I had a package of Rit fuschia fabric dye. I considered orange or yellow, but ultimately went with my

If you're looking to dye a dingy sweater using the bucket method, gather the following things:
  • Dingy sweater
  • Gloves rubber
  • Grungy clothes to wear (white T-shirts need not apply)
  • Food service bucket
  • Something to stir with
  • Hot water
  • Sink (preferably not the stainless steel sink mounted underneath your granite countertops)
  • 1 cup salt (for best results) if you're dyeing cotton

The Rit package also has instructions for using the stovetop and washing machines. Pick the best method for you and read all instructions before starting.

Once I felt confident in my review of the instructions, I filled my bucket with hot water. The instructions say 140* so get it steaming!

While soaking my sweater in the hot water, I pre-dissolved the dye. To two cups of hot water, I added the dye and salt. Give it a good stir, making sure everything is dissolved, and add that to the bucket of hot water.

I dropped my sweater back in the bucket of dye and proceeded to stir it for about 15 minutes.

Once 15 minutes was up (the instructions say 10 to 30 minutes or until desired color is achieved), I rinsed out my sweater. Starting with warm water then gradually cooler until the water ran clear. 

After rinsing as best I could, I washed my sweater in warm water. The water from the washing machine still seemed a little pink, so I ran the rinse and spin cycle with the sweater 2 or 3 times more. Afterwards, I partially dried the sweater in the dryer, letting it air dry the rest of the way.

Lo and behold...the stains are gone! Or at least hidden by the pink :)

I wore my "new" sweater to work on Tuesday paired with my favorite pencil skirt, black patent pumps, and girly accessories. I knew a pink sweater was the right decision when a coworker asked where I got it. I shared my little secret and now she's contemplating what to dye of her daughter's clothes.

And let me tell you something, it's tough taking outfit pictures! John and I took all sorts of shots and figured this one was pretty decent. I don't think I'll be posting other outfits on the regular.

Have you dyed anything recently? I'm considering sprucing up some dingy white button down shirts and jeans.

PS - There's currently a $50 giveaway for Fiscally Chic on Cornflake Dreams! Swing by Jillian's blog to enter!

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  1. I have only every dyed some things back to black as they faded a wee bit. Love the pink cardi though, great idea.

  2. It looks like new! So fiscally chic :)

  3. i love that you dyed something. i'm too scared to try! but maybe you've inspired me!

  4. Thanks, ladies!

    Kati - I've actually thought about dyeing something for months now. But finally pulled the trigger over the weekend. As for bleach, that still intimidates me.

  5. I use the clothes washer to dye stuff a lot... it's super good for halloween costumes using resale shop items! I just run a bleach cycle afterwards and I'm good to go. Of course, we have an older washer. Maybe I'd feel differently if I had a fancy new one. Adding the salt is my #1 tip! I never dye without it! And I never drop clothing in the dye vat without thoroughly wetting it first. It's fun to experiment with different items, because they all take the dye differently - sometimes the trim on an item completely resists the dye while the rest gets bright!

  6. I'm so impressed! This is awesome :)


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