Custom Search

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The best way to dye your clothes

I love, majorly love, the Banana Republic "Ryan" style pants. They fit me perfectly! Sadly for me, BR discontinued the cut, and I'm stuck with thrift store finds. I also regularly hunt them down on Ebay, buying every pair I find.*
This shopping technique means I don't always get to pick my color, so I ended up with two pairs of straight leg Audry-type khakis.

I dyed one black...and here is how.
You need:
1. A large stainless steel pot - at least a large pasta pot, maybe larger.
2. A stainless steel spoon
3. iDye. It comes in natural and synthetic fiber. If your clothes are blends, you need one of each packet. I bought mine at a local art supply store for $2.00 a packet. Now here's the weird part. You have to consider the color of the clothes, too. I used navy dye and my pants came out black. Mostly. Basically. I mean, it's a shade of black.
4. Newspaper
5. Rubber gloves
This is why you need the gloves. 
 Here's what you do:
Put newspaper on the floor around your kitchen stove and any nearby counters. Put on gloves.
Put your clothes in pot and cover with water; clothes should move freely. Add dye packets. This type of dye has a dissolving packet, so use dry hands and toss it in: mess free. Yay. If you are using the poly dye, add the enclosed intensifier, too. Add half a cup of salt and stir. Bring to a boil. Boil for an hour, stirring clothes around with a long spoon every few minutes. BE CAREFUL. This solution has a tendency to form super heated pockets that will spit hot dye at you!
The splatters on the stove clean off easily with soap and water

Boil for at least an hour.
Allow to cool.
Wash garment by itself in cold water and dry twice before wearing. Then be careful when you wash it - the first few times it will bleed and should be washed alone!
Here's the results: notice that the formerly white pockets are vibrant blue but the pants themselves are black!

Or are they? The fabric on the left are another pair of actually black pants. On the right are my new pants  - slightly different shade.
And both pairs need to be washed.

Still awesome. I love them to death.
Have you ever dyed your clothes?
* P.S. Size two, regular or long (I'll hem them!), if you ever see any snap them up for me and I will love you forever.


  1. I'm stuck on size 2 - (just a little jealous - ha ha)

    Dying is too much work and danger for me.

  2. Wow. I am so impressed! Never done this... Kind of scared to. You don't make it sound too bad though.

    Hmm size 2. Yeah that'd fit one leg...

  3. I've dyed things with varying degrees of success- I haven't had much luck with the stove pot method (using RIT dye) but when I had a normal washing machine I dyed my clothes without a problem. I'm not sure how to extend the cycle on my front loading washer now though. When I've tried to dye things on the stove, they've ended up unevenly dyed.
    Back in the day though, I discovered that half navy and half black RIT is great for freshening up jeans that are getting a little too light.
    I had a friend who went through a stage where she wore a lot of purple- I saw a lot of garish multicolored thrift store clothes turned surprisingly pretty when she dyed them- they'd come out in various shades of purple, basically.

  4. Ooh, so resourceful of you! My dad used to dye his shirts and hats all the time after they'd lose color.

  5. I got so much sunlight my hair turned orange. Maybe sunlight could dye cloths naturally?