March 25, 2011


Posted by Ethne~

Now I’m probably not the only person in history who’s had a semi-terrible dye job.  After I had the girls, my blonde hair darkened slightly (the natural blonde highlights kinda disappeared so it was only one color of blonde) – what’s up with that?!?  So when they were about 2 months old, and I was getting my figure back (who’s with me with your baby weight FALLING OFF when you nursed?  I was literally a cow to be milked, but that’s a story for another day), I was in dire need of a little highlight action.

Thrifty Nana and a sweet coupon to the rescue!  I had a $2 or $3 off coupon (can’t remember exactly now) for Garnier Nutrisse home highlight kit, and there was an in-store sale at Super Target which added to the discount.  I literally got the highlight kit for $1.  Anyway, the kit worked great, and the highlight color was fine, but Thifty Nana and I went just a tich too far in applying the cream, so it got a little funny in a few spots.  It was just semi-terrible, and I had it touched up by my super-awesome stylist, Kelsie, soon after. J  No permanent harm done.

But I diverge.

I have been loving Marisa Lynch’s dress re-styles ( for quite a long time now.  She uses a lot of RIT dye in her pieces and I was just itching to dye something.  I finally put words into action and bought a box of powdered RIT dye in Purple at JoAnn for about a buck.  (THRIFTY!)  I decided to use this pink Good Will dress as my guinea pig.

Holy 1991!

This was an odd choice for me, incidentally, since pink is my super fave color.  But this dress, and what I want to do with it, is intended for work, not casual, so I thought pastel pink was not what I wanted.  Just looks too mother-of-the bride with the fabric of the dress.

So I took the plunge.  I followed the directions exactly, except I ignored the part about the dye not being recommended for fabrics that are over 50% polyester – this dress is 60% polyester.  They didn’t explain why, so I guessed I would find out!

Here’s what you do, using the washer method:

FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS ON THE BOX.  Kidding, I will actually tell you.

STEP 1:  Fill your washer with hot water.  Choose the hottest you can get on your machine, then the water level needs to be high enough that the garment will have room to agitate freely.  I chose my hot-cold setting (the only choice I have for hot water) at medium load size.  Throw in the dress and get it thoroughly wet.

See-ya pink!

STEP 2:  Carefully mix the dye packet in 2 cups of hot water from the sink.  Pour it carefully into the washer, add 1 cup of regular salt and allow the machine to agitate for a few minutes to get it all mixed around.

This ain't no concord grape juice!
Please don't stain my washer!
Don't forget the salt!

STEP 3:  STOP the washer process and allow the dress to sit in the hot dye water for 30 minutes.  When the timer buzzed, re-commence the wash cycle till it’s finished.

Starting to change!

STEP 4:  The box says rinse the garment out until the water runs clear, but I took the easy way out and just ran it through another wash cycle – DUH!  This time I set it for the small load size and did cold-cold setting.  Perfection!

STEP 5:  Inspect your dress – it was like opening a present cuz you don’t know what you’re going to get!  Then put it in the dryer or air dry it.  I opted for the dryer to thoroughly set the color.

I'd say it took!

STEP 6:  To clean out the washer (directions are on the box BTW),  this is what you do:  Start the washer on a new wash cycle – using your hottest water setting at its highest water level; add a normal dose of detergent (it called for liquid and I have it so that’s what I used – I can’t imagine why powdered would make a difference) and a good dose of bleach (I added about 1 cup) and let it go.  I watched when it drained and it totally got all the dye out.  (PS, I felt bad letting a full wash cycle go to waste, so I threw in a few towels and rugs that wouldn’t be harmed if they picked up a little purple – turns out they were just fine.)

That’s all there is to it.  Not scary at all.  If you try some RIT dye jobs of your own, email us – we’d love to see!

The outcome of the 60% polyester appears to be that it didn’t take the dye as well as the other fibers.  Makes the dress fibers look a little blended, but primarily purple in color.  I love the purple color and the blended look will be just fine.  Interestingly, the pink satin buttons and ribbon strips didn’t take the color at all.  That’s ok, I know what I’m going to do with them.

Interesting, huh?

Look for Part Two soon!


Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll have to be blunt as there's no dainty-lady way to write this. There is a small downside to home RIT dye jobs that I've never seen addressed on a blog to date. But it is this.

If you wear a recently-dyed blouse or dress on a really hot day - so hot that your morning application of Secret falls a little short...the dye from the garment can leach into your bra, just under the arms. After a few washings this problem goes away.

So be sure NOT to wear your best dainties on the first day you wear a repurposed dress if you're expecting extra-warm weather.

WOM-MOMS said...

Chrissy - Thanks for the tip! I am not interested in my undies getting ruined by purple RIT dye! ~E