Dyeing Clothing

I’ve found that dyeing cloth can be a fun, frugal way to experiment with new colors, reinvigorate old clothes, and extend the variety of sales. A lot of the time there’ll be a really fabulous sale on some item of clothing that I want, but the colors will be limited, or the colors I want won’t be in my size. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with buying clothes in colors I don’t particularly care for and dying them using cheap dye from Amazon (specifically mixtures of the $2-3 ones). I don’t quite follow the bottle directions and mostly just soak clothes in hot, salty, colorful vinegar water for a few hours, rinse them out to get most of the dye off, and run them through a hot wash to finish the job (typically with some towels and detergent — and then I get some mildly dyed towels lol).

As an example, a few weeks ago there was a sale (for ~$15/each) on “AE Flex/4 360 Original Straight Jeans” but only in a medium blue color. I love me some stretchy jeans (they’re form-fitting and lightweight! AND you can ATG squat in them! And they fit my waist without completely cutting off blood flow to my legs! Amazing!) but already have blue jeans, so I bought three pairs of the above and dyed them all. The results were interesting:ln01m0wI was hoping for more of a burgundy on the red, but got a weird purple-pink contrasting thinginstead (not all threads look to have been dyed equally due to, I’m guessing, different fiber composition), and I’ll have to wear them around to see if I’m quite avant-garde enough for them. If not, I’ll just re-dye them black!eq8chgg The green’s quite a pretty dark teal in person, and the brown also turned out rather well, I think.

Other things I’ve dyed recently include some white Converse (since the whites seem to go on huge sales most often — down to $10-$20) to light greens and blues (I really dig the whites, but they show dirt way too easily), and a Levi’s Chambray Trucker in a medium-light wash (which I darkened — I liked how lightweight the chambray feels compared to denim, but wanted a darker color. It was also really really cheap). You can see the results below:zi1fef5
The mint shoes turned out a little less even than anything else I’ve dyed for some reason, but I don’t mind.

I also picked up a few light-wash, super-comfy jeans pretty cheap (<$20/pair), and played around with dyeing them, too. Here’s how they turned out!IMG_6801_edit.jpg
I’m not a big fan of the the pre-faded look (like in the red jeans I dyed originally up top), so I’m definitely pleased with how these ended up!

It’s quite fun seeing what colors your clothes will turn out. Their color fresh out of the dye-bath tends to be pretty drastically dissimilar to their color after they’ve been thoroughly rinsed and dried. It’s sort of like opening a Kinder Surprise! And so now I have a bunch of colorful, comfortable pants that fit me especially well! I usually toss in some old workout or sleeping shirts into the dye baths, too, just to spruce them up a bit (not pictured). I wear through clothing pretty quickly (as the life-cycle typically goes from everyday wear, to workout wear, to scraps for cleaning or crafts 0r making clothes for the pup), so I’m not too concerned about the current overabundance of pants (especially given that I save money by not having to buy ad hoc when I need new clothes). Plus, the greater variety lets me try out different color combinations, which I rather enjoy! It’s also kinda neat to have unique-ish items, at least when the brand doesn’t carry clothes in the color I end up with (I also rather like sewing things for added customization — maybe I’ll write a blog post on that someday, too). The one downside is that I’m too lazy to wear gloves, especially with having to agitate the clothes every so often, so I end up with dyed zombie hands for a few days. Now, if only Davis weren’t so hot…

(header image source)

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