Wednesday, November 20, 2013

(Insert your favorite pun based on the word "dye" here)

     Yesterday was an exciting benchmark -- my first foray into dyeing clothes! I had never dyed anything before (aside from tie-dye projects, obviously. Wait, is that obvious?), mostly because I had this conception that it was a big hassle and super messy. But I finally had the kick in the pants I needed to try it out, in the form of this hand-me-down shirt. 

     Amanda was cleaning out her closet the other day and asked me if I wanted this shirt to sleep in or something. The caveat of "to sleep in or something" is because of that stain on the left sleeve; apparently she got chocolate on it, didn't notice, washed and dried it, then noticed it, and....left it sitting in her closet for five months. So that's a pretty damn set-in stain. It was not coming out. And sure, I could have just worn it as a PJ top, but it's one of the nice soft, drapey, comfy shirts from Victoria's Secret that I'm too cheap to buy myself. I wanted to make the most of this freebie! So I decided to try dyeing it a dark color to hide the stain and thus squeeze some extra wearability out of it. I figured it was at least worth a shot, since even if I ruined it completely somehow, hey, it was still a free shirt to begin with. 

     I picked this dark purple dye because I figured it would camouflage the stain but still be pretty. Obviously to hide a chocolate stain, brown or black would be the easiest options, but I didn't want to go brown because brown is a disgusting color (sorry I'm not sorry), and black would have looked fine, but since I mainly wear dark-washed jeans or leggings, dyeing the shirt black would pretty much rule out wearing it anywhere other than funerals with very casual dress codes. So, purple it is. I followed the directions on the back of the packet almost to the letter, except that it said to stir the fabric item in the dye/hot water/salt mixture constantly for fifteen minutes, and I felt like surely they had just put that on there to screw with people. Fifteen minutes is a long time to stand around stirring a tub of clothes and murky water like Charlie Bucket's mom. I stirred for maybe three minutes before I got bored and quit. 

I mean, I stirred it a little better than this. 
     Then after it had stewed for the appropriate amount of time, I rinsed-rinsed-rinsed it in the sink before chucking it in the washer on cold with some similarly colored items. Yeah, I did a purple load. How's that for separating your laundry? I didn't put it in the dryer because the packet said to avoid exposing the dyed item to heat or sunlight. So to avoid heat, I figured best not put it in the dryer or wear it when snuggled up in my heated blanket, and to avoid sunlight, I'll just continue my usual cave-dweller lifestyle. Once it had air-dried...ta-da!

     You can still see the stain if you're looking, but it's at a level of unnoticeableness (pretend that's a word) that I'm comfortable with. Only the truly detail-oriented will notice when I'm wearing it (especially because it's on the back of the sleeve, where I'd have to be raising my hand or something, which I rarely do because I'm a rebel and I'll talk out of turn if I want to, dammit. YOLO and such).  I think it's kind of cool how the embroidered Victoria's Secret dog at the bottom didn't take any dye since it's synthetic thread and synthetic fibers are less porous than natural fibers because they're spun from polymers that make it smooth and blah blah blah, science. I am glad that none of the other threads are visible though, because I don't think I'd like a purple shirt with neon green seams. Too much muchness. The other side-effect is that all that stirring around with a stick, combined with no heat from the dryer, means this shirt streeeetched out quite a bit. I'm actually totally cool with that, because it just makes it slouchy and cocoon-esque and generally a delight to wear, but if you're thinking about dyeing something yourself, take that into account. 

     Overall I am happy to report that my first foray into at-home clothes dyeing is a success! I like when that happens. 


  1. I like how the little green dog (?) in the bottom corner stayed the same colour after you dyed it! :)

    I just discovered your blog a few days ago and I think it's pretty rad. You have anew follower.

  2. I wish I could say I'd planned it that way, but I didn't even think about why that'd happen until after. I love happy science-accidents!

    I'm glad you like the blog!