Posted on 13 Comments

Wardrobe renaissance

Have I mentioned how much I love tub dying? I think I might have, here. Or maybe here. At any rate, if you haven’t heard it before, “I love tub dying.” I love that I can take clothes that may normally have been destined for the giveaway pile, and instead transform them into something I will actually like wearing. It’s surprising the difference a color can make.

Meet the cast of characters in today’s story:

Destined for darkness

  1. Ugly Gray Pants came from Target. I bought them this past spring, because a tan pair I had previously purchased fit me so nicely. And frankly, finding a pair of pants that fit me comfortably was more important to me than finding a pair of pants in the perfect color. Unfortunately, I really hated the way the gray looked on me, and the drawstrings at the ankles pretty much sealed their fate to hang useless in the closet.
  2. Dingy White Shirt has been featured here before, as a failed tea dying experiment. I thought it could use some new life.
  3. Green Bamboo Shirt has also been seen here recently. I knew the day I made it that I wanted it to be a darker color.

Two dye baths

Yesterday morning I was down one child (Eamonn had his first solo sleepover at Grandma’s house) and feeling like doing something outside. Aidan did too, so he installed himself at the patio table with some markers and paper, and got to work drawing some games for us to play. Meanwhile, I set up two buckets of dye with colors in the approximate following proportions:

  • Royal Blue + Black + 1/2 Red
  • Dark Brown + 1/2 Black

I threw in my three misfit characters (and also a pair of underpants for each of the kids just for fun) and spent the next hour or so stirring and mixing, and stirring some more, until everything was ready to come out of the buckets.

Fresh out of the tub

I never fail to be amazed at the vibrancy of these dyes. The clothes emerged from the baths so rich, and dark. Some of that color was lost in the wash, but I think that may have had something to do with the fact that I didn’t have enough salt in the baths, nor did I use non-iodized salt as required.

Nevertheless, I’m still quite pleased with the results. Allow me to present our transformed cast (I’m noticing that this photo is slightly darker than the clothes are in real life, by the way):

Transformed clothes

  1. Grayish Purpleish Blue Pants, which make me so happy because they are close to the color of a pair I tried to get at Target this summer, but couldn’t find in my size. I’ve cropped them and eliminated the drawstring debacle altogether.
  2. Grayish Purpleish Blue Shirt, which is still just a pajama top, given the (poor) way in which it has always fit me, but it’s no longer dingy. And that’s nice.
  3. Brown Bamboo Shirt is definitely a better color for me than it was before. I’d like to go even darker, and perhaps I will when I buy more salt! Closer look here.

And now I am going to spend the rest of the day in my lovely “new” pants (I spent yesterday afternoon in the lovely “new” bamboo shirt) and see if I can’t talk myself into cleaning something, or answering some email, or one of the myriad tasks I haven’t been able to find time for this week…

Posted on 13 Comments

13 thoughts on “Wardrobe renaissance

  1. What a great way to use something you already have and enjoy being experimental at the same time. I am going hunting in my closet as soon as I get off the computer.

  2. lisa you are a crafty genius! I haven’t stopped by in a while, your blog looks amazing. Did you fix it up yourself or have a designer do some magic? And how do you get the images to pop up on the link you your pants? Please share your blogging tricks with me!

    See what heather has been blogging about: showing off and sharing

    1. Hi, Heather! Thanks for the complement – I did the whole thing myself, pretty much. My husband helped with some constructive criticism and troubleshooting, but other than that, it was all me.

      The flickr pop up is a plugin (not sure if you can use plugins with blogger, but I don’t think you can…) I just made a page that lists all of the plugins I use, so that people who like something I’ve done can go ahead and try it themselves on their own blogs. Here is the link:

      Hope this helps!

  3. I love dyeing stuff. We do backdrops for photo’s all of the time.

    See what Tammy has been blogging about: nectar of heaven…

    1. That’s a great idea – do you dye white sheets, then?

  4. Lisa, these are fantastic! Great job on the dying; I’m going to have to steal the idea and get some dyes from Dharma Trading to try.

    See what Laura has been blogging about: Vibrant necklace – karmabeads

  5. “(and also a pair of underpants for each of the kids just for fun)” LOVE that! i do agree, that sounds fun and rewarding. and yes, they look sooo much better. yay you.

    1. Heh, well, yeah, it’s just so easy to toss those little suckers in the buckets! Should have done a few pairs of my own while I was at it 😀

  6. Sometimes we dye white sheets but you can also dye sheets with patterns and it gives you some cool effects.

    See what Tammy has been blogging about: Shhh…

  7. dyeing is one of my favorite re-purposing tricks! Whole new clothes! Fabric! Sheets in a day.

    These look great.

    See what brit has been blogging about: Weekend Rundown

  8. Your “new” clothes look fantastic! I also love the chalk outline in the second photo. I’m hoping that’s more of a fun outline and not an indication of a dye-related casualty. 🙂

    See what Elizabeth has been blogging about: Vintage Sheet Project 3: Rick Rack Patchwork Blocks

  9. Lisa, I love the colors that you dyed these garments to. Yummy!

    1. I did too, at the time, although they did fade a bit over the last few years. Just another reason why one should use the correct quantities of dye, salt, and such instead of winging it as I so often do!!

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