Posted on 21 Comments

Sea foam

I found a pretty white sheath dress on sale for an outrageously hard-to-pass-up price at Van Heusen last month, and I was so happy with the way it looked on me, I went back and bought another one. (These days, I rarely find clothes that don’t make me feel self-conscious, let alone actually happy with the way I look, so it was easy to justify buying a second.)

What could I do with two identical white dresses? I wonder…

As it turns out, here is what I did:

I hung them both up in the closet and left them there for three weeks.

Then last week, in the middle of being completely overwhelmed with other tasks, I decided to throw one of the dresses in a dye bath, while I simultaneously got a load of laundry done. Multitasking is a way of life around here sometimes.

I picked out one of the yummiest colors ever of Dharma Trading Company’s procion dye (I happen to keep a nice little stash of these for such on-a-whim dying as this): #15 Sea Foam.

I set up the dye bath as instructed.  “As instructed” is a big deal for me – I usually just throw it together from memory, not being too concerned with the end results. In this case, though, I really wanted a professional-looking finish, so I paid attention.  This meant a lot of babysitting the dye bath and a whole lot of stirring.

So much stirring, that I set up a little distraction for myself while I stood there.

I rinsed out the dye, and washed the dress.

And voila!  A before and after shot. It is quite handy to have two identical dresses for the before and after shot, I must say.

I had hoped that dying this dress would produce some interesting results. Specifically, I had hoped that the dye would take differently to the lining, the main material of the dress, and the embroidery, so that the embroidered pattern would really pop. In the end, the lining turned out much lighter, but the rest of the dress took the dye equally. So no popping pattern. Nevertheless, I am happy.

I plan to wear it tomorrow to my sister-in-law’s bridal shower, along with white sandals and a white 3/4-sleeve sweater (the sweater only if it’s chilly, though).  I’m not wearing the crocheted sweater I initially made for this occasion. I’m liking that more for everyday use. In fact, I am wearing it today. To run errands and blog. So there you go.

Yes, I paused Stephen Colbert in mid-sentence to have a little fashion photo shoot. And I didn’t clean up the room behind me, either. This is what is known as “keeping it real,” folks.

Ahem. Anyway. I love how 45 minutes of stirring and a little bit of color can really transform a garment. I consider it time well spent, especially when the end result is this professional-looking.  It could have come right off the rack like this.

Except it didn’t, and nobody but me will have one 🙂

Posted on 21 Comments

21 thoughts on “Sea foam

  1. —and you look lovely!

    1. Thank you, Myra 🙂

  2. I’m wearing a dress/tunic that I dyed, right now as I type this. The catalog had this dress in two colors, a dark greenish brown and “stone,” which was like a tan/ivory. I had both, and wore them a lot, but wanted one that was moe colorful. So now I have a third one, in “chartreuse” (also Dharma procion dye). Here it is when I first wore it in May (the before color is in the comments):
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11418107@N02/7235582612/

    1. I have that color dye, too! I love how some of the lace looks like it didn’t take the dye. That’s exactly what I was going for with my dress (but didn’t achieve). Very cool. And quite a different look from the original tunic.

  3. Very nice! That dress looks fantastic on you, too. Perfect airy-looking fabric at a great summer length. 🙂

    1. Thanks! It was a warm day today and I stayed perfectly comfortable. I think I’ll be wearing it around a lot this summer.

  4. Love this dress and that color is beautiful!! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Isn’t it a great color? I used the last of what I had in my stash, but I may just get some more. It’s a favorite.

  5. Dying scares me so much but when I see great results like yours I really want to try it.

    1. I would suggest trying it with something that doesn’t matter, just to get a taste for it. I threw some of my husband’s old white underpants into a few dye baths once. Heh. He’s not too fond of his magenta or sea green underwear, but he wears them! And I got some technique practice 🙂

  6. Well, that’s pretty cool. I am of the same school that I buy the same thing in 5 colors, already dyed, because I know I’d never do as beautiful job as you did. I owe it all to 12 years of wearing uniforms to school and never developing my personal sense of fashion! Very nice idea. Take care!

    1. Maybe that’s my problem with style – so many years of school uniforms! I’m seriously considering seeing if the dress is still on sale, and getting one to dye a really dark color next…

  7. This is completely off topic, but I just read this post and thought of you: 5 Ways to Use Vintage Sheets http://www.infarrantlycreative.net/2012/06/5-ways-to-use-vintage-sheets.html.

    I thought other swappers might like the resource too!

    1. That’s great – thanks! I added it to the Pinterest board 🙂

  8. Oh, I like it! I guess I’m too affraid to dye something.. affraid it might not turn out the way I want to. But I like it very much on you. Picked the right color 🙂

    1. It’s one of my favorite colors, so it was a no-brainer for me 🙂 Like I mentioned to Kat in one of the earlier comments, if you want to try dying but are not feeling adventurous, try it on something that doesn’t matter too much – old t-shirts or your husband’s underwear…

  9. Simplicity is beauty and comfy! I love that dress! And it looks good on you!

    1. Thank you.

  10. i love that! double purchasing is totally the way to go. i remember buying 3 different colors of the same shirt.
    simple dress too– add a ribbon belt, funky flower pins.

    http://www.plushiepatterns.com

    1. I do that a lot – buy one thing in multiple colors. You should see my t-shirt drawer 🙂

  11. […] You may also see from the images that I didn’t wear the striped dress that started the whole thing in the first place. The more I tried it on, the less the fit appealed to me. I decided I would wear one of my eyelet sheath dresses instead. I have two. They were both white when I bought them, but I dyed one a minty blue green. […]

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