First of all, I wanted to thank you all for helping me decide which color to dye my rehearsal dinner dress a few weeks ago! You guys were a big help in making my decision.
And the color I eventually decided on was yellow!
Not only did a lot of you pick yellow, but I also decided it was a safer bet, since I had to use both a natural dye and a polyester dye, and the polyester colors were a bit more limited. So I went with these, which are pretty close:
So I bet you're all dyeing (ha ha) to see how the process worked, right? :)
Well, I pretty much just followed the instructions on the packaging for dying a poly/natural blend fabric, but I took pictures along the way to properly demonstrate!
First, fill a metal pot or bowl with just enough water for your dress to move freely, and make sure the fabric gets completely wet all the way through (to make sure the dye soaks in evenly).
Then, take the dress out, place your bowl on the stove and turn it on to high. Add both packets of dye and the color intensifier that comes with the poly dye to the water and stir until it's completely dissolved.
I stirred for about 5 minutes as the water was heating up, but there were still a couple of dark flakes of dye that wouldn't dissolve, so I fished them out with a spoon and dumped them on a paper towel (be sure to wash your spoon quickly afterward too).
Once your water is boiling and the dye is dissolved, reduce your heat to medium high and add either 1 cup of salt (for cotton blends) or 1/3rd cup of vinegar for silk. Make sure you move the fabric to the side so you're not pouring directly on it, and then stir, stir, stir!
It says it takes anywhere from a half hour to an hour for the dye to work, and for best results, stir frequently. I'd already poured myself a glass of wine before I put my dress in the dye, and had a bar stool nearby to sit on, so I just set my timer for a half hour, had a glass of wine, and didn't stop stirring the whole time.
But with still a few minutes on the timer, I held up my dress for a look, and I thought it was about dark enough.
The instructions said to gradually cool the fabric, so with 8 minutes left, I removed the bowl from the heat and continued to stir it constantly until the timer went off.
Then I ran warm water over the dress, slowly turning the temperature cooler and cooler until it was about room temperature.
And after hand washing it with some Woolite, and all of the dye was rinsed out, I squeeze/roll dried it as best I could between two towels and hung it in my bathroom to hang dry.
The next day my dress was dry and a little lighter in color.
I can't tell you how happy I am that this ended up working! I was a bit nervous to potentially ruin this rather expensive BCBG dress, but as much as I LOVED it in white, I knew I'd never wear it again unless I dyed it. And now I can't wait for an excuse to put it to use!
But until then, I took a few photos of it on in my backyard, so you can get the full effect of what it looks like now.
For your reference, here it was at our wedding rehearsal last year:
And here it is now! With neutral accessories:
And with black accessories:
I'd also really love to pair the dress with some medium grey pumps and a grey belt, although I don't own a grey belt. But yellow + grey is an awesome color combo that I think would look great here too!
And while I'm at it, here are a couple of close up photos of the fabric.
However, if you're thinking of doing something similar, let me interject a couple of words of caution. First, my dress did shrink a little. Which I was sort of expecting, since it's supposed to be a dry clean only dress. But it wasn't a tight fitting dress to begin with, so I thought it would be alright, and it was. But just something to keep in mind if you're thinking about dying something yourself!
Secondly, you may have noticed that the bottom layer of the dress (the polyester layer) came out lighter than it looked like it would when I was boiling it in the dye bath. They say that it's a risk you run; that not all polyesters take the dye, or take it in different intensities, and there's really no way to know unless you try it. I actually really like the look of it on my dress, but it's also something to keep in mind if you're dying a poly-blend fabric. I didn't want the silk layer to end up too dark, since it looked like it was headed toward orange in the dye bath, so I took the dress out early. But if you're dying polyester, or a poly-blend, you might want to leave it in longer. I really don't know if the color of my silk layer would have stopped getting more intense at some point or not, and I wasn't willing to find out, but I probably would have let it go a bit longer if I'd been working with a blended fabric, to avoid a splotchy look. Just another thing to consider!
And finally, if you're planning on using the pot or bowl you used to boil your fabric in again, be prepared for a lot of scrubbing. I ended up using Goo-Gone to remove the last of the film on my bowl, and then put it through the dishwasher several times. And I threw away the old wooden spoon I'd used to stir the dye-bath--it was bright yellow, and I didn't plan on it being salvageable.
But other than that, everything went according to plan and turned out great. The hardest part really was just taking the plunge, and putting my dress in the bowl of dye!
Have you ever tried to dye fabric? Or revamp or reuse a dress from any of your wedding-events?