Wardrobe Revamp: I'd Rather DYE Than Wear That Color

Here is a pale pink crocheted top that I bought at the thrift store a while back (original post here).

This shirt was only a couple bucks, and I planned from the start to change it up a bit. Problems with it: 1. Had an ugly matching knit tank top attached to the outer shirt 2. Don’t like the color, with my pale pink skin tone this color blends right it.

The first problem was pretty easy to fix, I just cut off the undershirt. The second problem opened up a whole new avenue for me as I have never dyed anything before. I stood in the dye aisle forever decided what color it should be. I wanted a light and basic color, since I would now be wearing it as a shrug/light sweater over other shirts. Here is what I came away with:

Rit’s color remover, and packets of iDye’s Ecru and Black natural fiber dyes. The plan: Use the color remove to lighten the pink enough to dye it antique white, and if it goes poorly use the black.

There are a myriad of different ways to go about dyeing fabric. My method came straight off the packages. Dissolve the powder in simmering water, add the pre-wetted shirt, add a cup of non-iodized salt and stir constantly for a half hour. Remove the shirt from water and rinse out residual dye, throw in the washer with detergent and your done.

Here are pictures of the color remover doing its stuff, the pink started to leach out immediately. (Check out my sweet thrift store pot, you aren’t suppose to re-use the dye pot for food.)

After the color remover the shirt was a very light yellow color, and I gave it a spin in the washer with some detergent to get the excess product out. iDye’s claim to fame is the packet dissolves in water so you don’t have to risk breathing in toxic dust you just toss it in the water. I tossed it in and stirred for a while to dissolve the powder, but I think some of the plastic hadn’t yet dissolved when I put the shirt in because I got rather splotchy results. The color also came out quite a bit darker than I wanted.

Here are the worst spots:

After a few hours lamenting the results, I repeated the process with my back up plan black dye.

I was very happy with the results, the color is very even and fabric is still very soft. A couple of tips for anyone who wants to dye some fabric using iDye and the stove-top method:

1. Make sure the packet has thoroughly dissolved, it took almost 15 minutes for me to get the black packet to dissolve completely.

2. Watch or listen to something while you are waiting for the dye to work. I watched a PBS documentary on the S.S. Andrea Doria, which was a luxury liner that sank in 1956. It gets real boring stirring soggy clothes.

3. Pick a color that makes sense with your shirt, when the color remover left my shirt pale yellow I should have known that the tan color would end up much darker.

More to Read!


  1. chris says:

    Wow!! I like the revamping of your blog. Easy to read, and fun.
    The dates on the side are really cool. I love the newest project. Your pictures are amazing. Tthanks for turning that postcard journal sideways. The picture is cool to look at.

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