Thursday, May 3, 2012

taking the plunge

you guys have been amazing with all the postcard offers! there's no deadline (well at least not anytime soon) due to the rate at which i (don't) get things done ha. if you say you'll send one and end up forgetting that's ok too, i won't hold it against you.

anyway, as i mentioned in my april recap post, i took my first venture into clothing-crafts. no, i don't own a sewing machine, it's not like i even know how to turn one on, however i do own a stove.

awhile back, gracie had shared a little how-to/success story about dyeing some (cotton) pants. it inspired me to attempt to dye a dress of mine but i procrastinated. a year later, i finally worked up the courage and got on it.

first, i purchased some iDye poly (because my dress is 100% polyester) from here*. it's cheap. i wanted navy blue, but they don't sell that shade so i purchased blue and black and figured i could mix them.

i also purchased a large (but should have gone larger) pot from walmart because somewhere online i read that you shouldn't use a pot you also cook with. turns out this was good advice because the inside of the pot now has a blue tint to it.

i hemmed and hawed over doing a test run with a pair of white 100% polyester gym shorts but decided i didn't want to waste time. i was nervous about ruining my dress but i told myself i wasn't going to ever wear it as-is anyway**.

you see, the company that makes iDye poly heavily disclaims dyeing 100% polyester clothing - "not all polyesters will take dye", "do not even think about dyeing your clothes if it says 'dry clean only'", etc. other websites also supported these statements, especially stressing "dry clean only" tags. as you may have assumed, my dress did say "dry clean only". i got it dry cleaned right before dyeing it, since i never had it done after i wore it two years ago (i am really good at doing laundry).

ok. back to the process.

i set up my work area, covering as much of the stovetop, countertops, cabinets and floor as possible. newspapers would work (that's what grace used i think) but i didn't have one so i just used trash bags.

following the directions on the inside of the iDye packet, i put my dress in the pot and filled it with water. once the dress was thoroughly soaked, i added a little more water and removed the dress (laying it on plastic on the floor). i put the pot on the stove on high heat and added the blue dye packet and intensifier (comes with it). once that dissolved, i opened the black dye packet and threw some in willy nilly. i was hoping to achieve a navy blue color but there were no guidelines as to how to mix the iDye poly colors. i would guess i put in about 1/3 of the black dye and intensifier. i'd rather err on the side of too blue than end up with yet another lbd (little black dress).

once the dye was dissolved, it was time to make the plunge. i nervously lowered my dress into the pot. i forgot to buy a spoon/stirring device at the goodwill or even walmart so i had to use one of our wedding-gift calphalon ones. 

then i had the pleasure of standing over the stove and constantly agitating the dress in the pot. for an hour! it was hot standing over the stove and my feet hurt (is this what cooking is like? no thanks!). the dye also has some fumes to it so i am sure that was good to inhale. i should note that i wore yellow rubber gloves while doing this to keep my hands from being dyed.

had i bought a bigger pot, i may have been able to get away with not standing over it the whole time but the dress barely fit in the pot and i wanted to try to ensure an even coverage of color. josh was watching a riveting documentary*** on netflix in the living room while i was 'cooking' so i listened to that for entertainment.

finally, the timer buzzed and i emptied as much water as i could down the sink. once the dress had cooled enough for me to grab it, i pulled it out and laid it back on the same plastic on the floor. per the directions, you have to let the garment cool before washing it. after it had cooled off some more, i put it in the washing machine on a short, cold, "hand-wash" cycle with a little bit of 'all free & clear' detergent (the directions recommend a mild detergent, i assumed mine is mild). i then hung it up to dry  overnight (with a trash bag underneath just in case there were any blue drips).

if you've been my friend for the past 2+ years, you may be thinking "where have i seen this dress before"? well let me tell you where...

i dyed my wedding dress! and while i loved it white (erm ivory), i know i will get so much more use out of it now that it's dyed. in fact i've already worn it once...

did anyone recognize it here? :)

unfortunately it didn't come out perfect - there is one spot on the bottom in the front that turned out darker for some reason - so i might attempt to dye it again to 'cover up' that spot. i could also get it altered into a knee length dress, but i love it as a 'maxi' dress. it was also super wrinkly after all the soaking and i don't own a steamer. i attempted to iron it on medium-low heat but after 30 minutes it was still just as wrinkly so i decided to just go with it because they looked fairly uniform. they also helped conceal the dark area too.

morals of the story - "dry clean only" is probably a lie. 100% polyester may not always dye successfully, but it's probably worth a shot.

oh, and the dry cleaner only charged me $32 for my dress. they called it a "formal" and i wasn't going to correct them (it would have been $150-200 for a wedding dress). i win.

*this is not a product review (i paid for everything). i'm just sharing my experience because i want to, and there weren't many good "stories" out on the google about dyeing 100% polyester (mostly just people trying to scare you from doing it).

**unless i were to get invited to p.diddy's white party.

***the kellogg brothers: corn flake kings. you're intrigued i know it.


  1. well, now, that's a good idea. I have a wedding dress in the closet (actually looks somewhat similar to yours) that I could hack off to make shorter and then dye...good idea, and it looks great from the photo!

  2. I recognized the shrug on the picture and when you said you were trying to die a white polyester dress, I was actually wondering, if it's your wedding dress! HA!

    Quite honestly, I thought about doing that with my wedding dress too, since it's only knee length to start with. But it has some flower appliques and a little bling, so it might turn out as a disaster. I've been trying to sell it for the last two years, but not dice... Oh well...

  3. Wow, can't believe you dyed your wedding dress - but it turned out great!!!

  4. Wow! I think it looks awesome!!! I would never think to dye a dress! Very Martha Stewart of you!!!

  5. Ha! At least you put your wedding dress to good use, I threw mine away!
    Only because it would have cost a fortune to get all the "glued-on" little fake pearls sewn on before paying a fortune to have it professionally cleaned to save for my daughter! Ha, I ha a son-it was a win-win for me as well I guess!

  6. ...aaaaand you have just renewed my interest in dying my wedding dress.

  7. Holy DIY Mabel! If I did something like that I'd end up with dye everywhere and probably blue hands.
    I got married in a green dress at my wedding. No dyeing it but I did end up wearing it again.

  8. Oh you crafty, crafty running girl! THat process looks like a royal PIA to me but look! A new formal! :D
    I did a project in 6th grade home-ec on polyester and yes, most of it is oleophobic but as you found out, some is oleofilic. WOnder what other inane info I have rattling around up there?

  9. yes dry cleaning is definitely a lie! A few of my friends have washed their gowns at home. Mine was to big to attempt but definitely something that can be done!

  10. I would love to send you a postcard especially if there is no hurry. I hope you bring it up again in case I forget. I am in the weeds right now at work and know it won't happen for a bit.

    Dry cleaning? What is that? Never do it.

  11. Your talent never ends! What a great project and the results are fantastic--you look gorgeous!

  12. Oh my gosh. You kill me. You're so brave to dye your wedding dress! But I love the result! The color is beautiful. I have been thinking about dying my wedding dress for a ball someday (we go to Mardi Gras balls sometimes). It's 1oo% silk but I used an acetate-based liner when I made it and I think that will not take the dye at all. Shouldn't be a problem except you may be able to see the liner when I dance (the lace edging is sewn to it) and if it was all blotchy it would look weird.
    As for the wrinkles - those are pretty much why the "dry clean only" label on poly. Synthetic silks wrinkle a lot in water. However, a few steams should help. You can always have it professionally steamed, too, but that gets pricey.

  13. You and that Gracie are something else. The talents and ideas keep coming. I think I fear a dying accident too much to ever try. I do remember my Mom attempting it a couple of times when we were young.

    I'm gonna work on getting some post cards for ya. Wish I had picked up one while in Roanoke, but will try to get a MS and LA for you. Fun!

  14. You are so brave! I think it looks awesome!

  15. Oh I think I remember that photo of you with the sparklers and the blue dress. Wow, I am impressed that you were able to dye your wedding dress and reuse it in such an appropriate and amazing way!

    And double awesome to the fact that you didn't have to pay the ridiculous $150/200 or whatever price for wedding dress cleaning, that is steep, eeks.

  16. Aw that totally rocks! What a great idea to keep your dress. My dress is behemothly big. Its satin, and very poofy. I'm going to sell mine (hopefully) it cost way too much money and I don't foresee it being "in" in more than 5 years.

  17. Never heard of anyone dying their wedding dress, but at least you're using it more.

    Next step: Tie Dye.

  18. I can't believe you dyed your wedding dress but that is an excellent idea and it sounds like it turned out well.

  19. I love it!! I have seen a couple tutorials for this! Is it really $150-$200 to have a wedding dress dry cleaned? I hope they think mine is just a formal dress too. Yikes! I'll blog my dress if I ever get around to dying it. I like the navy blue idea!

  20. I thought "The Road to Wellville" was the Kellogg I'm all sorts of confused.

    Nice dye job on the dress. It's good you can find a use for your dress, rather than just stuffing it somewhere to never see the light of day again. I've thought about doing this to a few old white concert shirts, but I'm not sure the print on them would survive or be dyed too.

  21. The navy blue looks so good! I would have been too afraid to try that one but you really pulled it off! Such a great idea.

  22. that is brilliant! and it looks like it turned out perfectly. well done. my wedding dress is still in a box in my basement, worn the one time. it's cool you can wear it again that way!

  23. so talented you are. If this running thing doesn't work out for you then you should open up a business as a person who does arts and crafts and sells it.

  24. I am a little late reading this. But that dress looks great. I have attempted to dye one skirt in my lifetime and it didn't turn out well. I was young so many things could have gone wrong. But you are brave for trying it on your wedding dress!

  25. i'm never going to do this b/c i'm so lazy but i'm glad it worked for you and the dress looks lovely! (i have a pair of white joe's jeans that for some stupid reason turned yellow on the back pocket. what can i do for that? bleach? help. i'm domestically disabled.)

  26. This is SO awesome! What a fabulous idea, and it turned out great!

  27. thought about you and your dye job the other day, I was having a hankering to dye one of my white dresses because I just never wear white dresses. Next time I head to the craft store, I'm going to look for some dye, hopefully it'll be easier since I think it's cotton. I'll let you know how it goes!

  28. Impressive, Martha!

    I actually love your wedding dress - awesome that you'll get so much wear out of it now. Mine... is in a box.



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