I forgot to mention
I started entertaining the idea a few years ago when I read that Sherry at Young House Love dyed her wedding dress. I got married in a simple, v-neck, silk dress from J. Crew, and I liked the idea of wearing it again in a new form. After all, it had just been hanging in a closet since the wedding. I even had it hemmed to knee length after a few years, but there is almost no non-wedding occasion when a white, silk dress is appropriate, no matter what the length. So, what would I lose by dyeing it? I wasn’t using it anyway. But it was my wedding dress! What if I ruined it? But I never wore it! But it was my wedding dress!
And so on.
Last year, I got hooked on Marisa’s refashions at New Dress a Day, and I loved that she used dye liberally. She even used it in the washing machine! Very interesting! So I bookmarked the page and committed myself.
One night after work, I assembled my supplies in the laundry room:
- Black RIT dye (1 bottle and 2 boxes, because my craft store ran out of bottles)
- Bleach (and a plastic cup to avoid overgluggage)
- Rubber gloves
I also readied a wire hanger from the dry cleaner to hang the dress above a paint drop cloth in case of any drips. Oh, and I got really, really scared.
Then I plunged in and followed these 10 easy steps, according to Marisa’s tutorial:
1. Wear all black clothing.
2. Start a medium-sized hot cycle and add salt.
3. Wet dress in hot water until saturated.
4. Add dye and freak out when everything turns black, oh so very black.
5. Finish hot cycle.
6. Open the washer and freak out at the carnage (cue stabby music from Psycho).
7. Put on gloves, remove dress and hang it over the drop cloth.
8. Frantically wipe down the washer with bleach and give thanks that the dye cleaned up well.
9. Run a large, hot cycle with bleach added.
10. Run another large, hot cycle without bleach.
When I removed the dress from the washer, it looked like a mess. I thought I had ruined the fabric, much less dyed it a muddy color. But as it dried, the fabric softened, and the color emerged as a dark plum, not black. The lining and thread also took on the dye, though not to the same extent, ending up a light lavender. Not bad!
The only negative side effect — which I should have anticipated — was that the dress shrank. It’s now a teeny bit snug and a little bit shorter than I’d like. That said, it hits at the top of my knee, so it’s not exactly scandalous; I just prefer a slightly longer length. Also, the lighter lining peeks out from the dress, but I think it looks intentional. In any case, I think that this dress could be good for a party with flat sandals and a cute wrap. Somebody throw a fancy party! I can’t wait to say, all casual, “Oh, this? It was my wedding dress!”