Friday, August 7, 2009

The dress that spawned/My new obsession

It took like a year, but this super-tiny, silk cocktail dress finally sold yesterday.

Kind of a Cinderella story; no one could fit into it.

But everyone was just ga-ga about the yummy lavender-gray color, which was a complete accident/experiment with an already-used blue dye bath.

Now I've got a big cardboard box in my house labelled "To Dye", where all the dingy, faded, blemished, unsellable ugly ducklings go for re-hab.

Under my kitchen sink, I maintain a healthy supply of RIT dye.

This week's dye bath was "cocoa brown".

An assortment of nylon, linen, silk, and cotton items. You can see in this clothesline pic how the dye effects each fabric differently, which is part of the fun of dyeing clothes. (er...cue Forest Gump chocolate quote here.? )
Some things came out plumby here, some came out chocolaty. Either way, easily my favorite batch yet.

Last week's bath was navy blue. The rayon, silk organza, and linen here all took the dye very differently here too.

Caroline snatched up the 1940s lace/linen blouse before I could even hang it in the store.

This next batch was done in what I call a "ghost bath". That's when I use the dye bath a second time, just to see what happens. The green patio umbrella you see in the background was dyed in the same bath as the hanging clothes, but in the first bath. Big difference.

But I actually preferred the oatmeal color of the ghost bath over the green of the umbrella.

This batch here was done in wine a few months back.

Before and after of a linen dress in that bath:

(I liked it better in white, but the applique colors had bled and it looked terrible).

Anyway-- now I'm just rambling on, and I've got to get to work and open up.

Before I go, some random tips::

Pick garments that are otherwise unwearable, so you've got nothing to lose/ruin.
No shortcuts, Follow the directions on the package.
Get a huge pot, unless you're only dyeing one thing.
Do it on the stove, and stir often, if not constantly.(I would never put dye in my washing machine, but maybe that's just me.)
Get heavy duty rubber gloves. Wear a smock or clothes you can trash, you may splash the dye on yourself.
Rinse really well, and then wash any dyed garments separately by hand anyway.
Try the ghost bath out-- you never know what unusual but fabulous muted colors may come about.