Every year my daughter’s preschool class dresses up as a storybook character and does a parade through the school instead of allowing the children to wear their own Halloween costumes. The kids work on their costume all month in class and have so much fun.
This year, the class was dressing up as aliens from Aliens Love Underpants and my daughter was insistent on being a yellow alien with rainbow underpants. We made a trip to the local fabric store and she picked out some bright rainbow striped fabric for her bloomers. I found a free pattern on-line and “whipped” up a pair for my little alien. I continued to search high and low for yellow knit pants and a shirt to no avail. I started to wonder if I could actually dye some white clothing yellow without too much effort (and without ruining my machine). I did a TON of research on dying in a front loading HE machine and decided to take the plunge. Following the directions on Rit’s website, I tried my hand at dyeing clothes at home for the first time.
I couldn’t find any white knit tops/bottoms, so I tried a cream top with khaki pants. The process wasn’t too hard (be sure to dissolve your dye, flush with hot water, add salt dissolved in water and flush again – the salt sets the dye). The items came out nice, but the pants were a nice lime green. Hmmm, we couldn’t have a two-toned alien.
So we set off again in search for another pair of knit tops and bottoms. I ended up getting some white long-johns and tried it again. This time, the top and bottom were both the same fabric so whatever color came out is what we were going with. We held our breath through the washing process and out came some bright yellow long-johns. Yay! Success! My daughter was so happy to show up this morning for her parade flaunting her yellowness and rainbow bloomers.
A few things I will say about dyeing:
- Don’t get your heart set on a color. You never know what will come out.
- If you’re dyeing more than one thing for a matching outfit, make sure it’s the same fabric and do it all in the same batch. You will never get the same results twice and different fabrics take the dye differently. You’ll also notice the thread didn’t dye at all.
- I used the liquid and yes, you still need to dissolve it in hot water.
- No, it did not stain my washer, but I immediately washed some old towels with detergent and bleach to clean my washer out.
- I used about 1/2 a bottle for 2 pieces of clothing, but really 1/3 would have been sufficient for our needs. Use more or less depending on how deep of a color you want.
- I ran the longest and hottest cycle on my machine for the dyeing and cleaning afterwards.
I feel a whole new world has been opened up to me. I’m so excited to re-dye those old faded shirts I have and possibly some new things. I’m currently searching for the perfect black jeans for my son and can’t find any we both like. I’m thinking about taking some of his old jeans and dyeing them black.
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