Dying to Dye!

Good news!  The first jumper of my jumper commission is finished!  Wahoo!  You can see pictures here https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153231638376117.1073741840.238182521116&type=3 and I’m delighted to tell you my customer loves the photos!  I’ve cast on the second jumper and am making really good progress, so feeling good about that.

So, you may have seen me talking on my Facebook page about dyeing clothes.  I love colour and I love to wear colourful clothes, but having been finding it hard lately to find clothes in the colours I like.  So I decided to dye some!  I’ve had success before with dyeing things, such as this purple outfit that I dyed a couple of years ago.


The top used to be bright yellow, and I bleached it and then dyed it purple (I used Dylon Intense Violet for this outfit.)  I can’t remember what colour the skirt was, as it was so long ago but I was so happy with this outfit and I still love it.  Am really happy this year as I’ve lost a little weight and I can fit into the top again and wear the whole outfit, last year I could only fit into the skirt as it’s a bit looser than the top.

When dyeing clothes, one thing to be aware of is that the thread may not change colour.  Thread is usually made from a manmade fibre and won’t take the dye as well as a natural fabric like cotton.  Because of this, it’s important to consider if the thread will look good with whatever colour you are changing your item to.  Perhaps you are changing it to a toning colour and it may not show the thread very much, or if you are going for a contrasting or wildly different colour, then make sure the thread will look good with the new colour and not jar.

I was hoping that with the purple top, the broderie anglais round the hem would still have the yellow thread picking out the pattern, but for some reason it did what it wasn’t meant to do and turned purple!  The inside is still yellow and looks good!  And you can see yellow thread around the neckline.

I was hoping the outside of the strip of broderie anglais fabric would look like this, with the yellow thread picking out the pattern
I was hoping the outside of the strip of broderie anglais fabric would look like this, with the yellow thread picking out the pattern
This is what it actually looks like, and as you can see it needs ironing, sorry about that!
This is what it actually looks like, and as you can see it needs ironing, sorry about that!

So I was very happy with that and have dyed other things too in the past.  I’ve been saving up a few things to dye and then recently as I said I was struggling to find some tops to wear in colours I like, so got some white ones and decided to get some nice dyes!  I’ve used Dylon quite a lot before, and love that you can just put it in the washing machine, and when you come back, you have stunning clothes!  So I was thinking I’d like something as easy as that to use, but wanted to try other brands this time.  I’ve done some hand dyeing in the past, but find that too tiring so something nice and easy for the washing machine was ideal.

I found a brand called iDye, which had exactly what I was looking for.  They come in a cardboard sachet, and the dye is in a dissolvable plastic sachet, so you take it out of the cardboard and put the whole thing in the washing machine and the plastic melts when the water hits it and the dye comes out.  Nifty idea, and saves a lot of mess!

First of all, I did some dyeing but didn’t use enough salt.  I knew I was taking a risk in not measuring the salt and just guessing how much I needed and it didn’t come out well at all.  The clothes looked fab but when they were washed the dye came out again 😦  I’d been lazy and not washed them on their own straight after dyeing them – which you are meant to do, to wash out any excess dye – so I wore it once and then washed it in my normal washing and ended dyeing lots of my undies and socks lol! For some reason they have stayed blue too, so at least they revived me undies haha!


Having learned from this, I made sure I measured out the salt when I did the last two lots of dyeing.  And washed them straight after dyeing to wash out the excess dye!  I was so excited to see how it turned out, and some turned out great!  I’m rubbish at taking “before” photos, so I’ll just have to describe to you what they looked like before!

So the first dye I used was Brilliant Blue by iDye.

This was a pack of two tops I got that were white, and I bought them purposely planning to dye them.  I’m actually wearing this top right now, I love it, such a gorgeous shade of blue!


I also put this top in the same load, it was quite a green shade of teal and I wanted to make it bluer, as I like the top and needed a new long sleeve top for this winter. I think it’s turned out quite well, and if I decide later that I’m not happy with the colour I can always strip out the colour and dye it a different colour.


This skirt also went in, it was a really horrible bottle green colour, and no matter how much I tried to bleach it (I used a proper colour stripper from Dylon first of all, and then resorted to diluting household bleach – see my comments below on this – in a lot of water) I could not get it to lighten!  So I just chucked it in to see what happened.

green skirt

It’s hard to tell from this photo, as the room suddenly went really dark as I was photographing it, but it is now a much nicer shade of green, kind of sea green.  I’m going to keep it like that for now, and have a think about it.  I might just dye it navy blue at some point, as I don’t really wear green, but for now I’m going to leave it alone and think about what I want to do.

Then I put in the top I’d tried to dye before when I didn’t add enough salt.  This did not go well!  I’m not sure why, but it came out so patchy!  I guess the poor thing had just had enough!  It started life bright pink, but I’ve gone off really bright pink at the moment so I stripped the colour out of it as much as possible and then it was dyed twice so I guess it just said: “Enough!”


It has patches of teal, pink, and a dull blue.  I think I will leave it alone and perhaps just wear it at home.  My husband likes it, he said he thinks it’s quite effective and looks like one of things with iridescent paint that changes colour as you move around.  I’m not so convinced, I think it looks a mess!  But I guess it might grow on me!  Whatever happens, I’m not going to do anything else to it, it’s had enough chemicals on it.  I wouldn’t have worn it again anyway, if I’d just left it bright pink, so I don’t regret it, I’m still learning how to dye things and so it was a useful experience to experiment with it and see what happened.

I also did some clothes in Purple by iDye.

The first thing was the second top in the two pack.  This one was white with blue spots and it came out looking fab!  I wore this out the very next day and was really happy with it!  It’s so comfy and really suits my style and goes with a lot of things I already own.  I’d love to find some long sleeve ones in a similar style and perhaps dye them to suit my colour scheme too.


I’ve had a top for ages that I didn’t really know what to do with – it was a nice shape but it was a really insipid dusky pink, but quite a light shade of it.  It came out looking good, it’s not exactly the same shade as the other purple top, which is good as I was hoping they’d come out a bit different to each other.  This one is a dusky purple and I really like it!  By the way, the top isn’t quite as indecent as it looks on the hanger, it’s not as low cut as that!  To make it stay on the hanger,  I had to hang it in a funny way!

One thing I've discovered is that putting it over a door to dry seems to have left a mark on the sleeve!  So will take care not to do that again!
One thing I’ve discovered is that putting it over a door to dry seems to have left a mark on the sleeve! So will take care not to do that again!

The last thing was this skirt.  It was black originally, and I wore it a lot in the winter, it’s quite old and needed freshening up.  It’s the same style as the green one, in fact, I think I bought them at the same time intending to dye the green one but didn’t get round to it until now.

So I stripped out the colour and it turned pale brown.  Then I dyed it blue and it just turned black again!  So then I stripped out the colour again, and dyed it purple.  Now it’s a kind of maroon brown.  I hate it.  There is no other word for it.  It’s a horrible colour.  Definitely going to have to do something with it, but not sure what yet.  Maybe dye it navy blue?  Or will that just turn it black again?


I mentioned that I’d stripped colour out of things and bleached some things. If you want to lighten an item of clothing before you dye it, the best thing to use is a proper colour stripper from a brand like Dylon.  They use chemicals that won’t damage the fabric.  Household bleach is very strong and may ruin your fabric – I once bleached a top and the bleach ate holes in the fabric!  I sometimes do it still but only if I’m prepared to take the risk that the item may be ruined.  I always make sure the bleach is highly diluted in water first too, and it is effective I have to say, but as I said, if you do it, take care!

So there you have it!  Some things didn’t turn out as I’d expected, some things turned out horrible, and some things are fantastic!  Here you can see my new tops, I love them!

dyed tops

I’m definitely still learning and will keep experimenting!  I may even show you some of the things I’ve dyed at some point in the future! I have another skirt that I’d like to dye raspberry pink if I can find a dye for that, but am finding it hard to find one.  I’ll keep looking though!

Have you ever dyed anything?  How did it turn out?


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