DIY,  Thrift

RIT, ruined white clothing

I love white clothing, especially in the summer. When I’m in a white dress wearing sunglasses with a nice tan I feel like I could be someone famous. Unfortunately white clothing doesn’t stay white for long and nearly every white piece of clothing eventually gets something on it that won’t come out. I had four pieces that had been ruined one way or another, washing that led to bleeding, mystery stain that appeared while in the closet…

Since 3 out of 4 were already part red (really it was more of a streaking pink) I bought a box of RIT red dye at the grocery. Steve loaned me a 5 gallon bucket and a stick from the garage and I followed the directions for bucket dying on the box. I mixed by dye powder in a small container of hot water before dumping it in my 5 gallon bucket (enough water for the clothing to move freely). When I dumped it in I saw that some of the powder had not dissolved, so I swished that into the bucket too. I stirred it til I thought it must all be dissolved. This was totally an assumption since I couldn’t see to the bottom of the bucket through the dyed water. I wet my clothes with some hot water and then into the red bath they went. Then there was a lot of really boring stirring. I rinsed them with water until it ran clear and then hung them in the basement over an old towel I didn’t mind getting red. While wet they were looking pretty good, a deep dark red.

The nice blouse turned out great. In it’s glory days it had been white with tiny red polka dots, but now it is red with tiny darker red polka dots. The thread did not take the dye, but it adds a little contrast to the piece, along with the white buttons.

The cotton sweater did not take as much dye as the silk blouse and was a slightly less punchy shade of red. The linen/synthetic mix even lighter. I may try to redye these, but they are pretty evenly colored and it’s not a bad shade of red, so maybe I will see how I feel about them in the mirror.

The VS cotton/spandex dress took the dye unevenly and was also slightly lighter than I would have liked. I think it didn’t flow as freely in the water as the others and tended to want to wrap around the stir stick and the other clothes. It is streaky and probably needs to be dyed again.

This was all done on the fly, but in hindsight I should have added more dye to the bath and a little detergent to encourage evenness. When I get around to re-dying the dress I will probably throw in the two sweaters, maybe up the dye color to a nice dark garnet.

After reading the RIT tips for success, in future dye experiments, planning may occur. I will :
1. weigh the fabric
2. consider the type of fabric
2. get the correct amount of dye
3. make sure the dye is fully dissolved
4. add a little detergent
5. add salt and vinegar 5 min AFTER I start stirring
6. bribe someone else to stir the bucket for half an hour

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