Previously on Makeover Monday:
We followed a pair of my jeans as they underwent intensive treatments at the Changing Your Clothes day spa: not one, but two dye baths, plus trimming their flared legs down to a straighter silhouette.
And now, I present the last in this 4-part Makeover Monday series, a Special Bonus Feature: A Change at the Top!
During last week’s Makeover Monday episode, while my jeans were lolling in their black dye bath, frankly, I got bored. Fascinating as the dyeing process can be, the prospect of 45 minutes standing in front of my kitchen sink, stirring constantly (I’m quoting the instructions) lost its appeal about 13 minutes in. I stuck with it manfully until the 35-minute mark, and then I just couldn’t take it any more.
Since I had begun to suspect that the stirring mandate was to counteract the fabric’s natural tendency to float, I had a sudden inspiration: if I found something else to throw into the dye on top of the jeans, it might help to keep the jeans under the surface, and presumably increasing the dye they were absorbing. I decided to risk a couple of minutes with no stirring, and dashed around looking for something suitable to dye.
Aha! I found this white top with clear sequins, definitely one of those what-was-I-thinking wardrobe moments (I almost never wear white):
I took a few seconds to consider the fiber content of this top. It’s 95% rayon, 5% spandex, so I felt pretty good about its ability to absorb dye.
Tip: I know there’s a bit of misinformation out there about rayon being a synthetic; it’s technically a natural fiber because it originates from wood pulp (cellulose), but is formed into useable fiber with a man-made extrusion process. From what I’ve read about rayon, it’s supposed to absorb dye quite readily, like other natural fibers. If this top had been 95% polyester, I would have expected to have a harder time changing its color, even with black dye. Be sure to carefully read your dye instructions; sometimes they suggest adding either salt or vinegar, depending on whether you’re dyeing plant or animal fibers.
By this time, I had only 10 minutes remaining of the time I estimated for dyeing my jeans, so I casually tossed the white top into the sink on top of my jeans. 10 minutes and a whole lot of stirring later, I drained the sink, squeezed as much as I could out of the top and jeans, and headed for the washing machine (filled earlier with cold water). I ran them through a rinse cycle, then through the dryer. You’ve seen how the jeans turned out; here’s the newly-dyed top!
I actually love this new color. It’s a little hard to see in this photo, but there’s a subtle, almost lavender cast to the charcoal grey that I think is really beautiful. I’m not sure if it was the short dyeing time, or possibly the spandex content that produced this color, but the important thing is, now I’m going to keep this top, and even — gasp! — wear it!
Here it is again, this time side by side (just in case you missed the dramatic transformation):
These last few weeks, while I’ve been working on my jeans and this top, I’ve really started to think of dyeing as a different form of alteration for my clothes. It’s relatively quick and easy (and inexpensive) to do, and as this top demonstrates beautifully, a new color really can give an unloved garment a sparkly raison d’etre (not unlike a trip to a spa). And there is nothing boring about that!
Next time on Makeover Monday, I’ll be attempting to paint a pair of dancing shoes! Don’t miss it!