Dye Job

Don’t worry, I didn’t go blonde…

As we prepare for the trip to India (ACK, it’s so close), I’m realizing that my wardrobe is… lacking.

During my time working for an investment bank and through my pregnancy, I accumulated a lot of clothes I honestly have no idea why I bought. I think I wanted to fit into the corporate/new-mom world and thought I could force myself to do so via a new wardrobe. I was very wrong.

Whatever force compelled me to buy pastels and browns and creams is gone, and in its place is the old me, the one who wore nothing but black and jeans in college. That me wants nothing to do with the sweater sets hanging in my closet.

Now that I’m stay-at-home, I realize I can finally start to get rid of the horrible clothes consuming my wardrobe and start fresh with pieces I really love AND can actually use on this trip. The part that doesn’t fit? Budget.

India during July/August is total monsoon and having been there during such a time, I know jeans are a no-go. I would absolutely be the village idiot walking around in denim on this trip, however, we don’t have the expendable income for a vacation wardrobe.

So I dug through a pile of clothes I previously threw aside as ‘Goodwill worthy’ and found two pairs of lightweight pants that would be perfect for the trip… if they weren’t khaki/tan and I actually wanted to wear them.

I picked up a pack of RIT Dye in black and vowed to make-over the pants in a shade I would actually wear in public. Here’s what happened…

Pants before:

Dye mixture (in a Deer Park bottle next to the baby shampoo. Aren’t I classy!):

Mix with water in the bathtub:

Add garments and use old barbecue tongs to stir (alright, the tongs were my idea, not part of the instructions):

Add a few more shirts from the Goodwill pile because the dye seems to work

Rinse out, wash twice and dry:

Oh, and don’t forget to scrub, scrub, scrub the tub you’re dying in. The bathtub was completely gray and blue when I finished and it took A LOT of Comet, Clorox and Soft Scrub to get it back to white:

The pair of light khakis I had turned out perfectly. They’re now a medium grey color , which blends with the rest of my wardrobe AND won’t show sweat (you know, the stain you get below the waistband, above the butt, while trekking through the tropics?). The tan/brown pair I started with definitely darkened, but didn’t actually turn black, which is what I wanted. I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t use salt (recommended) or forgot to add detergent (required), but I plan on buying another pack of dye and trying again.

The other items were shirts from the giveaway pile I threw in to see what would happen. One was a cream long-sleeved shirt that was getting dingy and didn’t suit me, another was a cream/gray patterned shirt that was cute, but again, cream just isn’t my color and the third was a white Gap shirt that I loved, but managed to stain with tea. The first turned a nice, deep blue/gray color, the second did as well (and retained the pattern, which I love). The third definitely turned a dark blue/gray, but unfortunately the set-in stains actually dyed darker than the rest of the shirt, meaning that it is still ruined.

All in all, I think the project was successful. I turned two pairs of pants (I will wear the brown one now, even if I can’t get them all the way black) and two shirts from my Goodwill pile into clothes that I will actually wear. For the cost of one package of dye ($3.95), I managed to salvage four items, which is a far cry from the money I would have spent to replace them.

I certainly would never attempt this willy-nilly with clothes I like, but for (technically decent) clothing items I was ready to give away, it worked well.

One thought on “Dye Job

  1. I’m impressed! Ask any millionaire and they probably have similar stories of money saving ideas. Remember what A. Anna says: It’s the pennies that make the pounds!

Penny for your thoughts?