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Dyeing Gives Old Clothes New Life

Dyeing Gives Old Clothes New Life

Dyeing is a great way to revive clothes and it's pretty simple to do.

"As a teacher it's fun to see somebody know nothing and then knows it all," said Jessica Dolan, Professor of Fabric Design. "I've been doing this for over 12 years now and I'm still learning -- they teach me every day."

Jessica is teaching us a few tricks of the trade!

"You can go thrift the stuff if you don't have it or you can just take something that you're sick of and you've worn it a few times and say,'hey this needs a refresher.' Let's take it to a new color," she said.

A few housekeeping rules--- dye pots should never be re-used for cooking and stainless steel works best, aluminum stains easily and can never be re-used with lighter dyes.

These dyes are household dyes so they are safe to use but you just want to always be precautious," Jessica says. "These are both Rit dyes, but they come in a powder form and a liquid form -- the powder form is a little bit cheaper, the liquid is about double the price."

Typically using the liquid is a better way to go if you're a beginner," she advises.


"Modeling is an intentional uneven dye job -- so it's got more texture," Jessica says.

Bring a pot of water just before boiling and add your dye then add about a cup of salt -- that helps the dye stick to the fabric. Gather your garment evenly into a ball and stuff it into some pantyhose.

"Anything that's underneath is going to be lighter," she says.

Add your dry garment to the pot and let it absorb on its own -- don't push it down.

"At this point you can go ahead and turn your stove off and just leave it for an hour to absorb the dye," she says.

When it's the color you want - rinse until the water runs clear -- you'll need to do this after every dye job.

"You can take your garment and throw it in your dryer," says Jennifer.

This has a low contrast, but once you get the hang of it you can get much more creative.

"This tank top didn't start out white - it started out a purple shade and it was modeled in fusica dye. This tank was first dyed yellow and then over-dyed stuffed the panty hose in a navy to give a higher contrast. This skirt has two different colors so if you open your panty hose and there's some areas you'd like more coloration on you can restuff in pantyhose and dip it in another color," she says.


A hot new trend is colored jeans!

"It's all over the magazines, on the runways - you can totally get the same look for less by taking your white jeans and over-dyeing them," Jessica says. First you want to pre-wet your fabric because you want this to be an even dye job -- unlike what we did with the modeling. So now you take your wet jeans and you add them into your dye pot and with this one you want to stir it all the time so that it's agitated," Jessica says.

Depending on how intense you want the color - leave your garment in the dye for a half hour to an hour.

"With this technique it'd be a lot easier to do this in the machine, you add it in let the machine do all the work," Jessica says.

Jessica says you can add this dye in top-loading washers only! If there is some residual dye left, you can run bleach or a specific color-removing solutions. Once the jeans are dry this is what you get - looks like exactly like what you see in the magazines for $3," Jessica says.


"The next technique we're going to do is rubber banding and that's really easy," Jessica says. "Silk automatically soaks it up at a faster rate than cotton does so it will take less time to get a deeper intensity," she says.

Just fold the scarf in halves and start adding rubber bands.

"You want to do it as tightly as possible. If it's looks like the dye's going to go underneath the rubber band and you won't have a clear color, we want to pre-wet it first," she says. "Now we're going to put it into our dye pot."

We stir for about 10 minutes and it's time for the big reveal!

"You want to be very careful not to cut your fabric," she says. "It's totally transformed from that plain purple scarf we started out with."


You will also need a separate bowl of hot water for this one.

"The first step you do -- you just dip it straight into your dye pot -- just the bottom you don't do the whole thing, And you're going to transfer it to your water just to kind of get rid of that line that you may start building up so you can see when you're finished how dark the bottom is compared to the original pink you had to begin with."

Jessica recommends beginners start with cotton, but says any natural fibers will take dye well like -- nylon, silk and wool.

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