So I decided to go for it!
The tag indicated that the dress was polyester, with some silk on just the flower doodads. Polyester is infamous for not taking dye very well, especially RIT. Jacquard Products (www.jacquardproducts.com, 800-442-0455.) offers a special polyester dye, called iDye Poly, so I went with that. They also have awesome detailed instructions for first-timers.
I chose iDye Poly Blue dye - I figured if it was super light, a dingy medium, or the color shifted (sometimes you get a neighboring color instead of what you bargained for), I would still be OK. I thought baby blue, purple, or turquoise green were all OK with me. Also, the polyester dyes only come in 8 colors, so there weren't many options.
The directions say to simmer your garment on the stove throughout the dye process. I was worried the polyester would melt, but my engineer Dad assured me it would need to be around 600 for that to happen. Water boils at 212, so I was good to go.
To remove any dirt and oils from the dress (dye won't take to dirty fabric), I washed it in a Professional Textile Detergent that I ordered from Dharma Trading the last time I dyed stuff. I took it out of the washer before the final spin cycle so it would be fully saturated - ready for the dye bath.
Meanwhile, I brought water to a boil on the stove. They recommend not using your dye cookware for food afterwards, so instead of sacrificing one of our nice pots, I picked up a giant one for $20 at our Korean grocery store. This was a double bonus since I also got fresh BiBimBop for dinner. I did sacrifice some tongs. I also suggest trying a thrift store, but ours didn't have anything as big as the vat I required.
I made sure to cover the counters and backsplash well so I wouldn't have a blue disaster in my kitchen.
Once boiling, I added the color packet (super easy, it just dissolves and it zero-mess) and the color intensifier (comes in the kit with the dye) to the water.
I cut a flower off the dress and swished it in the dye to see what would happen. This entire time, I had in my head that the dress would turn out light blue. Silly Bonnie, this is iDye Poly! The material was definitely loving the dye.
So I took a deep breath and threw the dress in! The directions said to boil it for 30-60 minutes, so I set the timer. After five minutes, it was already indigo! I gave it 30 minutes anyways, but not any longer because my arm was killing me (you're supposed to constantly swirl and swish it around for even dyeing).
By this time Tommy was home and was a little frightened by his mad scientist of a wife (you know, dancing and stirring and talking a mile a minute)! He talked me out of using our kitchen sink to drain the dye, and lovingly lugged the giant steaming pot down to the basement and drained it in the utility sink.
It was a good call on his part, because the sink is definitely blue now. It wasn't pretty before, so it's not a disaster, but be warned! At this point, the dress looked purple!
I washed the dress in regular detergent in the washing machine, and hung it to dry. It still smelled like dye, so I ran it through a second time.
I pressed it while wet to get it looking normal again. Those tucks and folds were a total pain, and it took almost two hours to get it normal-looking again.
The color isn't as vibrant as when I was in the midst of dyeing, but I think it's lovely.
I had psyched myself up for this project to be a disaster, but I really couldn't be happier with the results! I didn't expect this exact shade of blue, but I like it.
So there you go, a successfully dyed polyester wedding reception dress, wearable for years to come for all sorts of events!
|Tommy in his wedding suit, and me in my reception dress, now dyed blue!|
I'm linking up over on East Coast Creative's Upcycle Week!