Changing Your Clothes

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Monday Makeover: A Spa Day for my Jeans


Under the heading of “what was I thinking?”: the dirty-wash jeans I bought recently. I admit, I bought them primarily because (a) I needed a decent pair of jeans for a trip I was about to take, and (b) they fit (i.e. they were long enough—not always easy for me to find). Yes, it was a hasty decision. Yes, there was some time pressure.

Yes, I should have known better.

I really shouldn’t have been surprised to find out that jeans with a color finish called “dirty” just might look, well, dirty. (And by the way, if the fashion industry can come up with color names like “sand”, “putty”, and “dove” to describe just plain beige, why can’t they come up with a euphemism for “dirty”? Just asking.) Here are my jeans, pre-makeover:

"Dirty" jeans

“Dirty” jeans: Even just after washing, these jeans certainly live up to their dubious color-finish name.

This color finish is begging for a makeover. So, first on the spa-day list: dye job!

Note: Because of the many differences between dye brands, this is not going to be a jeans-dyeing tutorial per se; you should follow the directions that come with the dye that you choose. I will, however, tell you what I used, and let you know what I learned from my results.

I wanted to get my jeans as dark as possible, but I thought that if I just used a dark blue on jeans that were already blue, I might only compound the original problem (i.e. end up with jeans that are darker blue, but still “dirty”). So I decided to use a combination of black and navy blue dyes, shown here with the instructions printed on the inside of the package:

Dyes for jeans

Dyes for jeans; I used black and navy blue dyes, mixed together, to dye my jeans.

Note: I realize you probably can’t read the instructions in the photo; they give instructions for dyeing in a sink, bucket, or washing machine. I’m not sure if all dye brands offer all these options; I chose the washing machine, mostly because there’s too much fabric in my jeans to comfortably fit in a bucket, and I didn’t think my kitchen sink was deep enough. Be sure to follow your dye instructions carefully!

Here’s the basic process: Dissolve dye in hot water (I did this in an old pitcher); stir this into the dye bath (in my case, the washing machine which I had already filled to the proper level with hot water), add jeans, stir (or agitate in the machine) until jeans are the color you want, keeping in mind that they look darker when wet; I left mine in the dye bath for 35 minutes. (As mentioned above, please do not take this paragraph as instructions— use the instructions that come with your own dye!)

Here’s how my jeans look after their custom spa dye treatment, next to the “before” shot (for maximum drama, don’t you know):

Jeans before and after dyeing

Jeans before and after dyeing: they’re not as dark as I expected, but they’re at least not so “dirty”!

The new color is… interesting. Seeing them side by side in this photo, they’ve come a long way, but the new color is definitely not what I was expecting. Yes, in the photo they certainly look quite a bit darker, but I’ve noticed when I’m outdoors, the color looks almost like a deep teal— there’s a greenish tint that doesn’t show indoors. In fact, they remind me a little of a tanzanite ring I have; the stone color seems to change from a dark blue to something like a deep turquoise color, according to the light. I love it in the ring, but the jeans? I’m not so sure. What I had wanted was a color that would go with everything, look deep and rich, but not solid black; if I had gotten the blue-black I was picturing, I think they’d be the perfect color. So… back to the spa, for an overdye treatment of solid black. But that will have to wait for the next… Makeover Monday!

But I will leave you with a little teaser. In addition to the dye job, I’ve decided that I don’t like the boot-cut legs (not on me, anyway). So the next phase of my jeans makeover will be taking the legs in so they’re straight, rather than with the slight flare. In this photo, I’ve just folded under maybe 1″ on either side of the leg on the left:

Jeans makeover, Phase 2

Jeans makeover, Phase 2: straighten the boot-cut legs, as shown at left. Oh, and overdye with black. Another big spa day is coming up!

You can see what a difference it makes, right?

So Phase 1 of this Makeover Monday (I decided that sounds better than Monday Makeover) is complete, if not completely satisfactory. But hey, at least my jeans enjoyed their day at the spa— and they no longer look permanently “dirty”!

Author: Colormusing

I'm a writer, color palette creator, and designer of fashion, lingerie, graphics, knitwear patterns, and yarn.

9 thoughts on “Monday Makeover: A Spa Day for my Jeans

  1. Great idea – looks just like new!

  2. Agree the new color looks better and “cleaner” 🙂

  3. Anticipating phase 2 as I have a pair of jeans to do the same thing to 🙂

  4. Pingback: Makeover Monday: Another Spa Visit for my Jeans « Changing Your Clothes

  5. Pingback: Makeover Monday: Dyeing to Finish « Changing Your Clothes

  6. Pingback: Makeover Monday: Special Bonus Feature! « Changing Your Clothes

  7. Pingback: If At First You Don’t Succeed… Dye, Dye Again | Changing Your Clothes

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