Changing Your Clothes

Shopping, Sewing, Upcycling, Repairing: Make the most of your clothes!

Makeover Monday: Dyeing to Finish


Previously on Makeover Monday:

My hastily-bought jeans, it turns out, lived up to their “dirty-washed” name, and I decided the boot-cut was just a little too flared for me. So the jeans ventured into the Changing Your Clothes day spa for a much-needed makeover. Day One: Dye with mixture of navy and black:

Spa Day One

Spa Day One: The new color isn’t as dark as I expected, but they’re at least not so “dirty”!

Day Two: Trimming a little off the sides… of the legs.

Spa Day Two

Spa Day Two: The change in the leg width is pretty subtle, but it does make a difference!

And now, the series finale of my epic jeans re-do on this Makeover Monday: Dyeing to Finish! (Is the suspense killing you yet?)

After Day One, although the “dirt” was adequately camouflaged, I wasn’t overjoyed with the new color. I had been hoping for something between dark blue and black, but instead got an indeterminate hue that’s neither blue nor black. So I decided that, once Day Two was done, I’d follow up with a final dye job, this time with black only.

The first time I dyed my jeans, I used powder dyes; this time I tried the liquid form (same brand). I noticed a couple of differences: one, the instructions said to add a fairly large quantity of salt to the dye bath (for cotton, as in my jeans, and certain other plant-based fibers; vinegar was suggested for animal fibers); and two, I used warm water, rather than hot, to prepare the dye bath. (I assume this is because you need hotter water to properly dissolve the powder dyes.)

Also, this time, I dyed my jeans in my stainless-steel kitchen sink, rather than the washing machine; I felt this would control the mess a little better (which turned out to be true), and I also could more easily keep an eye on the amount of color being absorbed, and stop the process when I wanted to. Other than that, the dyeing process was basically the same as the first time.

Tip: Once again, let me stress that you should always follow the directions on your own dye package; what I’m writing here is not a substitute!

My dye instructions said to keep my jeans in the dye bath from 30-60 minutes (“stirring constantly”, by the way, as if I was making Béchamel sauce or something); I didn’t want dark-black jeans, so I compromised with 45 minutes. I think that was just about right!

Tip: I must say, it was really hard for me to judge the color of my jeans when they were in the dye bath. Almost from the first few minutes, they looked completely black, but after rinsing them in the washing machine, then drying them, they’re still more dark blue than black. I know they say to do a test run, but how do you do that with a finished garment? My semi-helpful tip is just to remember that your garment will always look darker in the dye bath than it will be after you rinse and dry it. And, as in my case with these jeans, a second dye bath is always a possibility if you don’t get the results you want the first time!

Here’s the before-and-after for Day Three:

Spa Day Three

Spa Day Three: Again, the difference is subtle, but the jeans are finally as dark as I wanted!

(Cue the drum roll!) And now, ladies and gentlemen, the Really Big Dramatic Reveal: my jeans before and especially after all their spa visits!

The Really Big Dramatic Reveal

The Really Big Dramatic Reveal: Ta-da! My sad jeans before their life-changing trips to the CYC day spa, and after—happy jeans!

Be sure to join me next week on Makeover Monday, for a Surprise Bonus Feature!

Author: Colormusing

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

9 thoughts on “Makeover Monday: Dyeing to Finish

  1. Three times the charm! Looks great.

  2. I used to spin wool and dye it and then make shawls and sweaters from it, this is a nice reminder to use dye to make clothes look fresher and the colours look snappier.

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  8. Hi Lindy! This is brilliant! Not only did you re-design the fit a bit but also upgraded the color. I am impressed. I never thought to refresh a pari of jeans like you would do your hair! Also, a very well written post particularly your tips! ~Thea

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