How to dye a wedding dress to use as an evening dress

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How to dye a wedding dress to use as an evening dress

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We received many an email requesting a little dress dyeing tutorial after I mentioned my wedding dress presto-change-o for this gorgeous wedding. So without further ado, how my very own wedding dress went from “I do”…… to “party on”…in six easy steps:


Step One

Purchase two bottles of liquid RIT dye in black (I had intentions of taking my dress from white to black). Doubling the content of dye will help a very light item of clothing turn darker in the dyeing process.


Step Two

Fill the sink with enough HOT AS YOU CAN GET IT water for the garment to move around freely. Then add two bottles of RIT liquid dye (without adding the garment just yet) and stir the water and dye mixture thoroughly.


Step Three

Note that the label of my dress says “dry clean only” and that the bottle of RIT clearly says “not for use on dry clean only fabrics”. Think about how I’ll probably never wear my dress again if it remains white and how I called countless local dress dyers (everyone turned me down saying it was “too risky”). Then think about how amazing it would be if this actually worked. Say a tiny prayer (or five) and wet the dress with HOT water before tossing it into the dye filled sink.


Step Four

Freak out a little but press on. Stir constantly (up and down, back and forth) for 25 minutes (you want the water to be piping hot when you start because it works best if the fabric remains in hot water so the hotter it is to start, the longer you can stir the garment in the dye bath and the longer it will soak up color).


Step Five

Remove item after 25 minutes of thorough stirring and rinse with warm water that gradually gets colder and colder (to seal in the color). Keep rinsing in ice cold water until the water runs clear. Then hang dress up to air dry (I hung mine in the sunroom with bucket underneath to catch any errant drips) after saying a few more prayers.


Step Six

Thoroughly clean sink to remove all traces of dye (this was actually more stressful than dyeing the dress as dye got everywhere and I was nervous about our stainless sink and our granite countertops but they all came clean with some good ol’ soapy scrubbing). Sure my dress ended up a pretty gunmetal-pewter color thanks to the metallic threads that ran through the satin, and not black as I originally planned. And sure as my dress dried in the sunroom it looked totally ruined (and not at all consistent in color). But once it was dry, the color was locked in (no black dye bleeding into my skin as I worried) and for $12 of dye I turned my once-in-a-lifetime gown into a evening gown that I can wear time and time again (and believe me, I’ll wear it as long as I can squeeze into it!). I realize that this entire process could just as easily ended in disaster, so I guess the lesson is to only dye something that you might never wear again and remember to stir stir stir and use hot hot hot water.


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