Just Dye It

A few weeks ago, Fini asked me to make a couple sets of skirts and shirts for two little girls who will be turning one soon. She asked me to do something similar to the skirt outfits I made for little Ms M. Fini had already bought the fabric when she was here last month so I just had to find t-shirts that would match. This turned out to be an almost impossible task since Fall Fashion is in full swing here. I searched everywhere for plain t-shirts, but couldn’t find anything that was short-sleeved and could easily be appliquéd. I finally found something while searching for more undershirts for Augie (who seems to be growing like a weed recently). I settled on t-shirt onesies with the thought that I would simply dye them to match the fabric colors like some other great bloggers.

So here’s what I did:
I prepared the dye bath as directed on the Rit powder package using the stove top method. (I wanted to use the washing machine method, but I have a front loader and wasn’t sure if it would still work out or not.) I choose Kelly Green and Tangerine. I filled my biggest stock pot with about 1 gallon of water and brought it almost to a boil. Meanwhile, I dissolved the entire package of dye in 2 cups of hot water. (Make sure all the dye is dissolved and no grit is left or else you will get darker spots of color on your clothes. It takes several minutes of stirring to be sure.) After adding the dye to the pot of simmering water, I also added 1 cup of salt and 1 TB of detergent as the package directed. After mixing it all together, I saw that the dye bath looked ALOT darker than the color on the package and much darker than what I wanted. I got everything ready so I could quickly submerge and remove the shirts to keep the color as light as possible. I used a large glass pyrex bowl to put the shirt in after removing it from the bath. This worked pretty well and I was able to rinse the shirts in my kitchen sink without getting dye everywhere. I only had 3 little shirts to dye so I was left with alot of dye bath. I ended up dyeing some cloth diapers, our stained shirts and old kitchen rags. (The package says that you can dye up to 3 yards of fabric, but I was able to dye the 3 shirts, 2 L adult shirts, 6 cloth diapers and 4 kitchen rags before the color really started to change.) After rinsing everything in the sink, I washed and dried everything as usual. Overall, the dyeing process took very little time (about two hours) and everything turned out great.

Here’s the before and after:

T-shirts Ready

Hey They Match

The Other Set

They matched pretty well so now they were ready for their appliqué’s:

Shirts Ready for their Applique's

These were a little tougher to do and man, I’m not going to do circles again! I had to take it out three times and it still didn’t look good:


I will be sticking to straight lines as much as possible:


To finish the skirts and bring the outfits together a little better, I tried to find binding for the hem that would match the shirts. If I had thought about it, I would have dyed some white binding with the shirts so that they matched perfectly, but I’m not that together. I had to use colors at the store and finished the outfits as much as I could. (I’m still waiting to find out if the other little Ms spells her name with a K or C.) Other than that, they’re done:

All outfits just about done.

I loved the freedom of dyeing the shirts any color I wanted and really love the organic colors I ended up with. Chris likes his shirt too and has worn it twice already. (You just gotta love a man who wears stuff you do.) So if you want to try something new or give new life to something old- just dye it!


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by mommiemarzie on October 15, 2007 at 11:42 pm

    Wow Irene! I’m so impressed! I think it’s quite the project you undertook and it looks fabulous!!! You so rock!


  2. Posted by fini on October 16, 2007 at 12:49 am

    super cute!! Love them;) I’m going to pretend I made them…ha! Nah just kidding:)


  3. I always consider doing one of those Rit kits. Maybe I’ll give it a go.


  4. I dis a little dying this summer for the first time – it was great! And you know what another plus is? You can cover stains with it… I spilled a little bit of tea on the bottom of this white t-shirt, and instead of it being ruined, I just put it in a dye bath. http://www.flickr.com/photos/polkadotcreations/1160196188/in/set-72157600778191788/

    So fun!


  5. The outfits are adorable and I think your dye job came out perfectly.


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