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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sometimes you just feel like dyeing

Right now I do feel like dying...I started a new exercise regime and I. want. to. die. I need to stay motivated but I am SO sore!
Before the project, remember the other day when I begged, I mean asked, you to go vote for me here? If you haven't done that yet, PLEASE do! I'm #8, just push vote under my name and you're down! Onto the awesome-sauce of a project....
Okay, so you’ll remember the ruffle-y shirt and t-shirt skirt I did, right? I mentioned I had even more shirts to do something with….well, here’s the next project! I had another white shirt…
Tshirt Dress (1)
That I decided to turn into something awesome for my oldest daughter. I pinned in the sides, just below the armpits, and sewed it in just to make a nice straight line from where the cap sleeve met the shirt to the bottom of the shirt.
Tshirt Dress (3)
I even spent a bit of time lining the top with fabric, before realizing it wouldn’t work with what I envisioned for this project. I decided it was high-time for me to learn how to do smocking/shirring. I used this tutorial from Make it, love it. It was great! It went through how to use elastic thread, and even some troubleshooting (that’s where I realized the second layer wouldn’t work…) So I’m just going to refer you to her to learn how to do shirring.
T-shirt Dress (4)
T-shirt Dress (7)
That’s how the top looked after I finished smocking the crap out of it. You’ll notice I took of the binding around the collar. It just wasn’t sitting right since I took it in everywhere but there. So I took it off.
T-shirt Dress (1)
and repinned it on, then sewed it on so it would lay better.
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (6)
Better. Then, I waited for about a week to get the rest of my supplies for my vision from Idaho. I knew I had some fabric from another project that would be just right for this. Once my wonderful hubby dug around in the storage unit, and brought home the right one (no easy feat!), I started making ruffles….
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (2)
I cut the strips 5” wide (mainly cuz that’s how wide my ruler is!), and sewed them all together in one long piece. I pressed them open, and pressed under on both sides 1/4”. I sewed the bottom hem, and then did a basting stitch on the top to gather for my ruffles. I laid out the fabric strips to figure out how I wanted it to look. I was going to do ruffles from the smocking clear down to the hem, but changed my mind.
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (5)
Ooh, don’t those look cute!?!? I love when the idea in my head actually comes out!
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (4)
Are you pondering what I’m pondering, Pinky? I think so Brain, but the Rockettes, I mean it’s just a bunch of girls, isn’t it?
This is the part where I say I feel like dyeing….I bought about 10 different colors of dye from the DI for $2. Seriously. When they cost more than that for one…I was in heaven! Because of my vision, I pinned the ruffles so they wouldn’t be falling where I didn’t want them.
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (11)
Anyway, follow the directions on the box, and get your sink/bowl filled with hot water. (Add salt to get a deeper color)
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (7)
Dissolve your dye in another bowl.
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (8)
Stir them together in your big sink/bowl.
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (10)
Get your dress completely wet with cold water.
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (9)
K, if you’re going to do it all one color, you don’t need to follow my tips, but if you’re going to try my crazy idea, here’s how I did it. Have a timer handy.
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (14)
Dip your dress, starting at the top, down to the smocking waist. Leave it there for 8 minutes. Now go to the top of the first ruffle line, and leave it for 5 minutes.
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (17)
By the way, use your spoon to keep pushing the fabric down, and make sure things are somewhat moving. Ideally, you’re supposed to be moving it the entire time, but that wouldn’t get the look I wanted….Ruffled T-shirt Dress (18)
Now, go to the next ruffle line…You can take out the pins as you go down. I just didn’t want the ruffles falling in before I wanted them to. Leave it in for 5 minutes.
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (19)
Now, go to the next ruffle line. I was trying really hard to not get the bottom layer in at all, and you’ll see why in a minute. Leave it there for 10 minutes.
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (23)
For this step, I strongly recommend wearing rubber gloves. Unless you want purple hands. Your call. Rinse out the dress with cold water, squishing out water, and getting it until the water runs clear. If you were doing a light color, you could throw it in the dryer at this point, and it’d probably be fine. But with darker colors, you’ll want to wash it in the washer to make sure all the dye is out. So, take out any pins, and go put it in the washer.
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (21)
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (24)
Ooh, are you seeing this!?! After I washed and dried it, I sewed on a final layer of ruffles at the very bottom that was completely white. The dye of course bled a little into the white, making it a very light purple. Then, I sewed on a snap to the back of the dress.
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (26)
Tell me this isn’t the cutest face? Yep, that’s what she did when I told her to smile!
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (32)
Okay, here’s a better picture.
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (1)
And the back…
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (28)
Close up of the ruffles.
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (30)
and the smocked top.
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (31)
Ruffled T-shirt Dress (27) copy
I pretty much love it! It turned out just how I envisioned it! This should fit for awhile! She wouldn't take it off after the picture and wore it ALL DAY LONG! I think that's a success! However she told me last night for bedtime that it needs sparklies on it. Hmm...
Tips for dyeing:
I am by no means an expert. But I do have fun with it, and have done quite a few times. Natural fabrics work better. The shirt is made out of cotton, and you can see it took the dye a lot more than the cotton/polyester blend fabric. Just realize that. That's part of the reason I went with an ombre dye job, so the differences wouldn't make it look weird.
Use glass and metal when you can if you're doing it in a sink/bowl. Plastic will dye! That spoon I used has a purple hue to it now.
Wash everything off when you're done, and use bleach for parts that still have a hue.
Wear old clothes! You may get splashed!
Err on the side of leaving it in longer. You want a richer, deeper color that hopefully won't wash out any time soon! You can always bleach it a little lighter later (maybe with slightly different warned!)
If you dye something in your wash, your washer will turn that color! I almost always prefer to do my sink/bowl method, then I can clean it out. Unless you have a washer you don't care about, or have a second one like I did in college (I worked at Utah State University's costume shop and we were always dyeing! Go Aggies!!)
If you have any questions, please ask! I've done several dye projects, mostly for Halloween costumes when I couldn't find just the right fabric. Dye is somewhat unpredictable, so don't dye something priceless! You can always mix up a little and test a swatch with different times like I did with the orange sweater here. Anyway, have fun! My hubby always gets a little nervous when I tell him I'm dyeing! hee hee hee!!
I'm in the middle of another dyeing project that will either come to fruition with my vision, or be an epic fail. We shall see...Right now, it's lookin like a fail....Wish me luck!
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  1. This dress is so cute and your daughter is just adorable! This method of dying looks like so much fun.
    ~Tonia @TheGunnySack

  2. What a beautiful refashion! You should stop by my sewing only linky party and participate Saturday!

  3. Hi! Visiting from sundae scoop. This is ahhh-mazing. I love how simple you make this look too! Its times like this I wish I could sew :)

    If you get a chance I would love for you to share this at my Friday link party going on now :)


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