I’ve used Dylon and Rit powder dyes and Rit liquid dye. I’ve been happy with both brands and formulations. Rit is commonly available at craft and grocery stores. I buy Dylon dye (for my denim) at Hancock Fabrics.
To get the color you want, be sure to (1) wash your garment before dyeing and (2) use the appropriate amount of dye. If you are using a never before worn or washed item, chances are the fabric has been treated with starch or sizing. This will prevent the dye from penetrating the fibers. Wash the garment with detergent (and rinse) before you dye. If you want an intense hue, be sure to weigh the fabric and use at least the recommended amount. Both Rit and Dylon powder dye packages dye 1/2 pound of fabric. Adult jeans usually weigh more than half a pound, so use two packages for overdyeing each pair of jeans. If you are looking for a very dark color, double the recommended amount. Rit lists recipes for custom colors you can create with Rit powdered dyes on its website. (However, I didn’t have good success with Bittersweet. It came out more orange than brown.)
You can use Rit dyes in the washing machine. The garment needs to agitate in the dye bath for one hour. I have an older machine and no way to adjust the 15-minute agitation cycle, so I set a timer and run down to the basement three times to reset the dial. After dyeing, follow the package directions for cleaning the washer (one cycle with hot water and bleach). If you don’t have a washer available, I have had success using Dylon dyes in a big plastic bucket. I don’t recommend the Rit stove-top method. It’s hard to find a pot big enough for the garment to move freely and then the pot cannot be used for food use again. Some people dye in the bathtub…but I’m afraid it would stain.
Once you’ve got the logistics worked out, the dyeing process takes just a over an hour and is actually very easy! If you are new to overdyeing your clothes, take a trial run with something disposable before you try the process on your favorite jeans.
Dyeing jeans black
Dylon Dye (by Dritz)
If you have a favorite dye resource, or feature overdyed clothing on your own blog, please leave a link in the comments!
As you complete the challenge, either leave me a comment or send me an email. If you blog about your creation, send me the link. If you’re not a blogger, feel free to send a picture and/or description and I’ll include it in a final round-up. Please note that this isn’t a contest – I’d like everyone to share their results for inspiration, not competition.
A few of my overdyed items:
Overdyed denim skirt, cotton blazer, and cotton dress.
Results from the February challenge will be up soon.