Wetting down the original dresses in the sink so that they will take dye evenly. They have a sheer cotton white layer on top of the yellow. I'm a little worried about how purple dye will take to yellow cloth (will it turn brown?), but since there is a sheer white layer on top, I think it will be alright.
My dyes. I got these from Mary Jo's Cloth Store in Gastonia- they have a huge selection of dye.
Remember my online search for my bridesmaid dresses? I ended up going with The Lighthouse dress after my maid of honor, Megan, found this website and Amanda suggested that I dye this dress. After I ordered the dresses I had to have my bridesmaids try them on before I could dye them. This was a long process because one of the ladies lives in New Jersey and the others were scattered across Charlotte. But after a few trips to the post office and around town, a few exchanges at Shabby Apple and some waiting for the mail to arrive I finally had all of the dresses in hand in the sizes that fit the ladies perfectly. And now, for the fun part:
First I added salt to my bucket, this helps the dye bind to the cloth.
I filled the bucket 3/4 the way up with hot water, then in goes the liquid dye!
I dipped a corner of a white cotton towel in to check the color, adding more Wine Dye until the purple color came out about like I wanted. (This isn't a perfect test- the color does lighten once you rinse and dry the garment- but it's easier to see where the color is than by looking into a bucket of dye.) I ended up using about 2 1/2 bottles of Purple and 3/4 bottle of Wine color. Normally I wouldn't use this much dye, but I wanted to make sure the color came out saturated and bright. I felt like I only had once chance to get it right, so I wanted to be sure I had plenty of dye for the amount of cotton cloth I was dying.
I stirred constantly for an hour. This was the hard part. Keeping the dye bath moving means the cloth will dye more evenly. If you just let it sit, you will get some darker places and some lighter places. That's fine for tie-dye, but not for this job. Some people prefer to dye in the washing machine for ease, but I was too nervous for that- I wanted to see everything!
Taking a peek at the color. eeee! I made sure to wear gloves since my wedding is only 3 weeks away. Don't want to show up with purple hands!
After rising the dresses in the sink, and then running them through the washer for 3 cycles, then hanging to dry, this is how they turned out. Such a beautiful color!
Once they are dry cleaned they will look even nicer. I am thinking about running them through one more dye bath of denim blue mixed with a lot of water, to bring the final color down to a darker purple. But I also love the color they are now, so I'm not sure. What do you think?