Make Do and Dye

how to use rit dye

(While I’m away visiting a lovely friend, I’m reposting some content from my archives. This one was originally published on August 16, 2010).  

In June-ish of 2009 I bought The Bookbag (above) in Provincial Blue from Moop. It’s been such an amazing bag and it was this beautiful muted grey blue when it arrived. It’s been my go-to daily bag since it’s arrival so it’s gotten A LOT of love. Structurally, the bag has stood up well but the color had started to fade. Maybe from too much wear, maybe from the sun, maybe from the washing machine. I was finding that it just wouldn’t look clean no matter how much I washed it and it had developed an unremovable yellow cast.

Before the Spending Fast this would’ve been the PERFECT opportunity, excuse, opportunity to go get a new bag! But, not now. Now, I’m “Making Do and Mending” or in this case “Making Do and Dying”.

I went to the craft store and picked up some fabric dye hoping to bring some new life to some well worn items. I figured a $2.00 box of RIT Dye was a super economic way to avoid buying new items. Turns out it was

My mom used to dye things on the stove when I was a kid so that’s the method I used. I used the color Navy Blue to enliven my bag and I have to tell you, it was a very steamy mess. Basically, there was blue dye everywhere! But, it was definetly worth the lesson and clean-up when my MOOP bag emerged in super beautiful deeply saturated midnight blue color… like the gals coat in the below photograph (but maybe a little bit darker/deeper)

Overall, I’d say the dye job was a super success and I will be utilizing the laundry rooms massive utility sink for the next go round to minimize the mess factor.

I’ve got a Black batch I’m planning on doing next:

  • A pair of jeans- they used to be black but now they are light grey-ish.
  • An extremely old pair of Old Navy pants that I wear so often to work that they are now charcoal and not black
  • An old Banana Republic shirt that’s been well worn and loved
  • Another faded black shirt
  • A jacket for the fall that’s gotten a bit faded over the years

Then, a Pearl Grey batch:

  • White duvet cover- getting dingy, normally would be out looking for a replacement for it
  • White cotton robe- again, getting dingy

It’s such a different frame of mind to be in to think “I’m gonna use what I have and find a way to extend it’s life” rather than the disposable way of thinking where if things get old looking “Out you go!” I really hope this concept stays with me after the Spending Fast. I think it’s one of the most valuable things I’ve learned. Plus, it makes me think that on future purchases I should pay more attention to how things are constructed, how they will hold up through time, the materials that are used, and it makes me think that I will be leaning towards more classic cuts and lines because they’ll fair better over time than the trendier, cheaper items that I used to purchase when more was better and there was never enough.


4 thoughts on “Make Do and Dye

  1. Eve

    Kudos on having the guts to dye leather! I've never even dyed my hair, so I'm a little of a dye-a-phobic. Any dye jobs in the future? So many dye puns, so little time…

  2. Ali P

    So funny you posted this now! I just sewed up holes and re-dyed my black favorite pair of American Apparel leggings, so I didn't have to buy a new pair for awhile longer! good thinkin sister!

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