Thursday, 25 September 2014

My Little Black Dress--iDye Poly

 This spring there was a prom/wedding dress store going out of business, and I found this dress in size 12 that I liked for $37.  It was originally $180 or something like that.  Anyway, I liked it because it's modest and it doesn't look teenagey or mother-of-the-bride-ish.  That's a hard combination to find.  So I thought it would be perfect to wear to one of Leo's company's Christmas parties.  Only problem was, is that I would NEVER wear that color.  Never.  Ugh.  It would make me look all washed out and yellow.  Then I thought, well, I could dye it!!!  I assumed it was silk because of the price (I have a silk dress from Dillard's that doesn't fit anymore that wasn't nearly that expensive), but it's entirely polyester.  And the seams on the skirt aren't even sewn that well.  Errr.... sometimes knowing how to sew, it makes me irritated at the junk they pass off as super nice.  Anyway, that's a different story.  But for $37 I was completely willing to risk dying it and that it won't fit me, (I think it will eventually, but I was pregnant when I bought it, and can't fit it now. And it will take an act of God for me to fit it by this December. Not that it isn't possible but I would have to develop 800 times more will power than I have now to resist food. Plus, it's holiday time and I'm totally planning on going all out making cookies and chocolates because we have company coming. Yeah! But not yeah for my waistline.  My friends here keep telling me how I lose baby weight so fast, but it's not true, last time I just had two surgeries in a month and didn't feel like eating for a month and a half.  THAT really helps you lose weight.  Anyway, this was another tangent.  Back to the dress.)  So if it had been silk, it would have been a breeze to dye, but polyester, I found out, is a whole different kettle of fish.

First, you have to use iDye Poly. Available at JoAnns.  Two packages at $2.40 each, as I used 40% off coupons.

Then you have to a have a big pot.  This is the real reason I bought this tamale maker.  I did dye some linen in it, but mostly I dyed the linen in the washing machine.  It was the largest pot at the cheapest price I could find.  $20 at Walmart, of course.  Random tidbit, Leo has been in and toured the factory where these are made. Imusa is a Colombian company and they were down the street from where Leo's parents had their manufacturing company.  So they knew each other.  Anyway, now I have a dye pot if anyone wants to dye something.  
Then you wet down your fabric completely.

Mix the dye in the pot.  It stinks.  A blog I read said it was "unbearable" and they shouldn't allow this for home use and yadda yadda.  It stinks, but it wasn't nearly as bad as that blogger complained.  And yes, the smell does linger for a couple days.  Whatever.
Oh, I also read on a blog that it will stain your cabinets and you'll never be able to get the stains off.  I risked it, and they were right.
But you don't notice it from a distance.  So oh well.  I was thinking of doing it outside, but I didn't think I could get a rolling boil on our little camp stove with this great big huge pot.

I used an old, heavy duty wooden spoon that's chipping off wood and thus no longer good for cooking to mix with.
Then you stick in your fabric, and boil it for 30-60 minutes.  This is where my problem occurred.  I did this in the afternoon during my two year old's nap and normally my 1 month old would be napping too. But like today, where I'm precariously balancing Jubal (the baby) on my knees while I type this, Jubal decided not to take his usual nap.  What the heck kid?!??!?!  Every other day you sleep in the afternoon, but not the one day I need you too????  And of course he wakes up and is fussy immediately after I put the dress in, and there's no going back.  Ruff.  So instead of stirring the whole time like I should have done, I nursed Jubal.  I had few options because I wouldn't hold a baby close to this, he might get burnt or splashed on, and I was wearing rubber gloves while working with it too.  And I think I burnt my fabric.  More on this in a second.
Anyway, then you take the fabric out, rinse it out in the sink till the water runs clear.
Throw it in the washer and wash it.  After which I wash the washer by running an empty cycle with bleach in it.
I did buy a special dye detergent.  Another $14 for that.  I used it with my other linen fabric too.  I washed the dress with it before dying--it's supposed to remove chemicals that might make the dye go on unevenly, and then after to help set the dye so it doesn't bleed.
And ta-da! My new little black dress (unironed).   I ended up spending $75 on it with all the other things I bought too.  Of course I used the detergent with other projects and I can use the pot with other projects as well, so maybe I could discount those a bit.  I don't know.  Was it worth it?  Maybe.  It's still not $180, like the original dress cost, but for $75 I might have been able to find something I liked even more that I wouldn't have had to bother dying.
Plus, remember how I think I burnt the fabric a bit?

These slightly coppery patches are what I mean. You can't really see them unless you look closely, and I think under dim lighting they won't be visible at all, so the dress isn't a total loss.  But I'm kind of mad because I think if I had stirred the whole time, this wouldn't have happened.  Errr...  Well, hopefully I end up using the dress, and it will be good.  Hopefully.....

P.S. I decided this was an utter fail.  I looked online and I could have bought this dress and had alterations made for ¾ length sleeves and a below the knee skirt for about the same price as I paid.  And I love it! Way more than my now mostly black dress.  Of course the dress is bright green (which I love) but would that work for a company party? Sigh.


Lynn said...

My hats off you for going through all that process! I love your risk taking. Turned okay in the end. I think it would of been a disaster if it was me. And yes...I think the Green dress looks great too! Perfect colour for a Christmas Company party.

Andrea said...

Of course you can wear green to a Christmas party. Weirdo. Um . . . you should have given me the dress instead of gone to all that work. The color wouldn't have been perfect, but it wouldn't wash me out like it would you and I think the style is totally cute. Hope it salvages after all that.