Thursday, November 17, 2011

Adventures In Dyeing

In the words of Rachel Zoe, “I Dye!”

Seriously, this project almost killed me. What was supposed to be a fairly easy step turned into a nightmare. Here is my tale so that hopefully, someday, when you’re all growed up and want to dye something, you will learn from my mistakes.

It was Halloweentime, which meant that it was costume-makin’ time. Will told me early on that he wanted to be Iron Man. I had been planning this all along because the boy is obsessed with Iron Man. OBSESSED! So I was on the hunt for red or goldish yellow sweatshirt & sweatpants to use as the base of his costume. Apparently no one wanted to sell those this year, so I was on the hunt for white so that I could dye it. When I lost patience because apparently white sweatshirts are not sold in stores, I settled on a light heathered gray set that I figured would work just as well.

Hubby is the resident superhero expert in our house, so he drew up a layout for the costume:
Awesome, I know.

And then we made a template for the felt that was to be attached to the suit:

After we had a game plan, it was time to dye. I picked up powdered golden yellow dye & liquid scarlet red. Lesson #1 – the liquid is more potent. Just use that to begin with. I also bought white felt, thinking I would dye it to match… Lesson #2 - Just buy the color felt you want to use.

It was time to start the bath.DSC01335
I could’ve dyed everything in the washer & it probably would’ve been easier & wouldn’t have stained my crappy acrylic sink, but I feel like I had more control over the process by doing it on the range. I added the little bit of laundry detergent & salt to the bath as per the directions on the box. Interesting that it dyed the plastic zipper yellow. I was excited that my plan was working when I saw the color of the zipper…

After an hour and a half in the hot dye bath, I had this:
2011-10-22 08.29.42
Sorry for the crappy pic. It was taken on my phone as I was trying to convince myself that it was ok. Notice the slight green tint? You can see it on the bottom cuff. I was pissed. And of course, the 1st thing Hubby noticed, was the green tint, which got more green at night. Not ideal when you’ll be trick-or-treating at night… So after going through the 5 stages of grief, I decided to try dyeing one more time. The whole point of doing a homemade costume was to save money. Buying a whole new sweatsuit would defeat the purpose of a homemade costume since I would have spent more than if I would’ve just bought the store’s Iron Man costume. $3.99 plus a 40% off coupon to try dyeing again wasn’t going to break the bank.

Oh, and this is why you don’t dye felt:
That does not look Scarlet Red to me… Anyone need some coral-y felt? I have no idea what to do with this. The yellow felt came out pastel yellow, definitely not golden yellow. Maybe I’ve got the materials for some sort of an Easter craft…

It was on with round 2:
I Dye
See the difference?! Bah-nanas!
Needless to say I was jumping for joy that my plan worked. I was running out of patience and time to basically start from scratch with a whole new sweatsuit & now I didn’t have to! THAT is a lovely golden yellow on the right, right?! For both baths, I stirred the fabric in the pot for about 90 minutes.

After 4 nights of sewing on felt appliques to a toddler sweatsuit, I had this awesomeness:
The only good that came out of the red dye bath were those white $1 bin gloves. They shrunk so they would fit my little dude’s little hands almost perfectly, and the color was pretty dang close to the red felt on his costume. He LOVES his repulsor blast gloves. I just used iron on hem tape for the gloves.

And because we are the coolest parents ever, I made Hubby & I’s costumes, too:
Thor, Iron Man, & Wasp on the loose!

The moral of the story is don’t dye. If you have to dye, start with white fabric and dye it twice. And always make sure you are stocked up on Michael’s & Joann’s coupons!

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