Have you seen Dawn Porters new tv show ‘This Old Thing’ yet? It’s an absolute must see for any vintage and upcycling clothing lover in which Dawn gives loads of tips and tricks to make your own brilliant personal wardrobe (and help convince any vintage-foob in your household to love the pre-loved).
In the very first episode they gave me a brilliant upcycling idea which I’ve successfully put to the test: dyeing a plain boring white dress into a vibrant blue piece. After the episode I walked into a local shop where they had fabric dye on offer, I’ve always wanted to try that so I took it as faith and bought a packet of blue dye.
Remember my 1950s / Call the Midwife dress I made last year out of white cotton, mainly to test the vintage pattern. Well I never got round to make a proper copy out of fancy fabric (partly because of the sheer amount of fabric involved, partly the work in it). But it being plain white it was a little too much ‘nurse’ for me to wear the dress out. The perfect piece to try some dying. Besides in Call the midwife the midwifes dresses are light blue so that would make it more like the show too.
I filled a bucket with hot water as instructed (always follow the instructions and test on a scrap piece first), added about half the packet (I didn’t want a dark indigo as on the packet) and dropped a piece of scrap fabric in the dye. Taking it out after 15 minutes (long before the instructed 45 minutes) the fabric was way too bright blue for my liking, so for the actual dress I diluted the mixture a lot more.
On the show they did a brilliant job dip dyeing so the bottom was a lot darker than the top of the dress. I tried to do the same, but at the same time didn’t want the dress to turn too dark by leaving it in the bucket too long, so in the end only when you lay the top and bottom next to each other you see a colour difference. Still, I love the light blue colour it turned into.
Funny enough, because of the dyeing the originally blue decorative stitches turned a bit greyish, which makes them still stand out from the fabric. And the buttons, well they look like they were made for this colour all along.