Last summer, I made this exact dress for Alice (a trial run for her christening gown), and the first one I made was enormous… Until a few days ago, it hung in her closet, un-hemmed and half done. I got crackin’ on it and when it was finished, I started to think of how to make it more exciting. A white dress is cute and all, it just isn’t very practical when you are a year-and-a-half old and like to drink cranberry juice.
I ombre dyed the dress last year (with fantastic results) and I figured I would do the same with this dress. My only regret was keeping the top of the dress white; while it looked beautiful, it didn’t stay that way for long. For this one, I wanted the color to go all the way to the top to camouflage any stains, even if it wasn’t as cute.
This time I tried out gray, and although I’m not as thrilled with the end results as last year, I realize that you live and learn. And my main lesson this time: don’t ever use Rit dye on something that you wouldn’t be heartbroken if you ruined.
Working with dye is not for the fainthearted… There is the large possibility that things will not work out exactly as planned, and even when you use exactly the same process each time, things will never be 100% consistent. That said, most of the times I’ve dyed fabric, it turns out really well.
To achieve the gradient, this was my process…
First, I changed into grubby clothes and gathered my supplies; the dress, dye, salt, and an old dark towel (to clean up any major disasters).
I don’t use an entire package of dye – I only use a small amount in a saucepan of boiling water with a giant helping of salt. Once my dye bath is ready, I move the pan into the sink and turn on the water…
To get the most even color possible, I soak the dress in plain water first. Since this time I was dyeing all the way to the top, I pushed the whole thing into the pan, removed it right away and rinsed it out until the water ran clear.
For the hem, I soaked it for a few minutes while I rinsed out the top completely. Once I had the right gradient, I rinsed the entire thing until the water was absolutely clear. Afterwards, I washed it on hot in the machine.
With this particular color of dye, the darkest I could get it wasn’t as dark as I would have hoped and I didn’t keep any of the top of the dress white, so the effect is a little more subdued than I would have liked. I think the dress is a little long, but it is also a little big… Maybe Alice will get a little more wear out of it next year?