Where on earth did I find all of those matching green clothes for our St. Patrick’s Day photo shoot? Well, I didn’t! As I mentioned in that post, green can actually be a rather tricky color to find. But, not to fear; Rit Dye is here! They even have the perfect Celtic shade: Kelly Green! I found it at JoAnn Fabric and Craft.
Now, I normally do all my dyeing in the washing machine. However, the boys’ shirts I was dyeing were 55% cotton, 45% polyester. Synthetic materials don’t “take” dye as well, so I thought the added heat and constant stirring required for stove-top dyeing would produce more vibrant and more permanent color. I grabbed some tongs for grabbing and stirring the garments, and a plastic spinach container to rest them in when not in use. (Just in case the dye permanently colored a dish I actually care about!)
And, what exactly was I dyeing? Well, I had two dress shirts that I wanted to turn into vests for the boys to wear. I also had a darling, white top for Annika. They just needed to be green! Here’s Oliver’s shirt:
Here’s Elliott’s shirt. I was really lucky to find two shirt with the same fiber content! This would help them to turn out in an identical shade of green.
Here is Annika’s shirt. It was so sweet that I almost didn’t want to dye it!
However, once the water looked hot enough and the dye was mixed in, I gave these three garments a serious soaking in water before adding them to the dye pot!
The stove top dyeing directions advise you to constantly stir the fabric for 45 – 60 minutes. This is to ensure an even dye job, since the material likes to float to the surface. This hour-long interval gave the kids plenty of time to notice that I was doing something weird in the kitchen. I told them I was making “Leprechaun Soup”. Afterward, I realized that it looked like I was actually cooking Leprechauns, clothes and all. Oops! Poor kids. I hope I didn’t scar them for life!
After an hour, I carefully dumped the super hot dye water onto a bed of pebbles in our backyard. (I didn’t want to stain our white, enamel, kitchen sink!) Then, I used the tongs to pick up the scalding hot clothes and put them in the plastic spinach container for transport to the washing machine. I ran them through the rinse and drain cycle to remove excess dye. Then, I washed them in a normal cycle with cold water and vinegar to help set the color. As you can see, they turned out a lovely, vivid green!
Here are the dyed clothes in action! I will show you how I converted the boys’ shirts into their vests and also into accessories for the girls in upcoming posts!