How to Revamp Your Wardrobe – Wrong Colour

Trinny loved the neckline on this t-shirt but the colour did not love her

Trinny loved the neckline on this t-shirt but the colour did not love her

Sometimes an unloved garment just needs a bit of a re-vamp to give it new life. Revamping your wardrobe is a great way to improve your cost-per-wear ratio.

Trinny says:

“I fell in love with the neckline of this t-shirt, so I completely ignored the fact that it’s ‘nude’ colour gave me the appearance of a person who may have spent the last fifteen months lying in a darkened hospital room. The result? I never wore it.”

A home dye job made the t-shirt is Trinny's new best friend

A home dye job made the t-shirt is Trinny’s new best friend

“A quick go through the washing machine with a bottle of Jacquard acid dye transformed my previously unworn top into a ravishing new best friend. I love the way this colour zings my eyes.”

Tell us about your adventures with dyeing your old favourites.

7 Comments

  • Reply August 2, 2013

    Renata Tayler

    I LOVE fabric dye and have been experimenting with it for a couple of years now using a ‘buy white and dye’ strategy so that I can get hard to find colours which I like and which also suit me but don’t appear to be on the colour palettes of the high street stores when I was looking. I have had success with Dylon dyes but they don’t do much in the way of mid tones. Their website says we can increase or decrease the intensity of the colour by using more of less dye but it was a bit vague to be practical. I did contact them through their website about a week ago but am still waiting for a reply ;-( For each pack of dye you usually add 7 litres of water and 4 tablespoons of salt so I wanted to know whether to just add more dye or add more salt and water as well as well as how to make a lighter colour.

    I read in one of the fashion mags that bone coloured trench coats are in this Winter in Australia but knew that colour doesn’t work for me any more than it does for Trinny’s top in the story above. I finally found an olive green trench but it was Camilla and Marc and around $300 for 100% cotton. I managed to find a bone coloured trench with 100% cotton outer and polyester lining for Au$10-20 in what we call an op shop (would that be a charity shop in UK?). I had only dyed white before but managed to make my budget find into a lovely olive green colour for a fraction of the price of the designer one. Before this winter, I didn’t even think trench coats would suit me since they are usually belted around the waist and I don’t have a waist. Seeing me in a belted dressing gown many years ago, my dad once told me that I looked like a ‘sack of potatoes’! Anyway, I had the good fortune of seeing someone on the train wearing a trench with the belt looped around the back and that style works for me, style dilemma resolved! I would love to know more about dying and to have a wider range of colours available….

    • Reply August 2, 2013

      Trinny and Susannah

      Amazing Renata. It sounds like you are becoming something of a dyeing Ninja! Please keep us up to date with your research, your successes – and your disasters. x

  • Reply August 6, 2013

    Renata

    Hmmm probably more disasters than successes. . . I was quite diligent and did the dyeing by hand in the laundry or kitchen sink. One time I was wearing a brand new floral, cotton, very retro looking dress I had picked up for a reasonable but not cheap price at Tree of Life, I started to dye a white pair of trousers and managed to splash some of the dyeing water onto me. I did try to wash it out immediately but there is still a faint remnant there and I can’t bleach it due to the print. The white trousers also appeared to be going a shade of teal that is hideously bright for me so I threw in some olive green dye, only to get patchy dyeing. That attempt was the Rit liquid dye. I tried soaking the trousers in the Vanish Napisan for whites in boiling water and leaving them out in our harsh sunlight for weeks but with no improvement. By then I was so over the pants I threw them out, next step would have been bathroom bleach.

    The other thing about fabric dyes is that they don’t work as well, if at all, on synthetics. I expected the tread to be synthetic and rightly predicted the colour wouldn’t change. That was fine though as I was happy to go with the top stitched look.

    PS We need to be able to attach photos. There is a Cue dress I am currently coveting as I love the neckline but it is that stone colour again. My next task is to e-mail Cue to find out if this cotton blend fabric is suitable for dyeing. I would rather pick the colour for myself than wait until Cue decides to release the style later in their choice of hue….

    • Reply August 23, 2013

      Trinny and Susannah

      Renata, we would love to see your pictures. Unfortunately WordPress doesn’t seem to currently allow uploading pictures in the comments. :( You can post them on our Facebook page. x

  • Reply August 23, 2013

    Lisa Allison

    Hi Trinny and Renata.. I have a question for both of you!
    Trinny the top you are wearing seems to have multiple shades in it.. teal and a more true blue. Is this an effect you created deliberately or is it because there are different fabric compositions in the layers of the top?

    Renata do you find the stitching remains the original colour? Every time I have tried dying (primarily cotton garments) myself I’ve found the stitching must have polyester in it so so it dyes lighter or doesn’t take on the colour at all.

    Thanks
    Lisa 😉

    • Reply August 23, 2013

      Trinny and Susannah

      Lisa, that effect was caused by the mixed fibres in the top taking up the dye differently. Completely accidental but I love it! Dyeing is a very hit-or-miss business and unfortunately polyester threads will always show up.
      If you have a garment that you really love and would not want to ruin it is worth taking it to a professional dyer for advice. But do experiment and get stuck in. Dyeing is fun! x

  • Reply October 23, 2013

    Renata

    Yes Lisa, the stitching, and often the zipper, generally doesn’t change colour as it is often a polyester blend thread and polyester and nylon need special dyes. If the garment is 100% cotton, including thread, trims and lining, it should all change colour.

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