My first dye job

Librarian for Life + Style | My first dye job

I have a confession to make. Since last spring, I’ve had two pairs of red ankle pants. That’s right, two. Why? Because one tragic spring day after a washing machine mishap, I discovered a series of black stains all over my original pair.

Librarian for Life + Style | Red pants stain patches

Not gonna lie, there were tears. So many tears that my husband called around the various Macy’s stores in the area, tracked down the very last pair of these ankle pants available in my size, put them on hold, and drove down to pick them up for me. So sweet! ♥

Librarian for Life + Style | The saga of the red pants collage

I then folded up the stained pair to store in the back of my closet shelves and told myself I would try to dye them later, once I got over the traumatic experience. I don’t think I’m able to adequately express how much these red ankle pants have helped my self-confidence and personal body image this past year. You have to have confidence to wear bright red pants!

I knew I loved the shape of these pants, which were my very first pair of ankle pants, so I figured that to try and salvage them in another color, I would only be out the price of some dye (and time). So earlier this month, I finally tackled that project by buying two bottles of black Rit dye.

Librarian for Life + Style | My first dye job

Librarian for Life + Style | My first dye job

I followed the instructions on the bottles (which you can also read online here), even pouring a cup of salt into the dye mixture before soaking the pants in the sink. I then stirred the pants for 25 minutes in the hot water and rinsed it in hot water, gradually lowering the temperature of the water until it was cold and rinsed clear. I then hung up the pants in the shower, placing a bucket underneath to hold drips.

The initial result? I knew it was a long shot that the red pants would be stained a true black. And indeed, they ended up a deep brownish burgundy instead, kind of like a blackened wine color — ooh, I found the word for the color, brandywine — which looks really interesting in person. The best part was that the stitching (and zipper) stayed red, which added a cool, tailored element. The color is consistent throughout — which I was worried about — and no signs of the offending stains.

Librarian for Life + Style | My first dye job results

I’m going to try these out as is, and see how I continue to like the color. I might try to dye them again and see if more black dye will deepen the color.

Question for readers:  Has anyone tried a second round of dye on an item of clothing? Is it worth even trying? Please leave a comment and let me know. Thanks in advance!

Link ups:  Friday Favorites Remix


12 thoughts on “My first dye job

  1. Katie

    The dye looks gorgeous. I LOVE that particular color! Just a little less purple than most of the maroon pants showing up, and the red stitching is really interesting. You should try a few outfits with them the way they are and see how well it works with your closet!

    I’ve only dyed clothing once, and that was to take a white shirt with some coffee stains and turn it into a beige/tan shirt with no more visible coffee stain, haha. In that case I just did a tea dye. I’d like to try an onion-skin dye, since I’ve heard that yields an incredibly rich mustard yellow.

  2. Catherine

    They look cool just as they are, but if you want them darker you could just go for another round of dye and let them soak overnight in the dye.
    I have a top that I want to dye because of a bleach spot. It was a thrift store find and I missed the bleach spot, but the top is really cool. Hopefully I’ll get inspired to dye them soon. I have the dye to do it.

    BTW: I grew up near the Brandywine area in PA.

  3. Gracey the Giant

    I love the new color and wouldn’t bother re-dying but in part that’s because I’m lazy and I don’t actually know how to dye anything. But, mostly it’s because they really are awesome as is and I think they’ll be perfect for fall.

  4. Erin @ Loop Looks

    You are braver than I am! Although, I suppose you had nothing left to lose by trying the dye. I wanted to dye my wedding dress but everything I read said don’t do it. Which means I have no advice for you! I wish I did, though. Because my wedding dress is gorgeous but has a huge stain on the front.

  5. Renee

    Hi Jen! I have dyed several things and love the way it turns out. I have done things a second time, usually trying to get them a different darker color… never done the same color again. But it might work, maybe leave the pants in the dye longer? Good luck!


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