Monday, June 30, 2014

Redying a Salvo Dress

I found this great tie-dyed maxi dress at the salvation army for $4. Someone had given up on this beauty because of bleach stains. I thought it would make a fun project for playing around with some Rit dye and a Rit redying kit I picked up at Walmart a while back.

Original dress with bleach stains in lower right.  
Newly dyed dress!

So, step one was to weigh the dress and see how much fabric I had as the Rit instructions are for pounds of fabric. This huge dress was actually only 1 pound of fabric.

Bleach stain
The Rit Dye Perfection Kit has color remover and dye fixative but no actual dye, so don't forget to buy some dye!
Rit Dye Perfection Kit with color remover.
I brought water to a boil on the stove and then poured it into the sink since I'm not sure what my large stock pot is made of and this work must be done in stainless.
I poured in measured amounts of water and marked the sink at 2 gal and 3 gal.
So, after using the color remover the dress was lighter, but not as light as I was hoping. The bleach stains were almost white but the rest of the dress was mostly light blue.

What to do... bleach! So at this point I decided to give bleaching the crap out of the dress a go. :) I hopped over to the Clorox website for tips on bleaching fabric and went to work. After bleaching the dress four or five times this is what I had:

Time to redye. I chose to go with a light blue because I wasn't really feeling purple and there's not much else to choose from when you're starting with a lilacish fabric.
I wanted to preserve the same (approximate) tie-dye pattern as the original dress. I bunched up the dress so that the white bands lined up and banded around these lines.
Then I just sink dyed the dress according to the directions on the dye.
Looking pretty cool!

In the past I've always been a bit disappointed with Rit dyes. They just never turn out as dark as I had hoped (and yes, I always follow the directions to a T). This time, however, with the dye fixative it turned out exactly as I had imagined.

The dress of course lightened a bit as it dried, and I love the result.

Worst case scenario for this dress was that I would be out $10-$15 in materials, best case I have a beautiful unique dress that I had a hand in creating. Looks like it turned out for the best!
Notes for next time:
I think bleaching first would possibly have worked better, but I'm sure it's dependent on original dye type and fabric type.

I wish the Rit kit came with more than one pouch of color remover. The stores near me don't sell it separate and I have enough fixative for more projects (yay!) but no more color remover (boo).

This actually took a long time. I was working on this dress while I made a batch of laundry soap and the laundry soap was done cooking before the dress was finished. I would either break this into two stages (bleach/color remover and redying) or give myself a good long time to work on this. It wasn't hard work, but since I started at around 9 pm and didn't finish until close to 1 am I was pretty exhausted. I am not really a night person.

Hope this post will inspire you to redo your own thrift store find. It can be a really rewarding process!


  1. Science and Art. And a beautiful end result...what a great project!!

    1. Thanks! I had a lot of fun with this one. :)