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Jan 6, 2015

Love the Shirt, Hate the Color!



It must be said.  This shirt, which I made the summer before last and which has all sorts of nicely executed details -- covered button placket, pleated pockets with flaps, and contrasting collar stand -- is not a flattering color.

I'll call the color café au lait.  I think it makes me look pale and ruddy, if both things are possible simultaneously.  I'm much more attuned today to the color choices I make, but I can't undo the past, can I?



Then there's this pleated shirt from just last year.  It's so pretty!  But this is another garment I don't feel good in because of the color(s).  (Orange -- eek!)



I've actually thought about dyeing the first shirt (denim blue, perhaps?).   As for the plaid, well, I'm not sure it's really dye-able without losing the plaid entirely.

My main issue with dyeing is that it makes a mess (I've done it before), and watching all that dye go down the drain makes me queasy.  Not that the rest of my wardrobe isn't dyed, I just don't have to watch it happen.

In other shirt-related news, I was ironing this white shirt (below) I made years ago and was reminded that a lot of my early projects didn't look so great close up or wore badly due to poor application of interfacing (among other things).  Awful.







Since I was in ironing mode, I decided to clean the inside of my iron for the first time in years.  It had started to leak now and then, which is something my Black & Decker Digital Advantage never did.  I always put filtered water in it but it spat out quite a bit of mineral residue, as you can see below.



Moving on, I picked up this vintage pattern on eBay yesterday (Butterick 6319, another "regulation" men's garment from the 1950's) and I plan to use it to make myself another classic white shirt.  I'm in a preppy, Mid-century frame of mind these days!



As far as my Vogue blazer goes, I've gotten as far as trimming all the (26!) pattern pieces and shortening the length of the front and back pieces 2" in preparation for a muslin.   I currently use straight pins to adjust pattern pieces, never tape, so I can make changes easily.  It's an old-time technique (I can't tell you how often I've found old pins in vintage patterns) I prefer.







And that's it!

In closing, have you ever dyed a completed project because you didn't like the color?   If so, is Rit the way to go or is there something better?

Could I dye that plaid shirt and still retain the plaid?  Your guidance is much appreciated.

Have a great day, everybody!

PS - I have no relationship with Rit, but I was impressed with their site.

57 comments:

  1. yay for color changes! Try iDye - it's easy to use and gives a better final result compared with Rit (imho).

    -karen

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  2. I am no expert, but I know that fiber content matter a lot with dye. Natural fibers like cotton, viscose/rayon, silk, linen dye well. While polyester does not. Keep in mind too that your thread might not end up the same color and depend on fiber content too.

    I think the plaid will be more subtle but visible if the dye hue is keep light or dying time not too long. As for choosing the dye color, remember that pigments add up:
    - Dying blue : blue>deeper/darker blue and orange>brown
    - Dying red : blue>violet and orange>more red
    etc

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    Replies
    1. I did tie dye a few times and used Dharma Trading dyes with vivid result. They also sell inexpensive silks (but only in white and black, to dye!)

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    2. Exactly what I was going to recommend. Everything you ever needed to know about dyeing, overdyeing, and the materials can be found on Dharma's site.

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  3. I doubt it's possible to entirely lose the plaid, even in a dark dye. Toss 'em both in some blue dye and see how they turn out!

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  4. Could you take your shirts to a dyer? I expect there have to be such old-fashioned services still left around in Manhattan, no? Perhaps the plaid could benefit from something like tea-dyeing, which might allow some of the pattern to survive.

    I feel you on the interfacing issue - I had an evening suit made while we were living out in the Sandlands, and our normally reliable guy made a mess of the poor garment's innards - you can just about get one wearing out of it before it has to be re-pressed - the whole jacket front looks more or less like the pictured cuff.

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  5. iDye is a great brand readily available I've used for many projects. They have two lines-one for natural fabrics and one for polyesters and such. I've used both (sometimes at once for blends) with great success. Dye that shirt!

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  6. Will a light brown shirt take blue dye well or will you wind up with a strange dirty blue color? I like the second shirt and think you look just fine in it, raised eyebrow and all. :)

    This dyed-in-the-wool mid-century guy thinks your projects are lookin' swell!

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  7. I've turned white cotton things into a tan sepia tone using coffee. It's natural and lasts a pretty long time, and then you can re-do it as needed. Make some really strong coffee and put the thing in there and let it sit for awhile. Stir it around every now and then to make sure it's even. Then you have to wash it several times but at least it just smells like coffee instead of chemicals. You may be able to tone down that plaid using that technique.

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  8. I dye alot. I use dye from Dharma, and add a little soda ash fixer. One technique that's fun and less messy: stuff the shirt into a good quality gallon size ziplock with a teaspoon or so of the powder dye and teaspoon of fixer. MAKE SURE ITS CLOSED and shake and tap it to distribute. Then add water enough to still be able to close....then let it sit for a few hours or overnight...turn if you remember. It will be a swirled mixed color.

    I like to use like denim or blueberry and then a touch of black, because black is a mix of many colors and sometimes the flecks come out which is interesting. This solves the problem of sometimes the dye being uneven, because it's meant to be uneven.

    A trick I do to rinse is I use my big gardening, watering can...fill it with water and just dump the contents of the bag into the watering can...swoosh it around and dump the water out outside. I don't think you could sneak that into a curb drain though in NYC.

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  9. I used Dylon to dye a samue (japanese work kimono) that I made for my son. It was 100% cotton, very small black and white check fabric. It was really hard on the eyes to look at like it, like an optical illusion. Anyway, when the garment dried the white check part came out a light blue. Not what I expected but a lot easier on the eyes.

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  10. Maybe the shirts would suit Michael?

    Spud

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  11. You should iron all those pattern pieces to interfacing. The lightest cheapest iron on you can find. Then you can pin to your hearts content and they won't rip.

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  12. I've used Dylon. Pretty easy to find, but it only dyes natural fibers.

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  13. Dyes scare me. Haven't done it in years. I'd probably just pair these shirts up with sweaters and jackets that will hide some of the fabric.

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  14. After all is said and done, are these shirts you will wear?

    Or will this be an exercise in salvaging what would be better off donated (and likely will be donated after hanging around in a different unhappy hue)?

    Cost-benefit time.

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  15. And for what it's worth, if you don't feel like using Rit, Dylon , iDye or Dharma products which are all good, you could try natural dyestiffs. Avocado pits give a lovely red/pink/coral depending on the pits and number of them to the weight of fabric. Black beans give a lovely soft denim-y blue.
    You've got nothing to lose so have some fun experimenting.
    Vancouver Barbara

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  16. I'm for dying both shirts. Both in the same blue pot. Just be sure to follow the instructions carefully and use the biggest pot you can get on the stove. Can't wait to see how they come out.

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  17. How does one clean an iron?

    I say dye both shirts!

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    Replies
    1. There's a self-cleaning function (a switch) that allows the iron to spit out anything clogging the steam holes (You have to hold it over a sink.).

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    2. I used to be able to buy steam iron cleaner in a small bottle. If not, heat up the iron, unplug, fill with white vinegar and let it sit overnight, plate down, in the kitchen sink. Flush well the next morning.

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    3. Use DISTILLED water in your iron. Filters don't take out minerals. Distilled water has nothing in it but H2O.

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  18. I've overdyed things with iDye. Won't do it again--in the overall scheme of things, it's a bit of a time waster. I say cut your losses and send the shirts on to a new home.

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  19. Claudine over dyes things all the time with some very original and interesting results. I have over dyed small checks and like the results. However, polyester thread will not dye so that's a consideration.

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  20. I have never dyed anything but there certainly is great info here in the comments. I think dyeing your cafe au laid shirt is an excellent idea. You went through all of the trouble to make it so dye it so you can feel happy wearing it.

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  21. Dyeing is beyond me. I'd just make it again! And I can't believe that your iron looks that good. Mine is truly a mess.

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  22. Yes, over dyeing is good. I prefer iDye for my vintage fabrics and garments. Just Do It!

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  23. Dharma trading is the dye to use, from what I've heard. I haven't tried it myself.

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  24. Rit Dye is a combination of 2 types of dye, it is not necessarily lightfast. I use Procion dyes from Dharma to dye fabric and some garments, but you need other chemicals with it (I dye outside). And you need to dedicate all pots and utensils to dyeing after you use them for dyeing once. It's great fun but messy. If your fabric has any polyester in it, that won't dye at all. Cotton, linen and rayon will dye nicely.

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  25. ProChem is closer to you than Dharma. Look for fiber reactive dyes (Procion MX) for cellulose fabrics. All it needs is some salt and soda ash fixer to make it permanent. The only problem you might have is dyeing the polyester sewing thread which will come out lighter. Much better than Rit dyes anyway because they are wash and light fast. Not so much going down the drain! Lots of info available on the website on how to use etc. There is a different class of dyes for wool and other animal fibers if you need them. They use salt and acid (vinegar) to set.

    Unless you dye a very dark colour you won't lose your plaid entirely. Just tone everything down.

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  26. I have dyed fabrics of all kinds, and am rarely upset with the results even when it comes out differently than expected. Rit is under appreciated imo and is certainly worth a try. Only problem is you should try to get the water as hot as possible for optimum results. Dharma is great for the variety of dyes as well as the directions they give. There was a place on Rivington St. that had a wonderful assortment of dyes for different fabrics, also worth a try. I have a dedicated space in my basement for all kinds of dyeing techniques if you ever want to head over to Jersey, we could have fun!

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  27. Remember your colour theory when overdying! If you really want to knock the orange down, then you need to use a shade from directly across the colour wheel - which would be blue. However that would give a muddy neutral. I'd be tempted to try something slightly greener, & use a less-than-full-strength mix.

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  28. Yup, those colours are Michael's palette. Given the difficulty of putting a blue base over a yellow base, which is only likely to end up a very olivey or dirty green, pehaps you should donate them to his wardrobe?

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  29. If your shirt is pure cotton, have you considered indigo ? You can gets kits for indigo vats but it's very messy . might be better to google around for someone running an indigo workshop in your area, which would eb good fun, and add another skill. Only thins is, as others have mentioned, if the thread you used to sew it is polyester then it will only dye a very pale blue- might be an interesting effect though

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  30. I agree with Louisa that ProChem is the place to go for us in the Northeast. Dyeing does not have to be a messy process at all. I use a large plastic storage tub set on a plastic drop cloth. Just keep in mind that fiber reactive dyes are industrial products, so protect yourself with gloves, mask and eye protection .

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  31. Shirt color problem easily solved, unbutton it to the third button, and put on a very intensely colored, smooth, quality t-shirt underneath. My personal vote would be a very deep red, and you'd be perfect! If you like to wear neckpieces, an ascot-like mini-scarf and/or leather man-jewelry could also take it up several notches!

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  32. Also - a great vest is a perfect way to send a drab shirt right into the background!

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  33. I'd say give the dye a go, if you are up for it. You seem like you enjoy sewing more than dyeing though, so in that case it might be more enjoyable for you to just give the shirts away and make some new ones.

    I think dyeing is kind of fun, and I've used Rit, Dharma, and natural dyes. By far my recent experience dyeing some silk for my daughter's vampire halloween costume with a dye from Dharma has worked the best and been the least messy and straightforward. Amazingly, nearly all the color in the bath ended up on the cloth, so it wasn't so disturbing to send the bath down the drain afterwards.

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  34. I'm eying this:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004W8RYF0/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

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  35. Depending on the fiber(s) dyeing would be a great option for those shirts. A nice brown overdyed on the plaid should still show the design but change the orange to a more suitable color. (I am afraid the blue would make it quite muddy.)
    As for the other one, hmm..... a red over it might be lovely.

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  36. (I don't have a reply option to your comment on my blog, but yes, you do! and I would love to see it)

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    Replies
    1. Every time I finish a project and have fabric scraps I say, "This would make a great dog coat!" Sigh....

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  37. I agree with Jean. Send the shirts to a new home. There is someone out there who would love the shirt and look good in it, probably a someone who cannot afford much.

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  38. An issue that I've had with fabric dye: very often the thread does not take the dye, or does not take the dye to the same degree as the fabric, so you're left with a top-stitching effect. I usually try to dye things a more flattering version of the unflattering color to minimize this (but of course this limits the number of things I can dye rather than give away). So I might dye an unflattering light brown with a terracotta dye, because terracotta looks good on me; or I might overdye an aqua shirt with a medium-light blue. When I have tried for substantial color changes, I have usually been unhappy with the result and not worn it much.

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  39. I've dyed with rit & salt and dylon colors in a hot water cycle in the water, followed by a hot cycle in the dryer to further set the color. I like to dye several pieces of clothing at one time to squeeze as much use as possible from the dye. Each kind of fabric takes dye differently. Kind of fun to see patterns and stripes or plaid overdyed. I like the element of surprise.

    I use navy blues, blacks, teals usually. Gives new life to the beige linens that would have me looking like a bowl of oatmeal.

    I try to look for or dye fabrics into colors that flatter. For me that means blues and grays that highlight the color of my eyes or darks that contrast with my pale skin.

    If you love the feel of a fabric in an unflattering shade try dyeing it before sewing it up to avoid future shrinkage.

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  40. As you love to sew, I would pass them on to someone who would appreciate them and make some lovely new ones in colours that suit you better. Jane

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  41. I usually kept the scraps from each sewing project. Sometimes the scrap is sizeable. I would check to see if I have a scrap large enough to do a dye test.

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  42. Don't forget to test dye the thread you used. You may end up with a garment that has contrasting stitching and that in itself may help decide not to dye the garment at all.

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  43. I've dyed a lot over the last... 30 years or so.

    My favorite dye is Dylon and then Simplicol. (What is easily available here....) And I use the dyes for the washing machine.

    Lazy I am.

    Cotton dyes usually well, synthtics less. So if your fabric is a blend then the result will be mixed also. Can be very attractive though. And if you use less dye or a lighter color you can influence the original color in the right direction (warm or cold) and the original pattern will remain visible.)

    Also... if you won't wear them that way... noting to loose, right?

    If you do not like the result you can toss it afterwards, but normally it's worth the risk. :)

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  44. peter i like all your vintage patterns, the men's jackets and shirts are classic and elegant.

    how do you find the sewing instructions compared with more modern sewing patterns or even your shirt construction techniques from your FIT class? Do you find vintage sewing instruction.. for example for the jacket, close to true bespoke tailoring techniques?

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    Replies
    1. Old instructions tend to be much more detailed and to rely more on hand-sewing techniques: there were no fusibles or home sergers back then. Many also instruct you to do buttonholes by hand.

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  45. I really like Jacquard dyes. They seem to hold up very well to washing and they have a ton of colors. I've used Rit too with good results. I'm very curious about the claim that they make that if you send them a Pantone color, they'll send you a dye formula. I have only ever dyed yardage--it's a gamble, but if you have fabric that you love minus the color, it's worth seeing if it's possible to change it with dye.

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  46. I just died a wool sweater using Procion Acid Dye. The colour is great and the sweater soaked up most of the dye -I could see the bottom of the pot thru' the water when I was done.
    I really would like to find an environmentally friendly dye tho'. I'm sure this wasn't.

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  47. Voting on the dye-it side—yes, it's always a gamble, but some of my favorite fabrics have been over-dyed plaids. They got darker and more subtle, and became useable. It's like glazing with paint or looking through tinted glasses; in fact if you can access some theatrical gels or other transparent colored plastics, including photo filters for subtle tint effects, you could get a sort of preview by holding them over your shirt. Since your plaid consists of opposite colors on the color wheel, you might consider dying with black/grey, or something other than blue or orange/brown (green? purple?), which would probably just dull the opposite color.

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  48. We must be on the same wave-length - I spent last weekend dying a bunch of cotton jersey!

    I have had varying degrees of success with RIT, and have never had the courage to dye anything I made (just RTW or yardage). And I would say that my most recent dying experience with Dharma products was, by far, the most successful. If you end up working with powdered dye, send it through a coffee filter or scrap of cloth after mixing with some water to make sure there are no random bits of alternate colors that end up marking the cloth. And make sure the garments are freshly laundered for even color.

    I think you should go for it!

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  49. Send your two shirts to someone who is strawberry blond or maybe auburn-haired. The colours seem to be leaning towards them.
    You are a winter! Jewel tones-strong-suit you. Do avoid wearing too much black near your face. Even though it's a colour for winter season wearers, it's hard on pale faces (I'm one too). I like colour and you like collars so tweak your collar colours to suit you.

    Skip the dye this time. Try dyeing a small project if that project requires it. Sometimes you have to acknowledge you are more of a sewer than a plan B "salvage this project" person and move along.
    You save scraps for dog coat projects? Perfect things to put in your designer storage pouch (CK) and mark the bag so you know the dogs will get new gear after you finish your new shirt.
    BTW, have you obtained Vogue Patterns peacoat pattern V9041 for men featured in their Oct/Nov 2014 issue? http://voguepatterns.mccall.com/v9041-products-48765.php?page_id=180

    In another forum I frequent on deals, some men want a retail peacoat for a certain pricepoint but they cannot find the colour/fabric/styling they want.

    Or maybe you have a peacoat and are so over it?

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