Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I think I blue it

Here's the outfit.

Simple, functional office wear. Lightweight cotton jacket – Marketplace: Handwork of India; top – JCP; gray slacks – Lee; jewelry – Etsy.

Here are the shoes.

I (heart) Comfort, cloth, formerly black.

Here's the story.

I forgot I had these shoes. I bought them eight years ago when we first moved here and I started my office job. I needed to get some new clothes, cheap and quick, so I bought these in black.

When I found them again a couple of weeks ago I was thinking how I'd like to have a pair of blue shoes, suede or otherwise. Then the shoe fairy threw these in my face as if to say, "Use your imagination, sweetheart. You won't miss them if it doesn't work."

So I bought blue fabric paint and painted them. After taping off the faux leather trim and the soles, I decided that I'd leave the side panel black. I can always change it later.

Unfortunately, the tape pulled off some of the faux leather so I need to fix that – maybe I can make it look like faux blue leopard (as opposed to real blue leopard). Anyway, they're fixable.

Now here's where I really blue it. I decided to dye this jacket (photographed last summer), and I wanted a kind of denim color.

This is what I got.


The color is supposed to be Royal Blue. It's more like Five-day-old Bruise Blue. I was leery about using the washing machine, so I did it in our utility sink, and I probably didn't leave it in long enough because I got tired of standing in the garage stirring blue liquid with a bamboo cane. Wouldn't you?

The result is not unusable, especially if I swap the buttons. I could also add some layered ruffles to the collar and cuffs. 

But – I – do – not – like – the – color.

So, more dye? A vat of watered down fabric paint? Altered couture to the point of making it unrecognizable? What do you think?



  1. So, firstly - OMG! The shoes are super fun! And you are super brave and crafty to have done them yourself. I actually had a student of mine paint a pair of old flats in a Doctor Who theme (will feature them on my blog soonish) so I applaud your efforts on that score. I could never have done it.

    Secondly, that jacket. Yikes indeed. I'm gonna be blunt here and say that its current color will not do you any favors. Sadly, as I know nothing about repurposing or clothes crafting, I can offer little in the way of advice except to ask: did you have to keep stirring? Couldn't you just throw in the dye and leave it to soak overnight? Could you still do that? Like how I washed my daughter's fave white shirt with my fuchsia blazer, turning it pink, then soaked it overnight in Shout and got it back to white?

    Never mind. Don't listen to me. I ramble. Let's wait for other, wiser heads to prevail and weigh in. Maybe Sue will have ideas. I'll just be the cheerleading squad, yeah? ;p

    1. You're supposed to stir so it won't dye unevenly, but I probably could have left it after it had a thorough soaking. I might not have made a difference. I was surprised how much red there was in BLUE dye!

    2. That IS weird. I do love the blue buttons, though. And I wonder if you can find similar blue in lace to do the ruffle cuff and collar thing? If you do it large and deliberate, it could end up looking rather dandified and steampunk-esque?

  2. Try to dye it again. The shoes turned out so well perhaps the dying Gods are shining upon you. I'm a crazy dyer. Most things turn out a little differently than I expect...which can be interesting or tragic but I say go for it! Go Bluer. Blue Fondue!!!!

  3. To fix the blue job I'm sure you've thought of bleaching out your jacket and re-dying it. Or tie-dying with bleach or black? The shoes came out awesomely. I'd stick to my vision for one more go-round on the jacket before going Tarantino. Of course I think your big mistake was not chanting the magic spell while you were stirring the jacket in boiling water in the garage with a big cane.

  4. Oh gosh, I wish I could dispense a piece of stellar advice, Val, but, oddly enough, I am at this very moment trying to dye a few things purple by using royal blue! Hopefully the dye Gods are with me .... Let us know how it all turns out.

  5. Val--i dye a lot also and I think the shoes look great! Too bad about the jacket--altho it may be someone elses favorite color! Xoxo

  6. I have only ever re-dyed faded black garments, a few empty washes on the washing machine sorts it out afterward, sorry I can't offer anything useful, the jacket is too nice to leave though, I'm sure there will be some wonderful advice coming your way though - the shoes are excellent, I have never thought about dyeing shoes, they look brilliant x x x

  7. I admire your creativity and your ability to transform. I think the shoes look great! I have no advise to offer, as I have never dyed anything except the wedding dress from my first marriage (not a happy union). I dyed it red and wore it to a Halloween party. Oh the 70's!

  8. I was not very successful with dyeing, it's not as easy as we think - I tried to dye a black dress black who had bleach marks, well i think it was bleach marks and it didn't work -
    If you really like the jacket maybe you could have it done professionnaly?


  9. Do you know the fiber content of the jacket? If it's not 100% natural cotton, linen etc., it's not going to accept the dye as deeply. The good news is that your stirring kept the application even, although it's not even close to royal blue. {{Sigh}} If your heart's still in it, try another application of dye. I'm afraid to dye anything these days, but I did a lot of tie dye back in the day. And ombre t-shirts. Ah, the good 'ol days. Also, check out if there are any fiber arts stores in your hood...ask that cool lady that has the consignment store...{gak, I'm so bossy!}. I'm assuming you're using a Rit dye or other commercial dye, and perhaps a natural indigo dye would work better? Just a random thought...Love your shoes, and I don't notice any faux pas with the missing faux leather.

  10. What about some applications made of patterned fabric - flowers or butterflies or something like that - that make you forget the color. The blue may be a good backdrop.
    The jacket is cool, I like that style.

  11. Gak, my sweatshirt has turned out similar to your jacket!

  12. That is the problem with dye. It's really just a crap shoot. Like Sue mentioned the fabric will decide how much it wants to absorb. You could try dying it again but my bet is that it won't turn out the blue that you were hoping for. You'll still have a pinky looking blue in the end.

    On the bright side the shoes turned out great : )


  13. I've never dyed anything so I have no words of wisdom to offer, I'm afraid, other than trying to dye it again and leaving it stewing for longer...
    I actually don't hate that dusky pink colour, (Sheila Ephemera has a velvet jacket a similar shade and it looks so pretty with a floral blouse and frilly cuffs underneath but if it isn't what you want, then it won't do. Let us know what happens!
    Cool makeover on the shoes though - some you win, some you lose! xxx

  14. I think it really matters if the jacket is cotton. Polyester will reject the dye. Did you use Rit dye, I know there's vibrant textile dyes I used in textile arts classes that deposit more pigment but I can't remember the brand's name. Did you use super hot water? I'd try it again maybe double up on the amount of dye. Love this creative approach to changing clothing. Great job on the shoes!

    blue hue wonderland

    1. Ann, I think you're right on both counts. I did some reading on the Rit website, and I should have used two bottles of dye considering the weight of the jacket (which is cotton), and I should have added some boiling water from a kettle and not relied on the hot tap. Now I get to do it all again!

  15. Great job on your shoes! LOVE the result. I use my washer to dye all the time, and will clean up very easily ... some bleach and a full tub of water. That's my first suggestion, and and, depending on the fabric content, you can check online for dyes that work on synthetic fabric. Part of the problem may be the color of the garment. The yellow base will warm the blue that is supposed to result.
    If it were mine, I'd buy the deepest blue in the basic color I wanted, boil some pots of water on the stove and add it to as shallow and as hot a wash as my machine would allow. I'd add a cup of table salt and enough dye to do the job. Add the extra very hot water (most water heaters are not set hot enough for dyeing) and make sure it got the full 30 minutes of agitation ... this is assuming you're using Rit dye. Second and third dye baths sometimes make a difference. Like Ann says, though, polyester won't take the dye the same way cotton will.
    Good luck, and be ready to enjoy the jacket in the color that results! I love the idea of trim on it!

  16. Love the outfit--and you DIY shoes are adorable!!!
    I'm thinking try re-dying the jacket. double the amount of dye and leave it in longer. And if it doesn't work just alter iot to you hearts content--got nothing to lose!!

  17. Try Procion dye from The Dharma Trading Co. You can order it on line and it is much stronger. You may need to go with a very dark blue or purple shade and the stitching will not dye the same shade as the rest of the garment (it looks to be a synthetic blend from the photo.) Make sure your water is hot and you use plenty of salt and a strong dye fix.


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