I want to start by saying if you have never dyed fabric before, start small. Things like scarves or onesies or socks would be perfect. A slipcover for an oversized chair? Not such a good idea for the first-timer. Now, on with the story.
I scored this IKEA chair at a thrift shop for $50. YEA!
Nothing fancy but cheap, and since the whole thing was slipcovered I thought I could do something cool with fabric dye. I’d never dyed anything before but how hard could it be, right? (See where this is going, friends?)
When I got it home I decided I would dye it dark brown and then sew some colorful or patterned covers for the removable cushions. Here’s the disastrous result.
I don’t know if you can tell from the picture but it’s almost purple. Or maroon. CRAP. And see the big stain on the bottom? Double CRAP. I knew the stain was there but thought I washed it out before I dyed it. I was wrong. So I checked out ritdye.com and found out there’s this stuff called color-remover. YEA! Only problem is, most of the reviews said it only worked using the stove-top method. Which means I have to fit the whole slipcover in a pot, on top of my stove. CRAP.
Since I had nothing to lose at this point I decided I would use hot, hot water in my bathtub instead of boiling water on my stove-top. This is how it looked after the so-called color-remover.
CRAP. After my initial panic I went online (again) and found some people who had the same results after using the color remover. YEA! So now all I had to to was find the perfect color so I could salvage this project. CRAP.
After literally days of researching and agonizing and driving my family insane, I decided to go with a tealish-bluey-greenlike color. I created my own custom mix using 75% teal and 25% royal blue. (ritdye.com has a great Color Formula Guide if you’re trying to mix colors. I didn’t use any of their formulas but they did help me make my decision.)
After what seemed like forever in the washer, I opened the door to find a very, very green slip cover. CRAP. It was 1:00 in the morning and I was pissed so I left everything out to dry and went to bed. When I woke up I found the most perfect tealish-bluey-greenlike colored slipcover I had ever seen. YEA! Apparently my middle-of-the-night dye madness made me forget wet fabric is not necessarily the same color as dry fabric. (The first pic represents the truest color.)
The ugly stain is still there but I’m working on a creative solution to that. Also, the pattern on the back cushion is a couple fabric bands I made to dress up some throw pillows. I put them on to see how they looked and decided to keep them there. Poor naked pillows.
Here are some trial & error tips:
1. Start small! (See the first sentence of this post.)
2. Resist the temptation to put your newly dyed slipcover in the dryer. I know you’re in a hurry to see the finished product but shrinkage is BAD.
3. Do your research. Check blogs, google, ritdye.com – anywhere you can find information.
This was a challenging project but I’m really pleased with the way it turned out. Do you have a project you thought would kill you before you finished it? Please share. Misery loves company!