Dyeing Sun Damaged Denim

On a trip to London in August I paid pilgrimage to Liberty, whilst in there I found some dreamy merchant and mills denim and treated myself. I took it home and stashed it away in my sewing cupboard (note: the cupboard is dark and away from any direct light). However, a couple of weeks ago I got the fabric out and found it to be badly sun bleached. First I had a good cry, then I contacted liberty customer services who were amazing, they gave me a full refund and let me keep the damaged fabric.

I decided to save the fabric by dyeing it. I had a look at some of the Dylon colours that were available and couldn’t find one that I really liked. I then found Rit dye website, they have literally thousand of colours to choose from. You find the colour you want and then input the size of the item you’re dyeing and it gives you the exact fomulations.

I choose the colour bodacious from their selection of purples, its a lovely pinky lilac.

Dyeing the fabric

To get the best results I wanted to dye onto a even colour so following the instructions on their website I bought 2 boxes of colour remover, followed the instructions on the box and these are the results

I think it reduced the colour distortion, much better than it was, I could do a bleach bath but that can damage the fibres and I want this fabric for a special dress that I will we are for a long time.

The Dyeing Process

First if you’re dying indoors it’s very important to cover the area that you are dyeing in, I live in a small flat with no outside space so I had to do it on my kitchen floor. I protected the flooring with *plastic decorating sheets (don’t use fabric because splashes can soak through and stain.) I wore an apron and black clothes just incase of splashes, also very important rubber gloves!

*plastic decorating sheets are reused from when I decorated the flat and have kept them to use again.

First I mixed the dye in a metal jug, the steel doesn’t stain. I added 1 cup of salt to the main dye bath I’ll be dyeing the fabric in, then filled it up with hot water.

Once the dye was mixed I and added it to the dye bath I tested it with some kitchen roll to see the colour, I added a little more purple at this stage.

Before you put the fabric into the dye bath make sure you wet it, this will help the fabric to dye evenly.

Once its in the dye, get stirring, I stirred mine for 10 mins then let it sit in the bath for a further 10 mins.

On the website they then recommend you rinse the fabric with cold water, instead of doing this in the sink I just popped it straight into the washing machine on a cool wash with no detergent. I then gave it a full wash with detergent.

Heres the results…

I think the purple has turned out darker than I intended because I didn’t factor in the existing light blue colour of the denim and added extra purple. I absolutely love the shade I’ve got and think it works great with my skin tone.

The denim is for the Ellis dress by merchant and mills and I cant wait to sew it up.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!


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