How to transform a boring dress

Jorunn Hernes // August 1 // 8 Comments

The Perfect Summer Dress. Almost.

I found it on Etsy, and it's adorable. Just the right length, and has the coveted wrap style that gives the right diagonal line that is so me, according to the style analysis by Florentina Mossou. 

The fabric is pure linen, a favourite natural fibre that I love to wear.

The dress is so perfect, that I bought it in spite of it being in a not-so perfect colour.

The colour is lovely, a clear light blue, but it lacked a little of the intensity that I know is right for me, so that wearing it left me looking as forlorn as a woman in an Edward Hopper painting., even though inside, I really feel more like the women of Paul Gaugin in his Tahiti period, you know, aside from the fact that my skin is more of a Pillsbury Dough Boy kind of colour.

So the dress was lovely but bland:

Linen dress in pale blue

...and I was hankering for lovely and vibrant.

Dylon all-in-one fabric dye

The solution came in the form of a pod of fabric dye from Dylon!

Actually, I have the Bright Winter group of Facebook to thank for this tip. I saw several posts there from people who have transformed their clothes using Dylon machine wash dye.

So I picked Ocean Blue from the Dylon all-in-one fabric dye range and loaded my washer in breathless anticipation.

And what a difference it made!

Bright blue summer dress on a bright red bench

Dyeing clothes is a fabulous trick to tweak the colour to be more aligned with your Season. Keep a couple of things in mind, though:

1. it only works with 100% natural fibres like cotton, silk or linen.

2. The original colour if the item WILL affect the outcome. It works best if you work within the original colour family, like making my light blue dress a more intense blue, at least when you want to keep the colour pure.

This would work equally well if your aim is to tone down or darken the colour of a piece of clothing. Then, simply pick a darker colour in the same colour family, and remember that dyeing a smaller item will result in a darker, more intense result, so if you only want to darken or intensify the item slightly, stick an old sheet or something that you don't care about in with the item you are dyeing, to lessen the intensity of the dye job.

Other inspiration

My friend Karen had a bright white shirt dress that she really liked, but she always ended up taking it off when trying it on.

Something was off. She debated altering the collar taking away the lapels, we discussed different shoes she could wear with it. 

We don't have a picture of the dress before she dyed it, but it was a generic, pure white colour. 

Dylon fabric dye dark green

Eventually she decided to give it a new colour. She used a very small amount of Dylon fabric dye, Dark Green (around a tablespoon if I remember correctly), and voila!

Pale green shirt dress

The result was a lovely pale green.

Because the dress was bright, unadulterated white from before, the new green was a pale icy green, not pastel green, and that suits Karen just fine, since she's a Dark Winter.

Pale green shirt dress styled with blue denim shirt

I just love the way she styled it, with a blue denim shirt and brown/olive pants, and that casual crossbody bag.

I hope she'll get lots of use out of this dress now.

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