Every once in a while you tweet something that gets a bit of attention. For me, today’s tweet was this simple frugal girl hack:
I promised a tutorial on how to do a quick dye job, but first, a story…
A few years back I switched to my black skinny jeans “uniform”. My reasons were easy:
- I hate shopping, specifically pants shopping. My waist is small compared to my derriere and therefore it is always hard to get a good fit. Either the butt is too tight or the waist is gaping. Then, about four years ago, I tried on my first pair of skinny jeans and all my problems were solved. I have been buying the same pair of jeans ever since. I don’t have to try them on – I just walk in, grab them, and walk out (but first I pay – I promise my stealing days are over!).
CrackBlack is not wack – it is awesome. Black jeans are the awesomest (it’s a word in my language). Especially if you have a black dog and can camouflage their fur with your wardrobe. 😉
- Simplifying. If you wear black jeans, almost ANY top will work with your wardrobe which makes getting dressed (and packing, for all you travelers) a breeze! #NoMoreDecisionFatigue
Since switching, I haven’t looked back. If you have met me in the past 4 years, the odds are great that I was wearing this outfit or something similar:
What can I say? When you find something that works, stick with it. 😉
Anywho, with all the pros that go along with this uniform, there are also a few cons:
- Black jeans can lose their color quickly (especially when you wear the same pair every day for months and months). All that washing takes a toll!
- Skinny jeans tend to lose their elastic after awhile.
- The best skinny jeans I have found (Gap Outlet Leggings) can be quite costly – $59.99. Of course, I never buy anything when there isn’t a sale, but even at sale prices, you’re looking at around $40ish per pair. I know that sounds cheap compared to some $150+ jean wearers, but I am no Rockefeller. 😉
I want my jeans cheap, skinny while also stretchy, and black as night. Is that too much to ask for?? But how to keep them that way with the cons list above? In past years, each time a pair of jeans lost its luster, I would push it to the back of the closet and go buy another pair. Not anymore. Let’s address the first problem – fading. Introducing my new best friend…
I have used Rit to dye my jeans once before. In fact, it was the very same 3 pairs of jeans I am about to dye in this tutorial. The first try was May 10th of this year, in honor of my then upcoming attendance at Camp Mustache, and I was quite pleased with the results. My favorite pair (yes, I can tell them apart) has lasted a good 5 months! Not bad for $3.
With FinCon just around the corner, it is the perfect time for a refresh. Though the technique is the same, this will be an experiment to see if these same 3 pairs will come out just as good the second time around… Fingers crossed!!
Here is a quick look at the directions according to Rit:
And now, my interpretation:
- Get a big pot on the stove and start heating your water – the hotter the better.
- While water is heating, soak the clothes you will be dying in the sink.
- Set up your dye station next to the stove. You will need:
- Tongs (2 sets if you have them)
- A bucket or large bag to transport dyed clothes to the sink without dripping everywhere
- Your dye, a dash of liquid soap, and a bunch of salt for your water – see back of bottle for details
You are all set to start your project…
- Add all ingredients to the hot water (not quite boiling, but close) and make sure they are properly stirred and dissolved. Turn off the stove.
- Slowly lower one pair of soaked jeans into the pot. Stir and stir and stir. 30 minutes is good, 60 minutes is better! Now is a great time to make dinner on the stove but only if you are careful not to drip dye into your dinner creation. 🙂
- Once the jeans are done “cooking”, carefully pull them out of the dye (let excess water runoff) and place them into your clean bucket. If you are doing another batch, turn the stove back on to make sure the water is nice and hot before putting the next pair in.
- Take hot, newly dyed jeans to the sink and rinse with cool water until the water runs clear (I don’t let it run clear completely – I let the wash at the end finish the dirty work).
- Repeat steps 2-4 for each pair of jeans.
Here is the process in pics:
Set aside and repeat if doing more than one batch. Once all jeans have been rinsed, throw them in the wash on the cold water setting. To dry, I alternate between hanging and using the dryer for my jeans so do what works best for you.
A few tips I learned from my second go around:
- Wear gloves. Especially if you are in the food services industry…trust me on this.
- Reheat the water between batches. I did this before but not to the extent I did this go around. The dye took much better on pairs 2 and 3 than last time.
- Um – read the directions thoroughly. I didn’t add salt or soap back in May. I don’t know what they do, but if Rit suggests it we should all just follow their advice. They are the experts, after all!
- Keep each batch in the water as long as possible. I slacked on pair 2 & 3 last time. That may be why they weren’t as dark…or was it the water temp?? Who knows. Try to be consistent and you will get consistent color.
- More is not always better but in this case, it is. More dye, less water. My pot this time around was smaller than the last. Guestimating, I used 2 gallons water to one bottle dye
- No matter how careful I am, at some point, I always splash. The dye water WILL stain everything it touches (except stainless steel which is why I like to use the stove method). Keep a bottle of concentrated bleach nearby to clean up your counters…especially if they are a fabulous leaf patterned laminate like this one:
So now for the true test. The jeans are out of the dryer and here are the results…
Did I trick you?? The middle ones are new, never used, never washed. I bought them as back up when I wasn’t sure if I could do a re-dye on my old pairs but, since I can (and did!), I will be returning them promptly in the morning. You may notice there is a slight difference in color/texture, but I can almost guarantee as soon as the new ones go through the wash, they will come out exactly the same. I’m just not willing to waste $44.16 to prove it to ya! 😉
You can also tell by the close up that my jeans are worn, but they aren’t loose by any means (I told you these Gap Outlet Leggings are the bomb!). Which brings me back to Con #2 from above. If you do happen upon your jeans being too loose or baggy and you have any kind of sewing skills, THIS tutorial by The DIY Adventures will most definitely come in handy. If you don’t sew, I am sure you can pay someone to do the pinning and sewing for you…of course, I am too cheap for that. 😉
Now that my jeans are back to black, my biggest worry is that the length of use will lead to a threadbare ass. After a few years use, I can see it is already starting, but I have high hopes I can make it through the rest of the year without incident. If not, I’ll just grab a tray and pretend any wardrobe malfunctions are on purpose…
And, if that doesn’t work, I will have to address Con #3 and give in to a costly replacement purchase. Doubtful… I really think the assless jeans could catch on! Don’t you??
That’s it from me! So what do you think? Are you ready to take the plunge and give some new life to an old pair of jeans?? If so, feel free to order some Rit from this well-placed affiliate link ( 😉 ) and let us know how it turns out!! Does anyone else have frugal clothes hacks to share? If so, feel free to share it in the comments below so we can all benefit!
Until next time…