Wednesday, July 18, 2012

DIY Blues: Closet Your Inner Shopaholic

The title makes it sound like this is a gloomy entry, but stay calm and read on.

There's one place I shop that's even cheaper than the thrift store. And by cheaper I mean free. It's my own closet. It makes me feel like a bit of a hoarder to admit it, but there are plenty of clothes in my closet that I forget about or that I don't wear very often. So sometimes when I get the urge to shop, instead of heading for the thrift store, I head to my own bedroom.

Last time I did this I pulled out these three items:

From left to right:

A cream colored lace dress that my sister sent me as an out-of-the-blue gift. Lace is really in right now, and as much as I like the antiquey hue, I've only worn it once.

An Eileen Fisher sweater that was also a gift a few years ago. I wear this one all the time during the winter to stay warm around the house, but I can't shake the feeling that the off-white color is dingy.

Lastly, a Ralph Lauren cotton robe that my mother gave me. I actually wear this one all the time, but it had an encounter with a red shirt or something in the washer and now it has this weird pink stain.

Those of you who have read my blog a few times might have a guess where this is going. Yes, it's back to my DIY standby, Rit dye. I chose Rit's new color, Evening Blue, in the hopes that it would look just like it's name. I'm picturing warm summer evenings strolling with my sweetie.

I used Rit's washing machine dyeing method again. Click here for instructions and here for my experience with this method.

Let's start with the garment I was most nervous about altering: the brand new lace dress. Here's a reminder of what it looked like before.

And here's the dress in new blue.

From my previous dyeing experiences I know that fabric blends that are all (or mostly) synthetic will not pick up Rit dye as well as natural fibers like cotton or linen. Look closely in the after shot of the dress and you can see that the white material under the lace stayed much paler than the lace itself. The contrast doesn't bother me, but it does sort of give the dress away as a DIY job.

This same issue had a very nice effect on the robe. Before, the robe was all white, including the ribbon through the eyelets.

After, everything is the same tone of evening blue but the ribbon is still almost white. The stitching revealed itself to be synthetic too. I like the contrast because it brings out details in the robe that were not as prominent before (like the huge Lauren logo). And yes, the pink stain is gone.

Finally the sweater. Here's a reminder of what it looked like before.

Eileen Fisher uses a lot of natural material, hence the sweater's "virgin cotton" coloring. But honestly, this color reminds me of an old sock.

But now...

...I have a nice comfy sweater that matches my eyes.

(Funny thing about blogging is you want to make everything look as idealized as possible. But I'll let you in on a behind-the-scenes secret. I look quite relaxed wearing this sweater over my jeans, sitting in a shady part of the yard. In reality, it was about 90 degrees even in the shade. I'm burning up in this photo.)

That's my best advice for dousing the shopaholic fire without even leaving the house (or shopping online): throw some DIY on it. Chances are you'll find something you forgot you loved, and give it some new life.


  1. Now i want to dye my Eileen Fisher sweater! Not the same shade though (twin faux pas). Any suggestions?

    1. Maybe a dark wine color. There a few good options on Rit's Color Formula Guide.

  2. Wow! I really love how these turned out! That is a great shade of blue! I love dying stuff!

    Lindsey Turner