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I'm Kristy!
A graphic & web designer in sunny Florida. Simply put, I LOVE ALL THINGS CREATIVE. My 3Peppers are Crafts, Cooking, and Color... What are yours?

Adventures in Fabric Dyeing – Purple Onesies

Purple hand-dyed Onesies Tutorial - Adventures in Fabric Dyeing
This experiment was a first for me – I have never dyed fabric before.

Except for the occasional tie-dye at summer camp.

So, this is all new to me. I read about it from other people online, I read the package directions, I had a general idea what to do. It really wasn’t as difficult or messy as I thought it would be. I am happy with my results – other then the first wash, but I’ll get to that at the end of the post.

This go-round I dyed 4 onesies, a cut up old t-shirt and some lace elastic. On the onesies I was trying different types of embellishments and dyeing effects. One would be tie-dye, another ombre, the last 2 I dyed solid – one of which I added lace beforehand to see how that would look dyed.

dyeing fabric round

I cut the old tshirt up, The majority of it I cut into the first step of Old TShirt Yarn (before you pull it). Then I cut a bunch of 15inch segments from that – the strips I dyed ombre to make Old TShirt Rosettes out of for embellishment. The rest of the cut-up tshirt, including about 50% of the yarn, I dyed solid purple for ruffles and other projects later.

What you’ll need:

  • Rit Dye
  • Fabric (Clothing)
  • Plastic Gloves
  • A Bucket
  • Plastic sheeting (to protect the area you are dyeing in)
  • Salt (optional)
  • Rit Color Stay (optional)
  1. Prepare your area – cover anything that can be stained. Prepare your cloth – add embellishment you’d like prior to dyeing. Add your rubber bands to the pieces you’d like to tie-dye.
  2. Soak the cloth in warm water to help the dye soak in. I put my bucket in the stainless steel sink, and filled it right about the cloth level with hot water. I put just enough water in the bucket that the cloth could be mixed around freely. After soaking I removed the ones I wanted to dye ombre as well as the strips that would be ombre.
  3. I mixed the dye and salt in a separate container of hot water until both were completely dissolved. I then added the dye to the bucket with the cloth in it.
  4. I continuously mixed the clothing around in the bucket. For the ombre I let them hang off the edge of the bucket, sliding it further in to the water every 4-5 minutes. At the end I completely dunked the ombre pieces for a second, quickly pulling them out.
  5. Rinse each piece thoroughly starting with warm mater and moving to cold until you can no longer see dye running out of the cloth. I’m lucky I have a stainless steel sink, I’m not sure how I would have done this step otherwise.
  6. This step is optional, and I’m not sure what good it did. I them mixed Rit Color Stay with really warm water (I kept it on the stove on warm) and let the cloth soak in there for 20-30 minutes, continuously mixing, to help the colors set. At least that is what the package said. I’m honestly not sure what good this did if any.
  7. I then rinsed the cloth again and let them dry.

Once dry I added additional embellishments. Rosettes from the ombre strips to the ombre onesie, and ruffles to the neck and tush of the solid long-sleeve onesie. I absolutely adore how they came out. I wanted to see how well the Color Stay worked so I washed all the dyed fabric in the washing machine with a bright white wash cloth to see how much dye came off in the initial washing, and I was completely unimpressed – the washcloth turned a pretty vivid shade of purple.

washclothes with purple onesies

Questions for experienced Dye-ers: Is it normal for this amount of of dye to come off in the first washing, even with color stay? How long will dye continue to come off in washing? Are there any tricks or tips to prevent this?

Overall I am really trilled with my first adventure in dyeing and I can not wait to try it again. Please share your tips and tricks to the process if you have any, I would love to know more about it.





Purple hand-dyed Onesies Tutorial - Adventures in Fabric Dyeing



About Kristy

Hi! I'm Kristy! I'm a graphic & web designer working from home in sunny Florida. Simply put, I LOVE ALL THINGS CREATIVE. 3Peppers is my place to share my creations with you... My three peppers are crafts, cooking and color, what are yours?