A good friend asked me to dye this shirt for her, to try to freshen up its style. She knew I was doing lots of shibori dyeing and had the pots of dye going anyway. I dyed this silk shirt using Dharma Trading Company’s Indigo color of their Procion Fiber Reactive Dye. But wait, you say, that’s a dye for cotton and other cellulose fibers, not silk! True. But you can turn any fiber reactive dye into an acid dye for silk or wool by adding vinegar, which is what I did. (Ah! I found a note, I used 2 cups of vinegar to a bucket of dye that was probably two gallons. I didn’t need that much for one shirt, but this was a second use of the dye bucket, after having dyed cotton fabric with it.)
I dyed the shirt the first time and then noticed that the sweat stains did not dye. Who knew? Sweat stained areas will not accept dye. So I asked in an online forum how to effectively remove sweat stain. The answer was to combine Dawn dish soap with hydrogen peroxide, work that into the stained area, and then sprinkle that with baking soda. Here’s a tutorial with video.
It worked very well! On the downside, it also removed dye from the area where I’d cleaned! This meant I needed to dye the shirt again, but I’d run out of dye. It took me a while to re-order, but at long last, I re-ordered, and re-dyed the shirt. I’ll steam iron it and present it to my friend, but first, I put it on the grass for the “after” photo. You can see that the underarm area still has not taken up the dye as well as the rest of the shirt has, but hopefully this is subtle and the shirt is still wearable.
I definitely recommend using overdyeing as a way to freshen up your wardrobe, cover stains, or convert something to make it more your style.
As a bonus with this project, I learned a new cleaning trick!