Short Skirt and a Long (story about a dyed wool) Jacket!

Once upon a time I bought an ugly tan coat, and I transformed it into a beautiful red butterfly.20140321-115952.jpg

The definitive before photos.20140305-080357.jpg

I found this coat a few weeks ago at a Savers thrift store.   It was a pretty amazing trip.  My boyfriend came away with an awesome vintage jacket, a pendleton wool flannel cowboy shirt (I think I loved it even more than him.  I kept fawning over the beautiful wool and fantastic detailing…) and an antique camera worth a lot more than he paid for it. This was the first time I’d ever ventured into the coats section of Savers and let me tell you, it was FUCKING epic.  I also found a beautiful wool coat in black and white houndstooth with a little peter pan collar. So cute.  Anyway, this beauty is a cashmere and lambswool blend, and it fit perfectly.  My boyfriend tried to talk me out of on account of that ugly tan color. NONSENSE, I said.  I will dye it.

Weeeelllll I hadn’t dyed anything since my first and last box of green RIT back in high school. That time, I didn’t feel like wearing gloves.  My hands turned green.  I literally wore mittens at school for 3 days. BUT I knew it could only go uphill from there, so I went out and fetched myself a couple boxes of red red red.

Here’s how it all went:


The instructions are hidden on the inside of the box of dye.  I followed them mostly as written, with the only exception being that I did not use the amount of water recommended.  Rit calls for 3 gallons of water for each box of dye used, and one box only dies about a pound of fabric.  My coat was two pounds, so I planned to use 2 boxes but only had a 5 gallon pail in which to do the dying.  So, needless to say I wasn’t about to fit 6 gallons of water plus my large coat in a 5 gallon pail.  In the end I filled it up about 3/4 full with water and hoped for the best. I also used a couple of cups of vinegar, since apparently that helps the wool absorb the dye.


As you can see, the bucket was full full full, but with the aid of a giant spatula I kept it churning around in there for the 30 minutes the package called for.

I rinsed the dye out right there in the sink, which took about 20 minutes of non stop rinsing.  I must say with extreme pride that I managed to do the whole job without getting any dye on myself or anything else important.  Things have come along way since junior year….


Post rinse I laid it out on a towel to dry, turning it after the first night and putting a dry towel under it.  Unfortunately the lining and buttons did not take the dye very well, which was to be expected since the lining is polyester and the buttons were plastic.  I decided I could live with the pink lining, but the puke colored buttons would have to go, so I lopped them off and replaced them with some brand new bright red ones. Also the thread in the topstitching and button holes did not take the dye- so I went over it all with a red sharpie!  Creative solutions, people.

And I think it turned out pretty bangin!



And as promised in my last post, I GIFed it for you!


7 thoughts on “Short Skirt and a Long (story about a dyed wool) Jacket!”

  1. Amazing! I would have been too afraid that the coat would shrink (did you have to use hot water?) or felt, and that the coat and lining would shrink at different rates, leaving you with puckering issues, or that hidden stains would emerge, etc., etc. You are fearless! Hurrah!

    1. Ha, well I WAS a bit worried that those things might happen, but since I got it at the thrift store it wasn’t too much of a risk. I did have to use hot water, but I tried to just stir very slowly in the hopes of preventing felting, and it doesn’t seem to have shrunk at all.

  2. Beautiful colour! I wonder : does the colour hold perfectly or does it transfer a bit on scarf or clothes? This is the only reason why I am reluctant to dye clothes myself. Thanks for this post!

    1. So far i have not had trouble with transferring, though I thought I might because I have a white scarf- but so far so good. Even on a rainy day! The only place it DID transfer some color was on the towel I laid it out on to dry.

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