Sep 13, 2009

How To: Dip Dye A Wool Skirt

I purchased this never been worn ivory pleated vintage wool skirt, and what do you think happens? 'Someone' spills a giant cup of coffee on it. I tried to soak it out with cold water, but a stain still remained. I decided a quick dip in a dye bath would fix my problem and leave me with a one of a kind item to wear this fall.

Step one: Get your item wet, this helps the dye take evenly.

Step two: Choose your colors and get your dye. I decided to mix up a red-violet shade, and also use black. Rit dye is a standard brand, available at jo-anns and michaels. I like the muted tones you get from Rit, but there is also dye for tie dying, that is much more vibrant. I won't explain the mixing instructions because those are available on whichever dye brand you choose. If you're familiar with your colorwheel, don't be afraid to mix colors!

Step three: I just eyeball this part, but you could tie off sections if you're worried about not being even. I used a somewhat deep tray and submerged the bottom half of the skirt into the red-violet shade. I let this soak for about 30 minutes, making sure all portions of the skirt were submerged so that the coloring would be even.

Step four: I took the skirt out and hung it up on the line to drip dry. Because I wanted to keep the top portion of my skirt the original ivory color, I couldn't just stick this in the wash to remove the excess purple dye. I hosed it off while it was on the line and squeezed the dye out until the water ran clear. After the bulk of water dripped out, I was ready for the next color.

Step five: Again, you could tie off sections, but I just submerged the bottom quarter of the skirt in a black dye bath, and let that sit for another 30 minutes. I then removed it and repeated step four until the water ran clear. I then let the skirt fully dry.

The result? No more coffee stains, and a fun skirt for fall. Its a very cheap project and can spruce up any plain skirt. The pleats need to be re-ironed, but I wanted to get the photos up.

(Stick some wooden beads in the leftover dye bath, the result after only a couple minutes was a very rich color)


  1. WOW! I love that whole Ombre look and now I might have the guts to try it! That looks fabulous.
    Lemondrop Vintage

  2. Congrats! Fantastic job and thanks for the tips

  3. Great idea to save an otherwise ruined skirt! Love the ombra effect created and the berry colors. I've found Rit works great with natural fibers but not with synthetics so your readers should keep that in mind. For example, if polyester thread was used it may still show up as white.

    XOXO Empress Jade Vintage

  4. Amazing transformation! I'm definitely going to try this. Thanks for sharing. :)

  5. Gorgeous! I love the color you achieved - the skirt is even nicer now. I used to do a lot of dying but somehow fell off the wagon...I think you've inspired me to hop back on.

  6. What a great makeover and rescue from the spill.

  7. I once got popcorn grease all over a favorite cotton dress. (Damn those paper popcorn sacks!) I had it tie-dyed to cover the stain, and I ended up liking the dyed version MUCH better.

    I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:
    (link will go live at 8:45pm CST)


  8. Your skirt came out super lovely! I really like the way the dye takes on the wool.
    Thanks for sharing the tutorial for us.

  9. Found a white linen skirt at Goodwill for a 1.50. Decided to try dyeing the middle 2/3rds yellow and the bottom 3rd gray. Not sure if they gray was the shade I wanted because of the material already being dyed yellow - kind of looks a funky green. Fun to try anyway.