Crafty people of metafilter please help!!
August 16, 2017 7:53 PM   Subscribe

I bought these jeggings. The fit is great so i'm keeping them but I want to get rid of the "two tone" look. How do I make them one uniform shade of dark blue? Should I bleach them first? Or dye them as they are? The fabric is 64% Cotton, 34% Polyester, 2% Elastane.
posted by skjønn to Grab Bag (6 answers total)
I have some fabric dyeing experience, but am by no means an expert.

I hate to burst your bubble, but I suggest:
- buying a second set and remixing them in a front-back-match-swap (probably won't work unless you have two butts half the time)
- leaving them as-is and finding two-tone t-shirts to go with them
- buying wholly different jeggings (least stressful option)

Synthetic (polyester) and natural (cotton) fibers need different kinds of dyes and each dye will treat each existing color differently. Natural fibers can be done in a washing machine, but synthetics need ~30 minutes of stirring on a hot stove. Bleach will also treat each of the existing tones differently, and aggressive bleaching is likely to change the texture of the fabric (as will dyeing).

Best case scenario with basic home dyeing this kind of garment is that both tones will be somewhat darker, but still distinctly different. If you can live with that, I suggest doing a natural fiber dye (in RIT, Navy, or a mix of Denim and Navy), evaluating the results, then (if they're still unwearable) doing a pass with a synthetic dye.
posted by itesser at 8:18 PM on August 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

As I said in an earlier dye-related question, I've dyed a lot of fabric and most things turned out fine-to-lovely, but I don't think I've ever gotten exactly what I was going for. In other words, I'm also not an expert.

Seconding everything itesser said. And bleach isn't going to help at all. Based on my experience attempting to lift color from from too dark jeans with bleach many years ago, the results will be very blotchy. I suspect it's also hard on polyester and elastane.

I would go with different jeggings, e.g., they carry jeggings in blue/black by the same brand that look very much like the ones you linked to.
posted by she's not there at 9:19 PM on August 16, 2017

I would try to dye the whole thing the colour of the back half. Dylon machine dye could work fine, but you may need to do it more than once. Cross your fingers and good luck!
posted by london explorer girl at 2:45 AM on August 17, 2017

Any time I see a question about dye, I refer people to Dharma Trading Company. They are the best source of dyes and dye information I've found in many years of sewing and crafting. They carry actual indigo (aka what blue jeans are traditionally dyed with) as well as a wide variety of dyes for all sorts of fibers and the chemicals to make them work.

In my experience, this is the rule of thumb for dye: 1) it's almost always easier to just buy another one in the color you want 2) it never looks the way you think it will the first time 3) it can still be REALLY COOL. (Once I dyed a gross mushroom-brown silk I got on clearance with red and it came out a BEAUTIFUL berry color. But I didn't have any expectations - I just wanted "not brown.")

Read some information on the site. If you still want to try this, I would keep in mind that the part of the fibers that aren't cotton will take the dye differently, so you may end up with a heathered/mottled look or the color might just come out darker or lighter than you envision.

One possible idea, since the front of the jeggings are light and the back dark, would be to put some kind of non-porous barrier between the halves and *paint* the front half with dye until they match. This would keep you from potentially dyeing the whole thing two still different darker colors. Dharma carries products for dye-painting cottons.
posted by oblique red at 7:19 AM on August 17, 2017

I guess I've dyed a lot of stuff too, I realize when I read the AskMe questions. I've done batik, dyed a bunch of clothing, and dyed yarn for knitting.

The vital thing with dying is to know your fiber, and to know what kind of fibers the dye you choose will dye.

RIT dye colors cotton, linen, wool, silk and ramie as well as nylon. RIT requires very hot water which can ruin some fabrics or cause clothing to shrink.

Dylon is nice because it's a cold water dye but it's only for natural fibers.

The problem with the leggings is that they are three kinds of fibers, and with most dyes you use, you'll only dye one of the fibers. So it you went with Dylon and used a very dark color, you would probably get a speckled effect on the front panels, because the poly and elastane would stay lighter and they are blended in with the cotton fibers.

If you do want the fronts to be darker, fabric paint might be an option, similar to what oblique red says. It sits on top of the fibers, rather than trying to soak through, so you could get a more even coverage.
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:38 AM on August 17, 2017

You will run into so many problems, and the best you can hope for as an end result is that you will end up with two tones that are similar enough to make it look like part of your pants have faded badly and the other part hasn't. Do not do this.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:59 AM on August 21, 2017

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