I really loved my wedding dress. It was pretty, it was simple, and it was formal enough to match the husband's tux without being a giant terrifying pile of icing. Getting it was incredibly simple: I'd looked at it for weeks online before my mother and I had a chance to get to a David's Bridal. We sat down with the saleslady there, and she asked "What kind of dress are you looking for?"
"Style number WG3313," I said.
Her jaw dropped. "You... know the number?"
So she went to find the dress, came back with the two sizes the store had in stock, and had me try one on. It fit absolutely perfectly, no alterations needed. And Bam! I had a wedding dress!
But after the wedding was over, the dress no longer had a purpose. I was a little bummed that I only got to wear this awesome dress for one day, so decided to DYE MY WEDDING DRESS. I was inspired by Sherry over at the Young House Love blog, who dyed her wedding dress an awesome gunmetal gray color. I was also aware of the fact that she'd wanted to dye it black; I was prepared before I even began for things not to turn out as I'd expected.
Here is the extent of my experience with dyeing prior to this: once, when I was Prop Master of a play in high school, I dyed a pair of white cotton gloves yellow. Which is to say, I have almost no experience dyeing things. I was originally planning to use Rit dye, just because that was the only brand I knew, but our local art store didn't carry it. I ended up going with iDye, which had the advantage of having colors for both natural and manmade fibers. (Rit is only for natural fibers.) The top layer of my dress is 52% polyester and 48% rayon. Almost all of the other layers were 100% polyester. Rit was probably not going to work. iDye recommends that for blended fabric, one should combine the normal dye with a complementary color of their "poly" dyes. I got Crimson and Red.
For polyester, you're supposed to boil the clothes in the dye for 30-60 minutes. My dress was much too big for even our largest stock pot, so instead I boiled loads of water over the stove and poured it into a storage container in our bath tub. I then added the dye, and THEN THE DRESS.
This American Life. After 45 minutes, I couldn't take it anymore, so next came the final, and for me, the hardest step: rinsing the dress. You rinse the dress over and over in cold water until the water runs clear. This. Took. FOREVER. That dress held a lot of dye, let me tell you. Then I put the dress on the fire escape to dry.
While it dried I scrubbed and scrubbed the bathtub, because it had turned hideously pink.
But then, by dinner time, it was dry. AND LOOK:
I love it! Mind you, I had expected a crimson/red dress, and this is sorta mauve with cherry red accents. And the dress was "Dry Clean Only," which all sources say not to dye... and definitely not to soak in boiling water. As a result, the heat shrunk the cloth on either side of the zipper, so the bodice shrunk by about about 1/2 an inch... which sounds negligible, except the dress had fit me PERFECTLY before. I had to wear it around the house for a couple hours breathing really deeply to stretch it back out. But it fits fine now, and above all, I think it looks great!
The color looks a little washed out from the flash in this one, but you can see the sash better. And if you look at the bottom right hem, you can see that the layer of crinoline turned cherry red!