Keeping Up with the Stewart’s

Or Stewart.  As in Martha Stewart.  The other day I was in the waiting room while my husband filled out papers for his upcoming ankle surgery and I came across a how-to article on using dye to brighten plain t-shirts and pillow cases in an old issue of Martha Stewart.  While I’m not normally one to try crafts out of magazines, this one caught my eye because it seemed relatively easy and the results were cool (not exactly a word I usually associate with Martha Stewart).

I decided to try it to see if it was as easy as it seemed.  Here are the inspiration photos I tore out:

I started out with a pillow case and a couple of t-shirts:

The directions were pretty simple:

1) Wash the fabric

2) Fill a plastic bin with hot water and stir in the dye*

*The dye I chose required a 1/4 cup of salt which the article didn’t mention, plus the lady in the photo is wearing a red and white striped shirt which I don’t recommend unless you want a red, white and blue shirt when you’re done

3) Dip a sample strip in the water and if it’s too light, add more dye

4) Use clothing pins to mark how far you want to dip the item (You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out how deep you want to dip the item, so I suggest skipping this step unless you are a neurotic perfectionist)

5) Immerse the item until the color reaches the desired darkness

6) Rinse with water until the water runs clear and hang to dry

It’s that simple!  Here are the results of the four items I dyed:

The first shirt came out pretty well although it dried a lot lighter than I expected:

The second shirt was a total failure because I splashed the dyed water everywhere and had to dip the whole shirt:

The pillow case was by far the simplest to work with because of it’s shape, plus the material soaked up the dye easily and didn’t drip everywhere.  I think it has a really beachy vibe that will look good this summer.

Overall I was happy with the results, but I would suggest doing this project either outside or in the garage because it’s a lot messier than it seemed from the magazine spread.  I was hoping for a navy blue result like the ones in Martha Stewart, so next time I’ll be sure to buy a navy dye or pick up some black dye to mix with the blue to get a deeper result.  All in all it only took about an hour or so, which is less time than it took to write this post!