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Back to black.... DIY style

There's pros and cons to having a partner/fiance/almost-husband that occasionally travels for work. 

The cons:
- no cuddles.
- the bed hogging cat has only one person to hassle. 
- harder to justify late night dashes to the Pancake Parlour for supper (hmmm - not done that in a while, must do soon!)
- no-one to reign one's self when still sewing at 11.30pm at night or reading sewing blogs on iPad at 12.30pm.

The pros:
- able to sew til all hours of the night without feeling guilty for abandoning beloved in another room.
- able to leave sewing set up all over house without similar feelings of guilt to above.
- able to spend an evening listening to Doris Day and re-dyeing old black clothes in laundry without fear of stressing your beloved that you will ruin his beautiful self-built laundry (probably should have had Amy Winehouse on instead of Doris).

I've a pair of great black jeans that I've been wearing to work for the last couple of years (they made many appearances in my work photos for MMM 13), and they are decidedly tired - you know that grey faded look that black denim gets? I also had 3 perfectly fitting black Witchery tanks, also similar vintage, worn to death and starting to look a little aged due to fading (but fabric-wise still 100%). After a little investigation on the web I decided there was no harm in trying to restore the mojo of my couture noir! I already had one packet of black dye, and bought a second after weighing my fabric. I didn't 100% follow the instructions - was more guided by them. Because my items were almost all cotton I was pretty confident I'd get good results. 

Black is really hard to photograph! But I've attempted some before and after shots.



Before - So tired, so grey
After - So fresh! So noir! 

Before - Tank on the left, new black wool Renfrew on the right for comparison


After - As before, tank on left, Renfrew on the right for comparison



The nitty gritty:
1 - put all clothing in machine for a quick express wash to get them wet (no detergent, they were already clean). I have a front loader with a 15 minute express cycle - perfect.
2 - Dissolved 2 x packets of black dye suitable for either sink or washing machine dyeing (one was liquid (RIT), one powder (Dylon)) directly into stainless steel sink in 500ml of the hottest tap water I could get, plus  whatever salt I had in the cupboard - probably ended up being about 100g. Then I added 12 more litres of hottest tap water. I had a wet rag on hand to wipe up any splashes and splatters as I made them. I was very very careful adding the water with a jug slowly to minimise splashing.
3 - Add in wet clothing and mix for 10-15 minutes with an old spatula, using gloves and an old long sleeve black jumper AND an apron.
4 - Set timer and came back to mix and stir every 15-20 minutes for nearly 2 hours - much longer than recommended on the packet (I figured I couldn't go too black!).
5 - Drained sink, rinsed as much as possible/until patience ran out, transfer to washing machine one piece at a time in a bucket, to reduce risk of splashing, and run through rinse cycle, then 3 x full wash cycles with detergent. My sink came up a treat - not a spot of dye after washing it out and giving it a very quick rub down. 
6 - Dry, test on white scrap of fabric for rub off - the dye apparently may continue to rub off for first few washes and it is recommended to wash dyed clothes separately for this reason for a few washes.
7 - Admire and pat oneself smugly on back for reviving your fave items!

I am super pleased with the outcome - a little time and fiddling, but worth it to extend the lifespan of some core wardrobe pieces. 

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