dyeing to dress her

i have a secret goal. secret because i am afraid it may be hard to accomplish so i am keeping it to myself. except, oh right, i suck at that and am now blogging about it.

i am going to try to make something for little girl every day until she is born.

so far i've done it. even if i don't keep the streak alive, just shooting for it will really help me out even if i only end up with a few items a week. see, not only am i having an oppositely sexed baby than my existing one, but she is also being born in the opposite season of her big brother. that not only means that the scads of clothes that we are have bought, inherited, been gifted for judah are boy-ish in design and color but also they may not be weather appropriate even when they are unisex in design.

i am not big on pink=girl and blue=boy, but i am also not dressing judah in ruffles and baby girl in football shirts just to buck traditional gender stereotypes. overall i just prefer bright bold colors for everybody! but i am kind of freaking out about starting essentially from scratch AGAIN as far as a wardrobe goes. that's not even factoring in the fact that girls of all ages tend to "need" more clothes than boys so we are probably going to need more than we even had with judah.

the whole idea of making stuff for her is to save money, so i didn't just want to go out and buy new clothes and craft on them. so being thrifty, the first thing i wanted to do was repurpose as many of judah's old clothes as possible and turn them into things for her. we got so very many hand me downs for the bug that lots of them were hardly worn. in addition, we had bunches of stained and faded old stuff of his that probably wouldn't have earned second life even if #2 had been a boy. so to spruce up the old stuff i picked out a bunch of light blue and white (or off-white after many uses), pulled on my big girl pants and decided to tackle dyeing!

dyeing is scary. it's permanent and tricky to do right and is kind of intimidating. but if you CAN do it right, think of how much new energy you can breath into boring old clothes. i used a tutorial i found on the MADE blog to guide me. she simplified the entire process and made it seem much less scary.

i had bought a bunch of bold colored dylon dyes back when i started my craft kick, but of course pink and purple weren't part of my selection back then, so i picked up 2 more packs of tulip brand powder dye.

i started this project on sunday night at 8 pm and had 7 batches (colors) to get done. this was poor planning, which is classically what i do, since every batch needs at least an hour to soak and ends with its own go in the washer and dryer i was setting myself up for a late night. so i got kind of sloppy and rushed for the sake of being done and going to bed. typical.

i had 2 bowls in the sink, 2 in jesse's bathtub and 3 in mine. it was crazy town

the pink and green batches (the red spot in the green one is a design that was screen printed onto a white onesie of judah's...it didn't take the dye and i planned to applique over it anyway)

about 3 hours, 4 loads of laundry, and a very tired pregnant back later here's what came out of the dryer:

rainbow brite

definitely had some hits and misses. the entire green batch was a miss. i realized the color was lighter than i thought but its so blah that i am gonna get a bolder color and do them over. i also learned that you need to dye things a darker color than they are to begin with. so even though the old pastel blue stuff seemed light, it didn't convert to pink as well as it did to purple. also i needed to put less items in the bowls (or get larger bowls/buckets) to achieve more even dyeing and avoid the veined tie-dye look that some of my stuff ended up with.

i am really happy how most of the stuff ended up and now have a bunch of bold, bright blank canvases to work from that cost me nothing!

the next night i used some felt that i had bought a long time ago and wanted to hand stitch a little design onto one of the purple onesies. i learned that hand stitching is not my strong suit and it turned out wonky, but i still love it because she will be in it and out-cute my mistakes.

that onesie was plain and pale faded yellow before. i love the way the purple came out on it and the fact that the polyester thread didn't absorb the dye so the contrast stitching is still there.

one day of her life dressed. tens of thousands to go.


  1. You never cease to amaze me!!! Those looks AWESOME! Can you wash them in regular baby detergent and everything? You are the coolest, girl, and my money saving queen :)

  2. way cute! I love them all!

  3. holy moly. you being pregnant with another kid has up my stalking. She is going to be dressed so darn cute!! I can't wait.

  4. TOTALLY amazing! way to go. i have been thinking this very week that i REALLY want to try dyeing, so i am so pumped that you went and did it first and can now coach me thru it. i, too, am intimidated by it. i haven't read all the way thru your post yet, b/c i was just so excited about it, i had to tell you IMMEDIATELY, but i can't wait to read and learn. you are SO smart to dye the little-boy-blue onesies of judah's. seriously. i don't think i would have thought of that. i think my fave one is the striped pinky-purpley one. and btw...they look soooo very "smitten mama", which is a total compliment! i wish you did a giveaway for longest comment. i'd totally win. maybe every time.

  5. I'm on Bob's computer and couldn't send my comment cause Erin was logged in...I didn't mean for the jibberish to be published! Just trying to get to where I could post. (You can erase all of this--just for your eyes!)

    The clothes are FANTASTIC!!! Awesome job!! You're amazing! How cool for your little girl to know you were thinking of her EVERY DAY and making something wonderful for her!! Love the colors..no easy job. What a trooper you are!

  6. You are freakin amazing! You are a modern Martha Stewart!!