How to Dye a Linen Dress


Linen, a crisp, lightweight fabric, is perfect for summer pants, tops and sundresses. However, if you'd rather your white linen be bright red, mix up a pot of all-purpose dye, available in liquid or powder form. Linen is a plant fiber that absorbs dye readily when you heat the dyebath. By weighing the fabric and mixing your dye accordingly, you'll achieve a color similar to what's on the package. Give an old linen dress new life right in your kitchen.

Things You'll Need

  • Ounce scale
  • Rubber gloves
  • Heat-safe measuring cup
  • Liquid or powder all-purpose dye
  • Craft stick
  • Meat or candy thermometer
  • Large cooking pot
  • Table salt
  • Laundry detergent
  • Wooden spoon
  • White vinegar
  • Measure the dry dress to determine the amount of dye you'll need. For every pound of fabric, you'll need one box of powdered or one-half bottle of liquid dye. Double the amount of dye required for dark colors such as black, forest green or navy.

  • Put on rubber gloves and pour powdered dye into a heat-safe measuring cup. Slowly pour in 2 cups of very hot tap water. Stir the mixture with a wooden craft stick. Skip this step if using liquid dye.

  • Heat 3 gallons of water mixed with 1 cup of salt and 1 tablespoon of laundry detergent per pound of fabric in a large pot on the stove. Measure the temperature of the water with a meat or candy thermometer. When the temperature reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit, pour in the dye and stir the water with a wooden spoon.

  • Wet the dress in warm water and add it to the dyebath. Reduce the heat of the water to a simmer and allow the dress to remain in the pot for 30 minutes to one hour, stirring constantly.

  • Pour the dyebath, including the dress, into a sink and turn on the faucet. Wash the dye down the drain and rinse the dress until the water runs clear. This may take up to 10 minutes of continuous rinsing.

  • Soak the dress for 30 minutes in a sink of cool water with 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 tablespoon of laundry detergent. Rinse it well and hang it to dry.

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