A Cheap Dye Job

April 27, 2011

A favorite pair of jeans is like … a favorite pair of jeans.  Really, once you’ve broken in a pair that fits your backside to perfection, they really are an irreplaceable treasure.

I was switching out my winter and spring wardrobe the other day and pulled out my most favorite pair of summer capris I’ve ever owned.  Ever.  I confess I’ve even fallen asleep in them a few times, they’re that comfortable, and I don’t ever say that about denim.  I’m more of a lover of yoga pants, but these denim capris have the perfect amount of stretch and softness.  They are my favey faves. 

I’ve washed them a zillion times and they were showing it.  Everyone has their preference when it comes to the perfect shade of denim, but for me, these were way too faded to be worn out of the house.  These days as I creep closer to 40, I’m hopelessly devoted to dark wash, it’s just a little more slimming ay?

Meet my beloved crop denim jeans in their saddest state.

faded capri jeans before


Notice the excessively deep crouch lines.

faded jeans before


No, I did not say crotch, I said crouch.  I would never use the word crotch in a blog post, I’m too much of a lady.  I’ve earned these crouch lines cleaning up after kids and all those squats I do every day for the benefit of my gluteus maximus.  Actually that last part isn’t true, I can’t remember the last time I did a squat for the sake of exercise alone. 

I simply could never part with these jeans because they fit me so well, but mostly because this pair tells me two things I want to hear every single day of my life and it’s written right on the Jolt tag.  They are my daily affirmation.

“Live Your Own Dream, Follow Your Heart”


“You’re a size 5!”

live your dream affirmation


My scale begs to differ.

scale talking

Must be all that cheese

Scales are such Debbie Downers.


Anyway, in a desperate attempt to restore my beloved cropped denim pants, I bought this $2 dollar pack of Rit Dye. 

rit dye for jeans


According to the directions, there are several methods: stovetop, washing machine, or bucket. 


As an amateur, I was too chicken to put dark blue dye in my washer, or in a pot I cook with.  It was then that I had a Lucy moment.  Hey I’ll just use my husband’s car wash bucket, he’ll never know!  I’ll get rid of all the evidence before he comes home! 

I mixed up about 10 cups of boiling water and the dye powder, and then (biting my nails in trepidation) dipped my jeans into the mix. 

dunk in dye


Then I stirred and stirred and waited five whole minutes.  Then I couldn’t take it anymore, I could hear my jeans crying out to me to save them from the torture. 

stir dye mix


I pulled them out, and wrung the dye out as best as possible with my hands.

violet hands

Note to self: in the future, wear gloves to avoid Violet Beauregarde hands.

Second note to self: moisturize more often.

After rinsing the jeans till the water ran clear in my bathtub, then drying them in my dryer, I was pleased to discover I had a ‘new’ pair of jeans. 

before jeans


jeans after dye


I was shocked how the threads stayed mostly true to their color too, maybe because I left them in for only 5 minutes?  Anyone know?  I’m just amazed how these jeans came back to life with a cheap dye job.

*Reader update: it’s because the threads are synthetic.  Good to know!

new colored jeans


Most importantly, my daily affirmation remains, albeit a little muddied from the dye.

affirmation darker

“Live Your Own Dream, Follow Your Heart”


“You’re a size 5!”

Thank you beloved jeans, thank you.

How cool to have a new pair of old jeans that fits me to perfection!  And ones that can be worn out of the house and won’t embarrass my husband or children.

new dyed jeans


So now I just have this little problem called a full bucket of dye that I’m thinking shouldn’t be dumped down the drain or near where it could affect a water source (but then again, you can use this stuff in a washing machine).   

A big bucket of dye.  Sitting in my husband’s weekend carwash bucket.  That I sheepishly hid around the back corner of our house cause I’m worried about dumping it down the drain.* 

Come Saturday afternoon, this conversation will occur. 

carwash bucket

Oh wait, he reads my blog. 

I’m thinking the jig is up. 



* YAY, reader update: there is a safe way to dispose, thank you Sarah!


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