Not to worry - I'm obsessed with dye! At first, I wanted to use one of the dyes I'd already had success with, but I wanted to either dye this jacket olive or citron, and the brands I'd used previously didn't come in those shades, and I have big reservations about mixing my own colors. Enter: Jaquard iDye in chartreuse, which looked close enough to citron for me. Sour, yellow-green? Done. I also like that Jaquard offers special dyes formulated for polyester (but that's a whole 'nother post). Bonus? Since I don't have to mix colors, I only have to buy ONE packet of dye - savings, ahoy!
The directions are pretty standard: stove top method for vibrant color, enough water for the garment to move freely. However, I quickly deduced that my largest pot would not hold enough fabric and water to allow the jacket to move freely. D'oh.
Here's what I did to approximate the suggested conditions:
I filled my pot to the top with hot water from the tap, added the required salt and dye packet, then left the pot on the burner until it was just about to boil. I wet my jacket through with hot water from the tap.
When the water looked hot enough (steaming furiously, with bubbling sounds emanating from the bottom of the pot, near the heat source), I poured the dye bath into a plastic bin normally used when I wash my car at home (read: once a decade). I introduced my wet jacket to the dye bath, spreading the cloth out evenly.
The jacket's position was rotated constantly for 20 minutes, then once every 15 minutes for the next 45 minutes. Between rotations, I weighted down the fabric as much as possible to try and keep most of it in the dye at all times.
The instructions then said to wash with mild detergent. I live in an apartment with shared washing machines, so I was super scared of washing the jacket in there and ruining someone's clothes. Instead I washed in my tub with a finger of my usual detergent Finally, I wrung out and hung up the jacket to dry, making sure that the shoulder seams lined up to the edge of the hanger, as I didn't want the hanger to stretch out the jacket and distort its shape. That's what the pant hanger is all about: it's clamping the fabric in place so the seams don't slide down.
- The color is super vibrant, even though the dye bath was not constantly heated throughout the process - yeah!
- The color did not take as well on the thick seaming of the jacket. I have no idea why. It doesn't bother me - in fact, I pretty much love the effect - but it's good to note for the future.
- There are a couple small spots where the color turned out a bit blotchy. From the looks of it, I think extra dye must have settled there while the jacket was hanging to dry. It's possible that machine washing the excess dye out would have prevented this. Luckily, it's a very minor amount and not very noticeable on my rugged-to-begin-with jacket.