My sister got married last weekend, and as maid of homor, I was cursed with a Pepto-Bismol pink bridesmaid dress. It’s actually a nice dress, except that I hate the color, not being that much of a girly girl…so how can I reliably turn it another color? I assume it would work best as some other color in the pink/red family; something wine- or berry-colored would be ideal, but I’d even settle for fuschia rather than pastel pink.
The thing is 100% silk, and I spent rather a lot of money on it, so I’d rather have a pro do it, but haven’t found anyone local yet (apparently eeveryone and his brother will dye shoes, but not other articles of clothing). But if I do end up trying to dye it myself, any tips?
Pastel pink can be quite smart and un-Barbie - if dyeing turns out to be inadvisable for any reason, could the dress be tailored into something more businesslike? Eg that you could wear with a jacket as a smart work outfit/less prom-like?
You don’t have a location listed, but if you are in the CA silicon valley, please try De Luxe Dye Works Inc. 1488 N. Fourth St. San Jose, CA 95112 408-453-1054. They were recommended to me by friends who take their historical costuming a little too seriously when I needed some fabric dyed to match for my wedding dress. They did great work for not very much money.
Oh, I did buy it as a 2-piece, so I can tone it down by wearing them separately (with what, I have no idea). But it’s a rather shiny irridescent silk shantung, so it’s not something that lends itself well to a work environment. Maybe I’ll hem the skirt midcalf- or knee-length (it’s floor-length right now) and I can wear it to some other wedding or something…Pink is all well and good, but it’s just not my thing.
I would caution you against attempting it yourself, even with the excellent tutorials at Dharma Trading Co. While silk is pretty easy to dye and takes color well, you have no way of knowing what thread was used to sew the garment. If it was a polyester thread, no dye that you can safely use at home will color it the same color as the silk. You could very well end up with a lovely burgandy dress with Pepto-Bismol stitching.
While I’d be very surprised if no one in town does dying, I can’t seem to find anyone online either. I’d pick up the phone and call tailors and dressmakers in the area, or use the CA place and do it by mail. Or maybe call the CA place and see if they have any ideas or local contacts.
(I know with so much design and theater and textile work around here that SOMEONE has the equipment, but darned if I can Google it!)
If the dying thing doesn’t pan out, you might be able to salvage the dress if you know someone with sewing skills. Depending on the style and details of the dress, you could get a darker lace or netting that looks good with the pink peeking through, and make a sheath to layer over it. It would still have some pepto-bismolosity if you look at it up-close, but the overall brightness would be toned down quite a bit. Take it to a fabric store and hold different colors over the pink to see what looks good. This page shows the efforts of someone who sewed their own dress to get this effect.