Dyeing a Dita Cardigan

Did you clutch your pearls and scream “NO YOU CAN’T!” when you read that title? You’re not alone, but alas, it is true. Today we dye the much-coveted Dita Cardigan just in time for the spooky season. For those that have no idea what is going on, the Dita Von Teese cardigan, in collaboration with Wheels and Dollbaby, is the most sought after cardigan of all time and once sold out on the offical site, it can fetch quite a pretty penny online. It has been released in many different colourways and is very rarely released because Wheels and Dollbaby has closed up shop.

When Wheels and Dollbaby were still releasing the cardigan, they often asked what colourways people would like to see and they teased us with buttercup yellows and other lovely colours. However, I always hoped for a lovely orange. Why orange, no particular reason to be honest but I thought with the black embroidery, it would look lovely and perfect for Halloween so here we are. I found the cardigan way back in January for an absolute steal of a price and thought this would be a great little project. So it’s just me, a cardigan and a bunch of RIT orange dye. For those wondering about my dye choice, I chose the Rit DyeMore for Synthetics as it’s recommended for non-natural materials and the cardigan itself is 80% Viscose 18% Nylon 2% Elastane. What’s the worse that could happen?

This may not officially be part of my ‘testing vintage’ series but for those unaware, RIT dye have been around since 1918. Shortly before World War I, entrepreneur Charles Huffman began experimenting with fabric dyes for use in the home. His timing was fortuitous as America had just got cut off from Germany which was its primary source of dyes. Huffman named his new product Rit in honor of a friend, Louis L. Rittenhouse, who helped the new company financially and became its first vice president. The trademark, Rit, and the slogan “Never Say ‘Dye’… Say Rit!” was registered. Since then, it has been a staple dye in many house holds all over the world and the company is not campaigning to push a greater need to dye and re-make clothes as opposed to throwing out and replacing.

What We Need
Rit Apricot Orange DyeMore for Synthetics
One Dita Cardigan
Large Pot
Prayers

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Steps
I started by removing all the buttons from the cardigan. A few were missing so it gave me a chance to find replacements. I didn’t see a point to dyeing the buttons and being made from velvet, I wasn’t going to ruin them.

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Following the steps on the back of the dye bottle, I learnt that due to the complexity of dyeing synthetics, you must use Rit DyeMore with the stovetop method to maintain an almost boiling temperature for the duration of your dyeing. Accordingly: (1) you cannot use Rit DyeMore to dye anything that won’t fit into a pot on your stove and (2) you cannot use your washer because the machine won’t be able to achieve the water temperature needed for Rit DyeMore to penetrate the fabric. In learning this, I whipped out my large pot and chucked it on the stove.

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So I have to be honest and say that I think I used too much dye (my hand slipped whilst pouring) so after stiring the cardigan on the stove for 20 minutes, it came out a little darker than I originally had hoped.

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I gave the cardigan a quick wash in some napisan to try and lighten it up a bit which seemed to work really well. I ended up doing three Napisan soaks before I was happy with the final colour. I had to also keep in mind that the cardigan will dry a few shades lighter. 

IMG_0951The Napisan was a miracle worker and took the cardigan to my prefered shade of orange. After a final rinse I left it on a rack outside to dry. It didn’t take long to dry as it was a very warm day but I found that the fabric did feel a little dry so I might make sure to use a liberal amount of fabric softener next time it goes through the wash.

122016898_1055134424917935_8883103903227722727_nOnce it was dried, I re-attached all the buttons. As one of the front buttons was damaged (the velevet part had detached from the plastic under part), I used one of the wrist buttons and instead of four buttons per wrist, I only sewed on three. I don’t mind that and I know that one day I’ll find a similar button somewhere. After that, she was ready to be worn out and boy oh boy she did not disappoint.

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Results
I think I really love it! I’m not very confident with dying and I havn’t had much success with dying in the past but I’m so chuffed with this project. Sure it’s not the brightest orange but I’m quite happy with it and think it’s perfect for spooky season. This project has also taught me that Napisan can save the day and I really should measure everything out incase I slip and pour too much dye into the pot again. I’m really glad I gave this cardigan a new lease at life but it’s also exciting to know that no one else has an orange Dita Cardigan (so far).

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Miss MonMon wearing her dyed Dita Cardigan. Photo by Caitlyn Martin.

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Miss MonMon wearing her dyed Dita Cardigan. Photo by Caitlyn Martin.

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Miss MonMon wearing her dyed Dita Cardigan. Photo by Caitlyn Martin.

The Dita cardigan really is a beautiful garment; owning several of them, I make sure they are all looked after and looking their best for as long as possible. I was worried about the condition of this cardigan as it did have some stains which I couldn’t remove but the dying process has hidden most of them (there are two small smudges on the back still). Regardless, I love my new cardigan and I hope this post inspired you to dye something you are thinking of throwing out to help save it from land fill.

Let me know what you think of this project. It’s a little different from my normal ‘Witchy Wednesday’ but trust me, I was scared for the entire dying process and even more so when it came out more red than orange.

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Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely my own and not influenced in any way. There are no affiliate links and I do not benefit from any link clicks or purchases made. 

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