Fabric Dying: Over-dying a Shirt to Change the Color

Recently I ordered a shirt online on Zulily.com. I was rushed with the limited time offer of a flash sale, and I didn’t fully think through my purchase. Ugh great deals online are so tempting! Thus, when my order arrived reality hit me, and I knew that the light brown shirt I ordered with entirely the wrong color for my complexion. There was no way I could wear a light brown shirt! But I liked the fit and wanted to keep the shirt…

I decided to try to dye the shirt– any color except brown would do. An easy hot water wash with some Rit Dye in ‘Scarlet’ later, I have a cute red shirt! This shirt is embellished and actually supposed to be hand wash only. I disregarded the washing instructions because I can’t spend half an hour or more stirring a pot to do a stove top dye. I only lost one bead in the washer, and I can sew that back on.

Custom dyed fabric shirt
Custom over dyed fabric shirt

This was my first time dying fabric. I have a front load washer, and I am happy to say that using the detergent dispenser and a hot water bleach wash after dying the shirt worked just fine. No lasting washer damage! I guess this whole process is technically over dying, since I was dying over a color.

I would love to dye a shirt to create a cute custom dip-dyed ombre effect, just like Wit and Whistle did. Adorable! I guess Procion MX dye is the dye to use for that because its good quality. It is supposed to fix more readily to the fabric so you have less risk of the dye running when you wash it. Maybe someday!

New fabric and patterns!

Linen clothes are supposed to help keep you cool in hot weather. I live in central Texas, so I’ve been wanting linen clothes for a while. I never seem to find any- at least not in my price range- so I decided to buy some fabric for cute spring and summer dresses. I didn’t like any of the linen at by local Hancocks, and fabric.com was having a sale, so I took advantage!

I got 4 linens (actually linen/rayon blends to reduce winkling), plus 15 yards of $1.95/yd shirting fabric for muslins, since my local fabric stores are constantly out of muslin. I’ve got big plans for some nice, cool linen dresses for summer! Really, I’m setting myself up for a fall because I have fabulous, unrealistic visions of me feeling like it’s 72 when its really 90+. Oh well, linen is still supposed to be great in hot weather, even if it isn’t magic. We had a mild winter, and already had a 88 degree day this past week- everyone is terrified over how hot the summer is going to be.

I am a bit worried about the linen fabric wrinkling, but Carolyn at Diary of a Sewing Fanatic recommends washing the fabric several times if you are making a more casual wash-and-wear outfit, and also underlining AND lining if you are really concerned about wrinkling. Also accepting some wrinkling with linen and matching the right fabric with the right garment design is important! Blends will help, but you should still expect some wrinkling. I am just going to dry-clean most of my fabrics before sewing them, since they are dry clean only.

Simplicity Sew Simple 2017

Linen/rayon blend blue and cream flowers
Linen/rayon blend blue and cream flowers
Simplicity Sew Simple 2017
Simplicity Sew Simple 2017


I am excited about this sort of Hawaiian looking fabric. I am going to use it to make Simplicity Sew Simple 2017. This dress will be my first! The pattern isn’t necessarily my favorite style- I usually need a good amount of waist definition and structure to look my best- but I am enough of a realist to know that I have to start out with easy patterns before I can make more difficult ones!

This might just end up being a house dress that I end up wearing on days when I am staying at home. Still, if I end up making something that I can wear at all, I’ll be happy and proud.

Very Easy Vogue V8645

Robert Kaufman hankerchief linen in lilac
Robert Kaufman hankerchief linen in lilac
Very Easy Vogue 8645
Very Easy Vogue 8645


I’m going to make this Very Easy Vogue pattern (V8645) in pale lavender. This dress might be pretty easy, since it doesn’t have waist definition. It’s fully lined, which will be a new experience for me. I hope everything goes okay..

I guess we will see!

Very Easy Vogue 8765

Vogue 8765
Vogue 8765
pink and black linen blend
pink and black linen blend


I’m using a pink and black linen blend for Very Easy Vogue 8765. The fabric picture isn’t that great, but the fabric is interesting. The warp and weft are different color
s- one is black, one is pink- making this fabric really fun. I’m going to make view B (the pencil skirt view). Very excited!

Butterick 5638

floral cream and sage
floral cream and sage
Butterick 5638
Butterick 5638


I’m going to make Butterick 5638 is this sage with cream flowers linen blend. It’s a bit ambitious because of the linear pattern, so i’m not going to try this pattern for a while. Looking forward to it, though! I have a pair of red heels that I haven’t gotten to wear yet that I think will go nicely with this dress.

Vogue 8380

Vogue 8380
Vogue 8380

That’s all the linen I bought. I do have one more pattern that I haven’t found a fabric for yet:

I’m not sure which view I’m going to make this in yet- I technically like view A (the scoop neck) more than view B, but I think view B might be more suited to my body type, since V-necks should be better for petite, top-heavy women. But, I’m not really loving the big-ish bow on view B, and not confident enough to change the patter (yet!)

One thing I love about Vogue is their helpful guide about what patterns are good for which types of figures- I wish everyone would copy them and do this.

Anyway, I’m still waiting to find an affordable linen fabric that I love for Vogue 8380. I might possibly go with this fabric.com fabric:

Sunshine linen blend bellflower yellow
Sunshine linen blend bellflower yellow

This is a different fabric for me, since I don’t usually wear yellow. I’ve got enough fabric and projects to keep me busy for a while now, so if it goes on super sale I’ll get some. If not, I’ll get a different fabric.

Beyond that, I’ve been working on some projects. I was pretty busy there for a while, but I finally finished Simplicity It’s So Easy 2117, which is a pencil skirt, and am almost done with Simplicity It’s So Easy 2136, which is a fleece jacket. I’ll post about them soon.

New Fabric

New Blue Rayon or Polyester Fabric
New Blue Rayon or Polyester Fabric

In anticipation sewing of sewing the Sew Simple Simplicity 1989 Dress again (this time as a full dress) and sewing the Simplicity 2418 Its So Easy shirt, I bought some new fabric. The main thing about these fabrics is that they are thin and not natural, which is a departure from my regular quilting cotton. I believe these are both rayon (or polyester?), although they have different textures. The bright blue is smooth, rather like a fake silk crepe (I guess?). The light blue is semi sheer and has a nubby texture.

I bought new sewing needles in a smaller size so I can deal with these thinner fabrics. In any case, at least these were on clearance in case my projects get horribly mangled.  They were $3 a yard from the local fabric store.  I like this fabric store because they carry lots of apparel fabric, including cottons and silks.  Of course I am sure I will use lots of synthetic fabric, but I think it will be good to have some natural fiber fashion fabric when the time comes that I am more confident in sewing clothes.  Here’s hoping…

New Fabric: Lisette Cotton Prints from JoAnn

In anticipation of successfully sewing a shortened shirt version of Simplicity 1989 Pull-Over dress and a smaller pair of Simplicity 1971 Pajama Pants, I bought some new apparel fabric from JoAnn.

cotton sateen floral print fabric
Floral Print Cotton Sateen Fabric by LIsette

I wanted to get soft, comfortable, natural fabrics… I am not sure why all the fashion fabric has to be made of polyester? I am sure polyester can be good for some projects, but on the whole I prefer fabrics that can actually breathe. Oh well I am sure my stubborn opinion will change as I learn to sew different projects. You can’t make everything out of silk.

Nevertheless, I was lucky enough today to find two 100% cotton fabric prints that will be good for pajamas and a casual shirt. JoAnnshas a large selection of quilting cottons to choose from, but many of them seemed a bit stiff and scratchy for what I was looking for.

Lisette Print Fabric
New Fabrics for Future Failed Sewing Projects

I found a couple of cotton prints by Lisette fabric that were comfortable. Cindy of Siestas and Sewing bought some Lisette fabric that looks great. I envy her Lisette passport dress.

I got a nice pink floral for my pajama pants.

Little Lisette Cotton Poplin
Lisette Fabric in "Watercolor" Print Cotton

The “Little Lisette Watercolor” is a cotton poplin. It’s actually the same print as my previous attempt to make pajama pants, except in a different color.

I also got a turquoise on brown/olive-y brown contrast floral print in cotton sateen for my Simplicity 1989 dress/shirt. It is not listed anymore on the Joann website, but it is still shown for information on the Lisette Fabric website. No matter what my shirt looks like, I will definitely wear it around the house. Even if I have to tape it to my body in bits and pieces, this will be a successful project.

Both of these fabrics were on sale at 50% off. I hope it’s not a complete waste of money. I will never know unless I try.