The other day I was scrolling mindlessly through the Chronicle of the Horse forums as I sometimes do, and a particular topic caught my eye. It was a pic of a before and after dye job of a Kastel shirt. The process sounded easy enough, and linked to the website with the dye. Although I was mildly annoyed that shipping was more then the actual dye, $10 later I had completed my purchase. The dye arrived a few days later, and I set to work. Keep reading and I’ll outline the extremely simple process of DIY dyeing equestrian sunshirts!
I have this old school style Kastel sunshirt with the buttons, which I am pretty sure they don’t even make anymore. Although the base color is technically light grey, it has always just looked dingy to me. Since the collar was already light purple, I decided to stay in the purple color family. I wasn’t sure how well the dye would cover the light purple collar, so it felt like the safest option. The poster on COTH had linked to a specific Rit dye for synthetic fabrics, so I bought the same one in the color Royal Purple.
The instructions on the bottle were a bit vague. It basically said to bring a pot of water to almost a boil (didn’t mention how much water to use), then add a teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent and the dye. It didn’t say how MUCH of the dye to use, so I dumped it all in. I wanted a dark, rich purple, so I figured why not? Then it said to ‘cook’ it for 30-60 minutes. Again, since I wanted it dark purple I decided longer was better and set my timer for 60 minutes.
I immediately realized that I should have used a wooden paint stick versus one of my wooden cooking spoons, but oh wellllll. I stirred occasionally, but otherwise I mostly let it do it’s thing.
I definitely noticed the fabric getting darker in the initial few minutes, but otherwise it looked the same throughout the process. I kept my cook top heat on medium.
About 40 minutes in I realized I needed to get ready for my evening lesson so I decided it was good enough. The instructions said to rinse in the sink with warm water, and then transition to cold. Then it said to run through the washer with an old towel. It didn’t specify what water temp to use in the washer, or if you should use detergent. I decided on a small splash of detergent, and a cold wash cycle. I full expected the towel I washed it with to come out purple, or at least with purple blotches, but it actually didn’t. It did have the tiniest tinge of purple in a few areas, but you really had to look for them to even notice it at all. I let the shirt air dry over night, and am INCREDIBLY pleased with how it turned out!
The pictures are a perfect representation of the color. It’s a bright purple, and the dye appears to have taken evenly. You can’t tell the collar started out light purple for example. I wasn’t sure if the collar would end up darker then the rest of the shirt, but they match perfectly. I did notice that the stitching stayed pretty white, which I don’t mine. I think contrast stitching is pretty.
If you are nearby a craft store that is actually open you can get the dye for about $4.50, or you can pay $5.50 in shipping and buy it direct from the website. Not going to lie, I have a few other older Kastel shirts that I think I’m going to dye now. This was the easiest most fool-proof DIY dyeing project ever, and I’m super psyched about the results.
So what about you? Feeling inspired? What are you going to dye, and what color are you going to use?