I found what at one point had been a nifty white skirt with black polka-dots at a thrift store. However, the black dots were somewhat faded and the white was more of a light grimy gray. It fit pretty well though, so I decided to get it anyway and dye it some fun color.
I used my washing machine and let the fabric agitate in hot water for an hour. I stuck a yardstick under the lid to keep the washer from going into the spin cycle. The heavy duty cycle on my washer agitates for about 15 minutes, so I had to restart the washer four times before letting it go into the normal spin and rinse cycles. I then washed everything once more in cold water to rinse everything out really well.
The bottle said to use 1 cup of dye per two pounds of dry fabric. I wanted a lighter color, so I went with 1/2 cup of kelly green and 1/4 cup of denim dye. The results still turned out a little lighter than I wanted, but that's okay. Next time I'll add a lot of salt (for cotton fabric) to help set the dye better.
One thing to remember when dying clothes is that cotton picks up the dye much much easily than anything else. In the picture below you can see that the zipper is still white, and so is the white polyester thread.
And here's my nice new green skirt! I might hem it to knee length, but haven't decided for sure so I'll probably wear it once at this length before making any more changes.
Since it would be a shame to go to all that effort for just one skirt, I threw a lot of other test items in as well.
First up is a white cotton skirt that I never wore because, well, it was white.
I'm still not sure if I'm going to wear the skirt, but at least it's not bright white anymore.
Next up was a white polo shirt. If you haven't caught on, I don't tend to wear lots of white. I also already had another white polo, without the silly hot pink ribbon around the neckline. Even though it's on the inside, the pink ribbon was always visible and I didn't like how it made the polo look less dressy.
Once again, a lesson in what materials pick up dye and what materials don't. The pink ribbon appears to be cotton since it picked up a lot of the green-blue dye and turned navy, but the polyester thread used to stitch the ribbon to the neckline stayed hot pink.
I think I will actually wear the polo now!
The last thing I threw in the dye bath isn't wearable yet. It is a really cheap (as in cheaply-made fast fashion) skirt I got at a thrift store. I love the patchworkiness but the elastic at the top is totally shot and the lighter patches are see through, so it'll take some work to make it into a wearable skirt.
I tried to take a modeling picture showing how the waistband elastic is shot, but that's about the time Dr. Richard Pussycat Feynman became interested in what I was doing and the photo shoot had to end for the day.