About a week ago, I stumbled upon a blog post about ombre tights. It was love at first sight! I had to give it try, so I purchased 2 pairs of opaque tights from American Apparel (white and sangria). Through a series of trial and errors, I figured out how to achieve the ombre dye look on tights.
My goal was to have a clean gradient transition without any splatter marks or obvious gradient lines. I also wanted the gradient to fade to black. For the first dye job, I followed a video tutorial from the Martha Stewart Show on ombre dying (click here). This is a great video tutorial, however they dye cotton, where as I needed to dye a nylon blend. The end result was this...
Super cute, however my original intention was to have the gradient fade to black. Instead, the black dye only darkened the pink color. I believe part of the problem was that I used a RIT dye, which is better for cotton than nylon. Another possible reason for why it didn't take as well, could have been that I used hot water as opposed to the stove top method that uses boiling water. From what I now know, nylon needs to be really hot for the dye to take, which is why boiling water is recommended. So, back to the drawing board I went.
I decided to ask my facebook friends about dying nylon. Rebekah was kind enough to suggest iDye. I followed her suggestion and used 2 packets of iDye poly, which is for polyester and nylon. This worked amazingly well!
Here's how you ombre dye colored tights with iDye poly.
1) Purchase color opaque tights and 2 packets of iDye poly in black. As I already mentioned, I used American Apparel tights.
2) Decide where you want the color to end and the black to begin. Being as black is a slimming color, I felt it would look best with black going towards the thighs rather than a color. I wanted the color transition to begin around mid calf. You can either pin where you want the color transition to begin or you can eyeball the distance. I eyeballed it at about 9" from the toe seam of the tights.
3) Soak the tights in clear hot water to remove any finish on the tights. Let it sit there for about 5 minutes or so.
4) Follow instructions on dye packet for mixing dye over stove top.
5) Place tights in water waist first. Be sure not to dip the color portion of the tights into the dye mixture (see pic below). Lay the color portion over the pot and onto another pot. You don't want the tights to dangle over the pot, because it may catch fire, which would totally ruin the ombre look =)
6) After about 2 minutes of the dying process, gently pull about 1 - 2" of the tights out of the boiling water. This will help make the gradient less obvious. However, don't pull too much of the fabric out of the pot, because it will create a blotchy look (see mistakes to avoid pic below).
7) Once the dying process is completed, turn off the heat and let the fabric cool. Next, rinse the tights in cold water, making sure to not let the dye run onto the color part of the tights. It's ok if the color part gets wet and if the black blends with the color portion. You just don't want it to drip and run onto the color portion. I held the tights upright with the feet up, while rinsing the excess dye off.
8) With mild detergent, hand wash your tights. My washer has a hand wash cycle, which I used.
9) Dry your tights. This next tip is very important - Don't hang dry your tights! As your tights dry there will likely still be some excess dye leftover. If you hang dry them, the excess dye will make a lovely line down the tights as gravity pulls the excess water towards the ground. Trust me I know. No, I don't want to talk about it =(. You can lay the tights on a towel to dry.
Mistakes to avoid...
~ Don't lift too much of the tights out of the dye in step 6 or else it will look blotchy as shown below...
~ Don't hang dry or else you will have dye lines running down your tights.
That's about it! Be sure to share your ombre tight creations here.