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Change The Color Of Your Jeans?

samurai

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I have done a search on this, but find the question discussed only relating to shoes.

I like only very light colored jeans (for summer), or very dark (for winter.) When I have a pair of jeans that reaches that in-between shade of meduim blue I stop wanting to wear them. They just don't seem to make much of a statement (for my taste.)

Lately I have been experimenting with various ways of darkening my less expensive jeans to the dark inky indigo that I really enjoy wearing. I use Rit dye, but also dilutions of water soluble paint and even spray enamel to arrive at my ideal color and texture. Nothing too drastic, but enough to create my favorite "look." Of course I do not do this with high end jeans, and simply try to preserve the dark shade by wearing them less, washing them less and being careful with them.

A while back somebody said they thought such experiments were "ill advised." HOWEVER - Most of the manufacturers themselves, as we all know, do some very weird and bizarre things to their products - i.e. ripping and tearing, dunking in resins, scuffing, staining, spilling bleach etc. With this in mind, does it seem so wrong to take say a pair of $30.- jeans and change them to your liking?

Finally, does anybody else do this here?
 
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there's no harm in experimenting with $30 jeans
i have seen japanese blogs in which (expensive) jeans are dipped in tea so that it darkens the weft---the end result achieving the look of vintage levis
personally i just wouldn't think it is worth the effort
 

ken

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Originally Posted by denimdestroyedmylife
personally i just wouldn't think it is worth the effort

It isn't as labor intensive as it sounds. I've been dying some stuff for the past couple weeks, and I like what I'm seeing. I add dye to a bucket, fill it with hot tap water, put clothes in, stir for a few minutes, and let it sit for a couple hours. The hardest part is the clean up afterwards.

I got tired of thinking "Damn, that shirt retailed for $145 and it's on sale for $35 because the color is so pug-fugly. If only it was a little more subdued."
 

onion

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Today I was actually thinking about over-dying worn in jeans with another few coats of indigo. I'm not sure what the results would be, but I think it would be pretty cool, though it would really be up to the person dying the jeans to know when to stop for best results.. I would think they would darken up, but still stay a bit lighter in the faded area. Either way, I'd really like to do it sometime.... I just need to find an indigo dying factory that will dye my jeans a few times (which I bet would be difficult to impossible in itself).

As far as Rit dye is concerned, since it's permanent and will not fade well, I probably wouldn't use it on my jeans. I will say I had good results darkening, with Rit, a Marc by Marc Jacobs denim jacket that I later waxed.
 

ken

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I dipped my girlfriend in tea because I wanted to date a Mexican.
 

samurai

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The thing I have learned is that it is always a good idea to do less rather than more. Any process can be repeated as often as necessary to achieve a specific color.

The lighter areas do tend to stay lighter, relative to the rest of the jean, but even that can be altered somewhat to get a more monochrome look.

I know that this is probably not worth the time for many of us here. But for me it has turned into a kind of small hobby, and I get a lot of fun out of it...
 

Marcus Brody

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I plan to try this soon on a pair of old Levi's. We'll see how it goes. Like you say, what I look forward to is the experimental process. I don't expect to drop a pair of cheap jeans in some cheap dye and end up with something that looks like a pair of KMWs, but it should be fun to do.
 

hi-val

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Great! Some of the pictures apparently no longer load, but they're the nonessential ones.
 

Arethusa

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I have been wearing a pair of Earnest Sewn Fultons every day for a year and a half. I have dyed them repeatedly in green tea and oolong tea, and my last experiment was with a batch of kakishibu I ordered from Japan. Tea has a fairly subtle effect that comes through over time (the weft and worn threads take more of the dye); kakishibu is much more pronounced, though it depends on how you apply it.
 

samurai

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Last week I did the following - Went to the hardware store and had them mix me a can of the deepest blue-black I could find on their chart. Got it home and added a touch of red to bring out the indigo look a bit more. Mixed the paint with water, at the rate of about 4 tbsp. per gallon.

I took an old pair of medium blue Levis, and rubbed vaseline into the label on the back to keep it from absorbing. Dunked the jeans, stirred them around for a couple of minutes, hung them out. When they were no longer dripping I wrapped them in an old dark purple beach towel and gave them 20 minutes in the dryer on delicate.

They came out nicely, with a trace of stiffness from the paint, a bit like dry denim. After a couple of wearings the stiffness was less. I decided to tumble them on air dry for 10 minutes and they came out softer. I'm thinking of repeating this at some point just to see how dark an indigo I can achieve without going to a black look.
 

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