I get asked this question so often I thought it was time to write a few blogs to answer it properly; “Can my wedding dress be dyed another colour?”. The simple answer is Yes, but with risk and difficulty. If I explain the different processes below you can make an informed choice whether or not to risk your dress. Many brides want to be able to get more use from their dress after the big day and think having it dyed a different colour (most often black) will ensure more value. It is not a good idea to set your heart on this as this is a difficult and probably expensive plan, and reading below will explain why. Having a coloured dress made, or adding splashes of colour to your dress are a much more realistic options.
Can I dye my wedding dress at home?
So much depends on what your dress is like. All dyeing requires a large enough vessel, filled with water, to fully immerse your garment. This is more difficult for larger garments and some wedding dresses are very big! Not only do you need to be able to fully immerse your wedding dress in water you also need be able to swish it about freely. If the dress is squashed in and not able to move around in the dye, you will end up with a tie-dye effect or a mottled colour.
You also need to check the fibre content of your dress; what does the care label say it is made of? Home dye kits are only suitable for some fabrics, usually natural fibres like cotton, silk, wool and linen. Viscose is a hybrid natural/synthetic fibre and can also be dyed with most home kits. Manmade fabrics like polyester and nylon can be dyed at home but need a different dye type so be careful to check and buy the correct kit for your dress. To understand more about how fibre content affects the dyeing process read the sections further down (this is important so I would strongly reccommend properly understanding before going ahead with dyeing).
Can my wedding dress be dyed in the washing machine?
If your wedding dress is machine washable you can consider dyeing it in the washing machine. Do not risk a hand wash or dry clean only dress in the washing machine. The advantage of dyeing your wedding dress in the washing machine is that it will ensure a very even colour result and the labour is low as you don’t have to stand and stir it for an hour or rinse it afterwards.
You can also dye a dress in the bath
‘Cold water dyes’ can be used below 40 degrees so your bath taps will supply adequate heat for these. But you should note that the colours possible are usually only the paler ones, not dark or jewel bright tones. If you dye items with cold water dyes they are often not as ‘fast’ either, so the colour will run, wash out or fade more quickly.
To see more of Eleanor’s pale blue wedding dress click here.
Will you dye my wedding dress?
Possibly, but probably not. I will dye dresses I am making myself, and apply sprayed dipdye colour but I will very rarely accept a commission to change the colour of a whole dress. If you are looking to have a whole dress dyed you can try this US company who specialise in that service.
Please read the risks section in this article to understand why dyeing your wedding dress is a really difficult process and why it’s probably not something I will take on. There are professional services out there for dyeing wedding dresses but it’s not a specialism of mine. I have extensive knowledge of the process so I do feel able to advise you and help you weigh up risks but it’s unlikely I will be able to help you actually dye your wedding dress. In a very few specific cases I might agree to take on a job but these are few and far between.
Please read my other dyeing articles to find out more about why dyeing your dress is risky before deciding to go this route.
What other ways can I colour my wedding dress?
If buying a dress that was made in coloured fabrics to begin with isn’t possible, here are some alternatives.
This creates a colour fade from one part of the dress to the next. It can be pale to deep of one colour (for example baby blue to navy) or a blend and mix of colours. For example dipping first in yellow and then in blue will create a yellow, green, turquoise, blue finish. Dipdye is usually added to the hem of a dress of garment but can be done to any area. Dyeing part of your dress is easier than the whole thing as you don’t need such a large dye vessel. As a dye technician I have to be very careful not to get colour on the undyed parts of the dress, it’s easy to accidentally splash and any splash is permanent!
You can spray paint or air brush your dress, though the colour won’t be as deep as a proper hot-wet-dye technique. The advantage is you can be very specific with where the colour goes, creating fades or colouring some parts of the dress and not others if you wish. The cost of this service from me is usually around £600
Adding a layer:
Have a skilled seamstress add a layer of black fabric to your dress. This could replace a layer in your dress or be additional. Obviously if there are design details on the surface they will need to be moved or accounted for.
I make tulle overskirts that can be worn over any wedding dress. They are all custom made to fit exactly over your dress size and train length. They are usually sprayed with dipdye colour but a plain black one (or any other colour) would be effective too! Skirts start at £480 and can be ordered from me directly or through my Etsy shop.
If deciding whether or not to buy a wedding dress comes down to ‘can my wedding dress be dyed’ please do think carefully. Most dresses can’t be dyed easily or effectively, it’s better to have a dress made in the right colour.