Part of the fun of a restyle project is seeing the potential in an otherwise dated, boring, or unattractive item. Last summer, I picked up a sort of odd removable dress bib at a rummage sale. I had plans to use the lace applique in some way, shape, or form, whether I added it to a more modern piece of clothing, or transformed it into some kind of jewelry. Now, nearly a year later, I finally got down to business to create something new from something old!
The applique was easily removed from the dress bib using my seam ripper. Similar appliques can also be purchased at fabric or craft stores. I first wanted to transform the plain white lace applique into a pretty ombre dyed piece. It’s important to note it is very difficult (if not impossible) to predict your exact results with any dying project. Since I was not sure if this repurposed applique is made of natural or man-made fibers, it was kind of a gamble what I’d end up with! I’d dyed a white shirt with a similar lace detail last year (seen here), and the applique resisted the dye completely since it was synthetic.
For this project, I used RIT liquid dye in Scarlet, which I happened to have on hand. The bottle directions were for big batches of dye for larger objects, so I attempted to scale down the dye “recipe” to accommodate my small scale dying project, which I was able to do in a disposable plastic cup. I made my dye solution stronger than usual with the hopes that the dye would indeed penetrate the lace applique, synthetic fiber or not.
For my small batch of dye, I used:
1 Tbsp. liquid RIT dye
1 Tbsp. salt
8 Tbsp. hot water
Before dying the lace piece, I soaked it in hot water and wrung it out. I started by dunking just the bottom third of the lace into the dye, continuously agitating it (the clothespins are just to show you how I was holding the lace). After five minutes, I lowered the next third into the dye. Three minutes later, I dropped the whole lace piece into the dye for just a short while (maybe a minute). The gist is to keep whatever section of your ombre dyed piece you want the darkest in the dye the longest.
I thoroughly rinsed the lace until the water ran clear and there was no dye remaining. My first attempt didn’t yield an obvious enough ombre look, so I dunked the bottom portion of the lace back into the dye for a minute, then clipped it onto the edge of an empty plastic cup to let gravity help me out. After letting it sit out of the dye bath for about ten minutes, I re-rinsed the lace. I was much happier with the ombre look the second time around!
Now that I had a pretty ombre piece of lace, I wasn’t done quite yet!
After letting it dry completely, I sewed a few shimmery seed beads to embellish the applique. I attached a delicate silver toned chain with two eye pins and added a screw clasp to the back to complete the necklace.
There were a lot of little steps involved in this process, but I think the final result was worth it! This self-made necklace is the very first ombre piece in my wardrobe. It’s about time I jumped on the bandwagon for the trend which I admire so much! Let me know if you make one of these necklaces for yourself – I’d love to see!