How to tie dye everything, from sweatpants to t-shirts

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  • I don’t know about you, but I can’t stop seeing tie dye on my Instagram feed, everyone seems to be embracing the whole lockdown DIY thing, and dyeing your own clothes, preferably sweatpants, seems to be a good way to ease into it.

    Tessa Holladay, founder of Palmier London, says she’s also seen a huge rise in the trend: ‘No longer confined to the 60s (thanks to the likes of Hailey Beiber, Gigi Hadid, & Kaia Gerber) there’s no denying that the art of tie-dye is back. Back at the beginning of April with our factories closed, we found ourselves experimenting with tie-dye with the idea of adding some colour into our collections for the summer.’

    She added, ‘We adored the playful connotations and bright prints originally associated with the tie-dye trend, however as a linen wear brand specialising in neutrals we needed to adapt the process slightly to be in line with our style and customer tastes. After much trial and error, we found that by diluting the dyes significantly more than recommended, we were able to produce a finish that was both fun and easy to wear. Here I’ll take you through step by step on how we carefully hand dye each piece to create our signature effect.’

    If you want to try this at home, here is her step-by-step guide.

    How to tie dye

    STEP 1: Thoroughly soak the item you’re dying in water so it’s wet through. Once this has been done, rinse the excess water out so it’s not dripping and place flat on your work surface.

    STEP 2: Making sure you cover your work surface in plastic to prevent any unwanted staining, lay your item out and begin to scrunch up.

    STEP 3: Pull any sleeves or straps in tight, making the scrunching as even as you can to ensure the dye will be evenly distributed.

    STEP 4: Take your elastic bands and wrap around the item of clothing to keep the scrunching in place.

    STEP 5: Add as many elastic bands as you need to ensure the scrunching is nice and tight and won’t undo when you move your hands away.

    STEP 5: Choose your colour and prepare to mix the dye.

    STEP 6: Most tie dye kits will simply suggest adding water directly to the bottles (which come with a small amount of powdered dye in them). We have personally found the colours are intensely strong, and since our preference is for a much lighter and more subtle finish, we will take a fresh empty bottle and simply add a few pinches of our chosen colour into it.

    STEP 7: Add water to the bottle with the small amount of dye in, then screw the lid back on tightly and shake to ensure the powder is completely dissolved.

    STEP 8: Start applying the dye onto the item of clothing.

    STEP 9: Make sure the fabric is completely covered in the dye, not forgetting to keep turning during application to ensure consistency throughout.

    STEP 10: Put the item into a bag that can be sealed.

    STEP 11: Leave to soak in the bag for 6-8 hours to allow the dye to soak through and settle. Once the time is up, remove the elastic bands and rinse any excess dye before putting into the washing machine then hanging to dry.

    TIP: Once dry, if you feel that the colour has come out too strong, you can simply return it to the washing machine along with a splash of thick bleach diluted into 500ml water (do NOT add undiluted bleach directly to clothing). Washing again with the diluted bleach solution will help lighten the colour.

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