DIY disasters

Every once in awhile (definitely less now that I’m a mom), I get inspired to make or change a piece of clothing. I’ve sewed shirts and skirt and even a dress and I’m constantly knitting something. I’m not too bad at it either, most times people are surprised when I tell them I made it.

So, when I decided to bleach and dye a pair of jeans I’ve had forever and ever and change them into some cute capris, I thought – no problem! Well, my friends, there is a problem. These poor jeans may never see the light of day again.

First of all, I have to say that these jeans owe me nothing. I bought them in 2005 and wore them through my fat phase and my skinny phase and every other phase. The sister pair, which is black but same brand and style, ripped a big hole in the butt and yet I hold on to them for nostalgia.


So here are the jeans, rolled (as I was wearing as capris) and unrolled (so you can see the jagged edge where I cut them off to shorten them so the roll wouldn’t be too bulky). They are a nice, dark blue. And I thought, hey, wouldn’t it be great if they were gray??

So, I read up on how to bleach your jeans. I used instructions I Googled from the interweb.

First, I filled a mopping bucket with really hot water and added a couple of cups of bleach – nope, didn’t measure. Maybe about 3/4 water, 1/4 bleach?


Next, I smushed my jeans in. There was enough water to cover them and they could move around fairly freely and I could stir them easily.


And then, I waited…. (actually, I went grocery shopping)

I checked on them about two hours later and they had definitely lightened…


But they were turning orange! Don’t panic, I told myself. It’ll all be okay.

When I took them out seven hours later (nine hours total), they were definitely not okay. Not only were they orange, they were splotchy.


Very Splotchy. So, what to do. The article had warned me that bleaching them too long may cause the material to weaken. I’ve had jeans split at the bum before and I don’t want to ever repeat that experience. I then got the bright idea to dye them. I had found a box of black dye when Cally (my 11-month-old) had been playing under the bathroom sink (ya, I know, there goes the Mother-of-the-Year Award) and pulled everything out. What luck! A box of black dye I didn’t even know I had. Excellent. I hate making trips to the grocery or drug store for one thing, especially when that one thing is to cover up for a f-up dyeing job.


I filled the sink with cold water and mixed up the dye like the package says.


(Sorry, I just realized I never got a picture of the pack of dye or wrote down the brand or anything).

And then mixed them together. And added the salt.


And finally, put in the jeans.


They say to agitate for 10 mins. I was already agitated, so that was fairly easy. Then I left them for two hours (one hour more than the recommended maximum), agitating again every 30 mins or so.

At the end, I rinsed them well and then through in my washing machine for it’s three rinse and spin cycles. And when it came out, they were…..



So, that was a week ago. I am currently punishing the jeans for being splotchy by hanging them in the bathroom and ignoring them.

So, what do I do? I’ve read this article, that suggested they should be bleached three times before they will be white enough with no splotches. Do I bleach again? Do I buy another box of dye and try to cover the splotches? Do I banish them to the back of my closet and try again next summer? Let me know what you think. Happy Shopping!


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