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In crafting

By Lori

Project: Mamma needs a new pair of shoes!

On 23, Mar 2011 | No Comments | In crafting, upcycling | By Lori

UliThis is Uli.

Awww, ain’t she cute?  She has a problem you see.  An addiction to eating her mamma’s shoes.  Just the heels mind you.  They evidently are much more enjoyable than the bones and chew toys she is given to play with.

I buy shoes infrequently and shop the super sales, slowly building my shoe dynasty with super fun pieces.  Uli has taken them out, one by one by one.  My adorable little shoe assassin.

What I did happen to have still left were two pairs of dyeable shoes from my cousin’s wedding and my own wedding.  Unfortunately both events were outside and the satin had been stained with dirt and hence had only been worn once.  So with a little internet research about about $9 in supplies, I overdyed the blue shoes to a dark navy/almost black color and the yellow shoes to bright red.


2 hours (plus several hours in drying time)


  • Shoes (dyeables or at least satin)
  • toothbrush
  • dishsoap
  • Rit Color Remover
  • paint brushes (water color brushes work best)
  • Tulip water based spray-on fabric dye (Charcoal and Red)
  • hairdryer


  1. Clean shoes thoroughly with just a touch of dishwashing liquid and a toothbrush. This is especially important if you have open-toes shoes as the oils from your feet can prevent the dye from taking.  Rinse clean and allow to dry completely.
  2. In the case of my yellow shoes, I used the Rit color remover in a pot to strip out the yellow.  Be careful not to soak too long, you can damage the rest of the shoe. The undersides of the soles had a lining that cooked right off but I seemed to have prevented any further damage with a clear coat of paint after the dying.
  3. Once shoes are clean and dry, paint on fabric dye using brushes.  Use liberally for full coverage.  I ended up uses two coats on each shoe.
  4. Use the hair dryer to speed up drying time between coats.
  5. I threw my shoes in the dryer on a shoe rack for 20 minutes of high heat to set the dye.

So far so good.  I’ve worn each pair once and don’t have stained feet at the end of the day.  Chances are I’ll avoid wearing them on rainy days just in case.  But for now I’m off to find dog-proof shoe boxes for my closet!
red shoes

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In crafting

By Lori

Project: There’s Something about Mary Redux

On 16, Feb 2011 | No Comments | In crafting | By Lori

Like every other red blooded American crafty girl, I love all things Anthropologie.  It’s a rare treat (usually for my birthday) that I get to scour the sales racks for one of two items to add to the wardrobe.  This year was no exception. My favorite however was the Mary dress that on sale ran me about $50.  It’s super flattering, comfortable as all get out and paired with gray tights, knee high Born boots and wide belt, it’s my go-to going out outfit of the season.

But a mishap left a giant bleach stain on the left front side of the dress.  I found another one online and forked over another $50 to have it replaced but I was left with an otherwise perfect dress that I couldn’t just THROW AWAY.  *HORRORS*  So… I dyed it.

Now, other than a set of ombre curtains in highschool and an experiment with reclaimed yarn and tumeric, I had never dyed anything.  This was my first (gut wrenching) experiment with dying in my washing machine.  And the dress, the washing machine and I all live to tell and tale.


approximately 3 hours (this includes the washing of the item between lighting and dying and again after dying and then cleaning the machine with bleach)


Rit Dye in Navy Blue: 1 bottle.  Rit Color Remover: 2 packets.


I used two Rit Color Remover Packets and followed (to the letter) the package instructions.  (Note:  This stuff smells TERRIBLE.  It was difficult to be in the room during this phase) I set the washing machine to the longest wash I had then set my kitchen timer for 10 minutes and reset the wash cycle to make sure it made through 30 minutes of agitation before draining.  It did lighten the fabric, though not all that much.  In retrospect the navy dye would have probably worked just as well without lightening but for $6, it’s worth it just to be safe.

Then I dyed it using the entire bottle of navy dye (also following directions and using the kitchen timer to ensure 30 minute of agitation).

I cleaned the machine thoroughly and then ran a load with rags and dog towels to ensure I had gotten everything out of the machine before clothes went back in.  No mishaps other than a little staining on the inside of the washing machine lid (my washing machine splashes quite a bit – it’s OLD).navy dress detail

navy anthropologie dress

I was so happy with the way it turned out.  Stitches don’t take the dye which just adds that much more interest and charm to the end product.  I have a feeling this dress is going to become a staple of the wardrobe for the entire year…

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