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How to Dye & Refashion a Lace Dress

DIY Tiered Dress Refashion (Without a Pattern!)
Easy DIY Romper (from an Old Dress!)

When I saw this lace dress hanging on the $1 rack at the thrift store, I just knew it would be a perfect dye project!

how to dye lace dress before
Lots ‘o Lace!

Yes, it’s a little too big for me and I’m not a fan of the length.

But that lace is so pretty! And the collar and pleats are just swoon-worthy!

Before I did anything else, I removed those three functionless buttons from the front.

removing buttons
You have no purpose in life, button.
removed buttons from refashion
Don’t worry! They’re now resting comfortably in my button stash!

Luckily, dyeing a lace dress is easy. Here’s how:

First, assess the label & your dye.

dress fabric content label
Yay Nylon! Boo Polyester!

This dress is actually a two-piecer. There’s an outer layer made of nylon and an inner slip made of polyester.

Sidebar: I always ignore the “Dry Clean Only” on labels. 99% of the time it’ll be fine as long as you wash it in cold water. It only cost me $1. I can risk the loss. 😉

The good news is, Nylon takes to dye pretty well.

The bad news is, Polyester does not (unless you buy a dye specifically made for polyester).

From my own experience, I knew the polyester slip would take on at least a little bit of the dye, so I decided to include it in the dye bath with the outer layer.

rit dye for refashion
Teal is my favorite color, FYI!

You can see right on the box where it says this dye is recommended for Nylon.

Next, Prepare your dye bath.

I used my handy stock pot (which I only use for dyeing stuff since dye is toxic when ingested), and only added about half of the dye packet (because I’m cheap).

adding Rit dye to dye bath
In ya go!

I added about a cup of salt to the dye bath (as recommended on the box) as well.

You don’t need boiling water here, folks. I just added the hottest water I could get from the tap.

After stirring/dissolving my dye/salt mixture, I was ready to…

Add the lace dress to the dye bath!

adding lace dress to dye bath
Here we go!

I put the lace dress and inner slip into the bath and fully submerged them by pushing them down with a spoon.

Adding dress to dye bath
Don’t you just love that color?

I left my dress in the dye bath for 40 minutes, stirring it every few minutes or so. The instructions on the dye packet say to stir it constantly, but in my experience this isn’t necessary.

When the 40 minutes was up, I dumped out the dye in my sink and then dumped the dress into my washing machine and rinsed it using the hand wash cycle.

So now the dyeing part of this refashion is complete!

After drying my dress, I tackled those sides.

I decided I wanted this dress to have a loose & flowy fit, so I only took it in an inch on each side.

First, I took in the slip.

pinned slip
You can see how the slip only took a little bit of the dye.
taking in slip for dress refashion

Now for the lace dress!

Pinning the lace part ended up being a bit of a pain as a few pins kept falling out. :/

pinned dress for refashion
Pinning right along!
measuring dress for alterations
Measure as you go!

Much to my relief, stitching up the sides of the lace dress wasn’t any different from stitching the sides of any other fabric.

taking in sides of lace dress
No skipped stitches or issues here, folks!

After cutting off the excess fabric, I tried the dress on again and marked where I wanted my new hem to be with a safety pin.

The reason I didn’t do this step first is that taking the dress in also affects the length, and I would have risked making my dress way too short!

cutting off bottom of lace dress for refashion
When in doubt, save this step for last!

A quick hem followed!

stitching new hem for dress refashion
Just a lil hem!

After pressing my new dress, my Refashion was complete!

How to dye a lace dress refashion after
I just love how the color turned out!


I’m sooooo bummed I can’t go out and about right now. :/ It really feels like I’m creating in a vacuum at the moment, but I’m SO happy & honored to get to share my refashions with you!

how to dye lace dress refashion collar close up
That collar tho.

As I hung my new dress up in my closet, I gave a wistful sigh. “Someday, you’ll get to go to brunch, little friend,” I whispered.

refashionista how to dye a lace dress after
For now, this dress and I both just have to hang in there.

I hope you are all staying safe and well at home, friends.

A few of you have been asking if I have any mask tutorials, and I do! You can check out my no sew tutorial here, and my sewn version here.


refashionista how to dye a lace dress before and after
DIY Tiered Dress Refashion (Without a Pattern!)
Easy DIY Romper (from an Old Dress!)