What Dyed in the Kitchen?

This is a public service announcement. If you mix up a bucket of cherry red dye, and you then go to stir said bucket of dye, be very, very careful. Otherwise your kitchen will look like the scene of an animal sacrifice. And you’ll ruin several towels trying to hide the evidence clean the mess. Learn from my mistakes.

Now that that’s out of the way…

I bought this gray skirt not long after I turned 21, which is a long time ago, especially in skirt years. (I think the ratio is 3 1/2 skirt years to every human year, but I’m not quite sure.)

beforeMr. Fox is not impressed by my c.2007 clearance rack Isaac Mizrahi.
Such a little fashionista.

I needed either a gray skirt or gray pants to fit the dress code for my then-new job at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and as I was short and didn’t feel like hemming 4+ inches off “regular” sized women’s pants I chose this skirt. The skirt was too long as well, but I liked it that way. Until now.

Now was the time to make a change. Now was the time to let my knees see a little sunlight! Using my seam ripper, I removed the waistband. Then I measured a few inches from the top of the skirt’s waist and pinned to mark where the new waist would be.


After sewing along the pins, I cut the excess fabric away and reattached the waistband. (I also had to take the skirt in a couple inches, but I didn’t get photos of that.)


The skirt was successfully shortened, but I wasn’t finished with it. I mixed up a bucket of Rit’s cherry red dye, and tossed the skirt in. (This is where my earlier warning comes in. Beware.)

2Not pictured: Cherry red dye all over my floor and splattered on my cabinets.

Because the skirt is a polyester/rayon/spandex blend, I wasn’t expecting it to take on a lot of the color. I figured it would be a dark mauve. I figured wrong…

3Holy burgundy Batman!

… and I couldn’t be happier about it! Once the dye was rinsed and the skirt had dried, I replaced the boring old button on the waist with a prettier vintage button, and ironed all the pleats back into the skirt. What a pain that was.

4Word of the wise, touch up the pleats in your skirts more than once every few years.

I paired my new-old (old-new?) skirt with the lace top I refashioned last October and my trusty black belt, and I was ready to go.

after 1 copyMr. Fox approves!

But where was I going? Well, I was supposed to go to a friend’s promotion ceremony, but the weather conspired against us, and I had to stay home.

noMy thoughts exactly.

Way, way back when I was in my early twenties and life seemed full of possibility and my skirt’s original pleats were still nice and crisp, my friend and I used to work at the museum together. Long story short, he’s in the Army now and just got promoted to Captain. After he invited me to his promotion ceremony I thought it would be fitting to update my old NAMA skirt for the occasion.

It was a great idea… until it snowed. There’s only one more month of this stuff, right?



  • Cassandra says:

    Oh no! I turned my bathroom into a slasher movie set once with red hair dye, because it can’t be too hard to colour long hair on your own, right? I feel your pain!
    Your skirt looks wonderful, though! So sorry the snow ruined your plans. x

    • Elizabeth says:

      I’m glad you like the skirt! Several years ago I ruined a bathroom rug dying my hair red. Red dye is dangerous!

      - Elizabeth
      aka The Hungry Octopus

  • Elaine says:

    I love the color and I am also surprised given the fabric content that it came out so dark! I am impressed with how you took in the skirt from the top – I wouldn’t have thought of doing anything besides hemming it. But then, I’m just a newbie at refashions that involve an actual sewing machine, which I now have.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Usually I hem items to shorten them, but for this one I thought I’d try something different.

      Congrats on the new sewing machine! I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun with it.

      - Elizabeth
      aka The Hungry Octopus

  • JJ says:

    I have a pair of burnt orange pants that I’ve been planning on throwing in red dye…I hope my project takes the color half as well as yours did!

  • Debbi says:

    Wow! I love the RED. Good choice. Thank for sharing you wonderful refashions.

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