July 6, 2012
Overdyeing is highly underrated technique. I subscribe to the notion that men look most handsome dressed dark and subtle, and for me, overdyeing had always proven to be an easy way of salvaging many a cheery, colorful mistake and making it wearable.
Not that I would call this a particularly cheery mistake, but I thought the charming urn print and the quality of this vintage silk shirt would make for a perfect illustration of the merits of overdying.
Before I go any further, note that overdyeing is not like the Microsoft Paint fill tool; it doesn’t magically turn Tiki prints into solid colors. What it does is that it lends a more subtle tone-on-tone quality to colorful prints, and and gives an interesting saturated matte finish to solid-color fabrics. Adam Kimmel overdyed a Hawaiian print for Spring 2012, and Assembly New York regularly does overdyed black shirts and jackets.
I typically do a bath of iDye for natural fabrics then iDye Poly (because fabrics contents aren't always what they say they are), but this particular shirt looked great after just iDye so I went on and skipped the second step. You might find iDye Poly more useful for heavier fabrics such as wool felts or suiting fabrics.
Follow the instructions on the packet, and always use a separately labelled "poison pot" for dyeing.
I rinse it out until the water runs clear, but I refrain from washing it out with detergent, to keep the dyed color as saturated as possible.
Throwing it in the dryer helps heat-set the dye and quells the yearning of many an eager overdyed shirt wearer.
overdyed vintage silk shirt
The overdyed shirt shows patches of darker and lighter dyeing, like clouds of purple-gray and black-brown. I personally find the blotchiness charming, but you could avoid this by using a larger pot.
Illesteva sunglasses, overdyed black silk shirt, 3.1 Phillip Lim shorts, kung-fu shoes from Chinatown
diamond signet ring, Number (N)ine blackened silver bracelet, Native American copper bracelets
photographs by Kyle Morrison