DIY: Sports Bra Gets a Makeover

Believe it or not, it started with a sports bra. I was tired of the same white ones I've worn for years, envious of some of the patterned ones I've seen more recently. Most are still in perfectly good shape and much to the dismay of my younger self, still fit perfectly fine. There was no sense in splurging on a new one. Nonetheless, all of the DIY indigo dyeing on the blogosphere got me thinking...maybe it was time for a makeover.

Let me preface this with the fact that indigo dyeing, also known as Shibori, is intended for natural fibers. The mixture begins a yellow-green color and slowly turns blue as it begins to oxidize. From the start this was going against the rules. Most athletic apparel is made of synthetics — that's what wicks the moisture away from your skin and keeps you cool and dry. I wasn't sure what to expect from fabrics that by their very nature are not intended to absorb. While it was the sports bra that started this, I figured I'd try a few different materials just in case. These included a sports bra, cotton/poly shirt, tank top, and some cotton socks.

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I don't have anything new to offer as far as technique goes. I suggest reading through the instruction booklet that comes with your indigo dye kit. Definitely wear the gloves provided. (Even so my hands were blue for a week!) I also found the tutorials on Designlovefest and Alice & Lois to be super helpful. I recommend dyeing in your backyard and putting down a drop cloth as things can get a little messy.

Ultimately, it was a bit of a wild card but I'm rather happy with how things turned out. I recommend using materials that have a mix of natural and synthetic fibers as true to form, those seemed to work best. Rayon can be found in a large majority of athletic apparel and is a natural fiber that lends itself well to indigo dye. My advice is to experiment a bit and don't take the process too seriously. Part of the fun is the surprise of seeing how everything turns out. You just might be happy with the result too.

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image one photographed by Lauren Migaki