Old Sweater, New Life: Tie-Dye with Tea Dye

Old Sweater, New Life
Tie-Dye with Tea Dye

Ivory Sweaters + My Love for Tea = Many Ruined Ivory Sweaters
In honor of Earth Day this week, here is a DIY/Reuse/Recycle idea. You too can resurrect an old FAVE from your wardrobe. Think of anything that has ever stained your clothes: Tea, coffee, turmeric, pollen, beets, grass…that big ol’ glass of red wine, then just think of the possibilites!
My treasured ivory sweater was spattered with stains. I was inspired by my friend Erika’s story about her favorite maxi dress. So, I went to the kitchen to see what I could find to use as a dye, rolled up my sleeves and went to work. Here’s how to tie-dye with tea dye. Please don’t over-think this process. It really is quite simple.
Now I can spill tea on my tea dye and no one’s the wiser…brilliant!

After many attempts to remove the major stainage
right down the front, trust me it’s there,
 this sweater was unwearable and was headed to the textile recycle bin.
I LOVED the neckline and the cut, so it was worth one more try to keep it.
I had nothing to lose.

66% Silk, 16% Nylon, 15% Cotton, 3% Lycra Spandex
Dry Clean Only

Twist , knot and tie your garment with rubber bands.
I prefer a larger tie dye pattern, this means bigger twists and knots.

I did not wet my garment first,
but it might be a good idea for even absorption of the dye.

Fill a large stock pot with water.

Add 20 tea bags, bring to a boil and remove tea bags
when the water is dark.

I used random Lipton decaf tea that I found,
not sure why we even had it,
and that is all I am going to say about that.

If you don’t have a tea stash,
find a great deal on any type of black tea at D&W Fresh Market.

Turn the heat to low, add the garment and simmer for one hour
keeping it submerged in the tea.

Rinse with cold water until the water runs clear,
wash and hang dry.
Wear to Easter brunch and try to impress your
Mother-in-Law with your money saving fashion savvy.

Oh yes…
consider how the sides under your arms are going to look,
and add a pattern to the back too.

It really is that easy. Now that I have my dying swerve ON, I’m looking into growing my own dyes in the garden. I mean really, that is where dyes started, right?

This Earth Day week, I’m saving the planet one stained ivory sweater at a time. What are you up to? If you are inspired by this post, Earth Day or other share your project with me on Facebook.
Let the tie-dye tea dye parties begin.


  1. UrbanChiqueNess

    April 25, 2013

    Love this idea.The possiblilities.are.endless!!