By Mark Vorkink
June 3, 2017
My goal was to produce a dye that would come as close as possible to my Levi's stonewash pants which are my everyday work pants. For years I would wear these pants with plain white socks and medium brown shoes for work. I know it has looked dorky all these years but really didn't care until recently. I tried to find socks in that color and couldn't. So, I decided to try my hand at changing the color.
Rit Products Used
You'll Also Need
crock pot liner for stock pot worked great
Step By Step
My wife suggested I go with a RIT brand dye and I started watching a lot of video. Since I didn't want the dark 501 Levi's denim, I knew I would have to blend a few colors. I chose the DENIM BLUE and EVENING BLUE colors. Rather than try to mix the colors in water just before adding the material, I tried the following: I placed one drop of Evening Blue on a blank sheet of paper and one drop of Denim Blue on the same sheet of paper and with a toothpick spread the drop around to make a nice even color. As I suspected, the color I was looking for was somewhere in between the 2. I next added one drop of each color together, stirred them with a toothpick, and spread it out and was content that the color I was looking for was about 50%/50% of the colors I had to work with.
I followed the process completely as shown on this website. I kept the water hot on the stovetop at about 160° and used a 20 quart stockpot lined with a crockpot plastic liner. I added 4 ounces of each color and stirred. 5 minutes later I added 1 cup of salt, a squirt of Dawn dishwashing liquid, and stirred. I had presoaked to each sock and added each one to the dye. I stirred for a solid 30 minutes breaking every now and then as the dye seemed to take very well. To my surprise, I found that all socks are not created equally.
(Click on the photo to see the full photo) The socks I used are Gold Toe brand socks. I used both quarter sized and full sized socks. All socks had been washed once and were brand-new except for one of the shorter pairs. During the dyeing process it was evident that the dye was having a surprising effect on the socks. As you can see in the photograph, the 5 pair of socks in the middle apparently have 2 different types of material. The sock per the company website says it is composed of 79% cotton, 20% nylon, and 1% spandex. The long full sock is composed of 91% cotton, 8% nylon and 1% spandex. If you look closely in the upper left center of the photo you will see the test strip on a paper towel that let me know I had a color close to what I wanted.
I don't understand why such a dark blue took hold creating a wide stripe effect on 5 pairs of the socks. The one small pair of socks to the right of the photograph is an older pair that I tossed in as well. Surprisingly, it took a consistent full-color of dark dye just like the long socks. Overall, I'm fairly pleased since I have dark Levi's that I can wear with the dark socks and I can still wear the two-tone socks for work. It's just not what I was hoping for. If any of you have a suggestion as to how this can be avoided, please let me know so that others can avoid the same odd results that I achieved.