How to Dye a Cotton Blazer

by Chance Henson
Keep cotton blazer colors on-trend with fabric dye.

Keep cotton blazer colors on-trend with fabric dye.

Some looks, like a cotton blazer and jeans, are just too good to go out of fashion. Year after year, designers and stylists find new ways to make blazers and jackets look new and daring, and every season, consumers flock to the nearest department store in a desperate attempt to keep up. Not you! As long as you're dying from a lighter color to a darker color you, can transform last year's dull cotton blazer into this year's trail blazer with easy to use fabric dye.

Line your kitchen countertops and floor with newspapers or plastic to guard against spills and wear rubber gloves for the duration of the project.

Fill a large metal cooking pot with 3 gallons of tap water and heat it on the stove to a low simmer.

Stir in 1 tablespoon of mild laundry detergent and transfer the water to the sink. The detergent will help ensure the color gets evenly distributed.

MIx 2 cups of hot water with one-half bottle of liquid dye or one package of powdered dye in a bowl or disposable container.

Stir the mixture until the dye is well-blended, add it to the sink water. This creates the dye bath.

Stir the solution for 2 to 3 minutes or until the water takes on the dye's color. Use a long stirring utensil such as metal cooking spoon to ensure that the solution mixes at the bottom.

Rinse the blazer in fresh warm water to open up the fibers and help them to absorb the pigment. Make sure that the blazer is wet throughout the entirety of the material.

Squeeze out the excess water so that it is only damp, but not dripping, and transfer it to the dye bath.

Stir the blazer continuously for 5 minutes, then add 1 cup of salt to the solution to help the material better absorb the color. Resume stirring for an additional 20 to 30 minutes.

Let the blazer soak in the bath for up to 1 hour to get darker shades, or take it out after 30 minutes for lighter shades. Keep in mind that, like all wet fabrics, the material will dry into a lighter shade than it appears to be when it's wet.

Drain the sink and rinse the blazer with large amounts of fresh warm water -- the excess dye will bleed from the garment for several minutes, but the fabric will retain the new color.

Cool the water's temperature as the dye bleeding slows down and lightens, but only stop rinsing when the water runs clear.

Wash the blazer in the washing machine alone, on warm and with a mild laundry detergent. Remember to adjust the rinse cycle to cool to help set the color.

Dry the blazer in the dryer or let it air dry. Use chlorine bleach to clean the workspace and sink.

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Items you will need

  • Newspapers
  • Rubber gloves
  • Large cooking pot
  • Mild laundry detergent
  • Stirring utensil
  • Fabric dye (liquid or powder)
  • Bowl or disposable container
  • Salt
  • Color remover
  • High-temperature, water-resistant masking tape
  • Chlorine bleach


  • Cover the blazer buttons with high-temperature, water-resistant masking tape to protect them from being dyed.
  • Read the garment care tag on the blazer to determine if it is machine washable and safe for hot water.


  • Think twice before attempting to dye a darker color a much lighter color. Bleaching may be necessary which can have an unpredictable impact on the existing color, and thereby the finished product.
  • Never leave a hot stove unattended.
  • Use caution when handling bleach, which is a corrosive agent.

About the Author

Chance Henson earned a B.A. in English literature and a writing minor from Lamar University. While interning at the "University Press" newspaper and "UP Beat" magazine he received an award for news feature writing from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association. Henson went on to serve as content editor for "CUSH Magazine," eventually leaving to pursue the development of an online secular humanist educational publication.

Photo Credits

  • Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images