Dying your wedding dress is an option if you are looking for something in a traditional bridal style, but with an unusual or eye-catching color. Or you might want to extend the life of your investment after the wedding by turning your dress into an outfit you can wear for other special occasions. Many contemporary bridal gowns make striking cocktail dresses when in a deeper color. Don't attempt to dye your wedding dress at home because the fabric, combined with the properties of domestic clothing dye, rarely gives a satisfactory result. Always take your dress to a recognised professional custom dyer.
Ask about dying your wedding dress at the boutique where you originally bought it. They may have their own dye service or links to a custom dyer in the industry. High-end bridal dressmakers are the most likely to provide this kind of service, but even a small local store should be able to help you as they often need to get fabric custom colored.
Some commercial custom dyers, such as Metro Dyeing Service Ltd, Almore Dye House or Manhattan Dyeing Service are occasionally willing to take on wedding dress projects. These companies are based in big cities and attached to the fashion industry, but they have the necessary expertise to make a good job of dyeing your expensive wedding dress and are worth the travel and courier costs. If you live out of town, make your first point of contact an email or phone call and give them as much information about your dress as possible. Include everything you know about the fabric, desired color and make of the dress.
The most successfully colored dresses are made from natural fibers, such as silk or eco-hemp. Silk gowns are extremely expensive and many wedding dresses are made from a blend of man-made and natural fibers. So having discussed requirements, take your dress to the dyer for them to assess the potential success of coloring the garment. This allows them to decide whether they are willing to take on the project. Most custom dyers will not dye a purely polyester dress.
Even natural fiber dresses often have polyester stitching that does not absorb dye. This means the stitching on your garment could stay white and contrast with the new color.
When buying an investment dress from a designer boutique, ask about custom dying before the wedding. This makes it much easier to find a dyer that can color your dress. You could then pair the dress with shoes from a boutique such as Jimmy Choo, which offers a post-wedding shoe-dying service.
Shefali Choudhury is a qualified make-up artist and nail technician, with more than 12 years experience of professional makeup in beauty, film and theater. She graduated in fine art from Central Saint Martins and has been writing professionally since 2007.