Rea Bates

Sassy Pants

I am known for dressing in bright colors. I dress mostly in tints—colors that seem to have a bit of light or white coming through. For years I’ve dressed in colorful tops, pairing them with just a few pairs of pants. My pants were navy, brown, khaki, or denim. You see, I don’t wear black or gray (long story). I can’t wear jeans to work at the assisted living facility most days, but I refuse to wear anything that isn’t extremely comfortable. These things narrowed my choices.

I had often wished I could find colorful pants to wear with my colorful tops, but the pants I could find were expensive, uncomfortable, or both.

Several months ago, I was working with my residents. We were making suncatchers. We use special paint pens that have plugs to keep the paint from leaking out or drying up. I dropped one of those plugs. It rolled down my top and onto my khakis. I wasn’t too worried. The paint is washable. It came right out of my top but not my khakis. I tried two different stain removers. No luck. My husband said I should use his gritty soap. I told him to have at it. Well, it took the paint right out. It also took out a quarter-sized circle of the khaki dye. Now my khakis had a white spot.

I may have mentioned before that I’m exceptionally frugal. Now I was stuck with a pair of pants that I couldn’t wear, even though they were in good repair and delightfully comfortable. An idea came to mind. The pants were already ruined, so why not try an experiment? I wanted a pair of red pants, so I bought a bottle of RIT dye in cherry. I followed the online instructions. It worked well. I later decided that I wanted the color to be a little deeper, so I dyed them a second time with the same cherry dye. The most amazing part is that there’s not a trace of the spot where the khaki dye was missing.

That was just the beginning. I thought of all the colors of pants I wanted. I began buying light khakis at thrift stores. Khakis can run from almost white to caramel, so I looked for the lightest ones. This way the dyed colors would be truest. Sizes vary from brand to brand, so I measured the waist, hips, and thighs of my comfy khakis. I measured the pants before I bought them, so I knew they would fit well without having to try on oodles of pairs.

Now I have a closet full of sassy pants. In addition to the red, I have tangerine, aquamarine, teal, evergreen, and eggplant. I get lots of compliments on my colorful pants. A couple of friends have mentioned that the times they tried dying clothes at home the clothes have come out unevenly dyed. My secret is that I use my washing machine (it moves the clothes around in the dye, helping to even out the color), and I follow the instructions exactly. This means adding both salt and dishwashing liquid to the dye bath. I reset the washer’s wash cycle over and over so that the pants are in the dye for a full hour. Once the pants are out of the washer, I run it one last time all the way through a wash cycle with a bit of laundry soap to clear out the last of the dye.

I shared this information because there’s no reason for me to be the only person walking around Miami county wearing sassy pants.

May your week ahead be filled with sunshine.

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Rae Bates is an Independent Consultant with the Pampered Chef. You can see her Facebook Page by clicking HERE. Her column appears each Sunday in Peru Indiana Today.