Dirty Vintage Look On Jeans

I have several pair of expensive jeans that have faded, I want to restore the color rather than throwing them out. The jeans have not been bleached, they have been washed a lot. I want to give the jeans that dirty vintage look. is this possible to do? if so how do I do this?

Dear MA,
What you propose is possible and actually rather easy. Since you want to over dye while maintaining the distressed look, I would suggest using the industrial dyes that are available at www.dharmatrading.com. These are the cheapest and easiest dyes to use that I know of. The range of colors is not great, but you can experiment with what is available. I used the black industrial dye to re-dye a large batch of black jeans, t-shirts, even cotton/poly, with good results. Very simple to use – they come in a dissolving plastic packet that you throw into the washer with hot water. Agitate 15-20 minutes. Run the load one more time with detergent afterward to rinse out extra dye. I think it would be worth experimenting with to see if a black or brown industrial dye would give you the distressed look you are after.
Your alternative would be to use the reactive dyes, which are also available from dharma. They require ordinary table salt and soda ash, a common chemical you can get at pool supply places. Reactive dyes come in a zillion colors and are much more vivid (if used in concentration).
Have fun and Happy New Year!!

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