I have taken interest in natural dyes for several months now. If you follow the field of sewing or manual arts, you have certainly seen articles on this topic.
On my side, the subject appeared to me during the creation of the organic cotton T-shirts of Gaston in Barcelona. My main supplier provided me with only natural colored cotton, beige or white dunes. 😉 He proposed a natural dye to obtain black, blue or other, but for quantities of fabrics not adapted to my small brand.
So I started looking for other solutions. Indeed, for me it was very important to find an ecological and safe method for the environment. Otherwise all the work done to get organic cotton would have been ruined.
While doing research, I discovered a whole world of natural techniques to dye our clothes that I want to share today.
The technique in general
If you use natural materials such as linen or cotton, it is important to prepare the fabric for the coloring to hold with a “mordant”.
To do so you can find the technique of Rebecca Desnos in her great book (link at the end of the article).
The mordant can be composed of soy milk and water: soak your fabrics for several hours in a mixture equivalent to 1 dose of soy milk for 5 doses of water. Then wipe your fabrics in the spin mode only of your washing machine, dry your fabrics in the sun. Rebecca recommends to repeat the operation twice and wait a week before coloring clothes.
There are other mordant techniques, such as white vinegar mixed with water. Use a dose of vinegar for 4 doses of water. Then, let your fabric rest for half a day in the mixture.
The day of dyeing prepare your coloring pot: heat the ingredients you have chosen over a low heat. Depending on the color you want, you can infuse for a longer or shorter time. The tests will help you perfect your method. Remember to filter your mixture well so that no skin or leaf remains.
You can now integrate the fabric into the mixture and heat it gently. Remember to stir regularly. As before you can infuse more or less, you can also re-heat several times to get a darker shade.
Tea: This is an easy-to-use ingredient for a first natural color test. We all have a tea stock at home. For example, you can use black tea that gives you shades of brown / gray. For a coloring pot, you can use 3 tablespoons of tea.
Avocado: This is one of the most used fruits for natural dyeing. It can give you different types of pink from lightest to brown.
We use the skin of the avocado, the stone or both together. When using the skin, be careful to remove any leftover avocado meat. You can then dry the skin in the sun to use it later. The stones must be cleaned with water and wiped. It is recommended either to use them quickly, or to keep them in the freezer to avoid losing its coloring potential. You will need about 8 avocado skins or 3 to 4 cores to make a coloring bowl.
Once you have understood the operation you can test with as many natural ingredients as you want: with leaves for example. I also think of buying seeds of Persicaria tinctoria (the indigo persicaire) to use the leaves in tincture. They give beautiful turquoise / green tones. You can also test with spices, turmeric will give you pretty shades of orange-yellow.
It can be difficult to dye a garment evenly. The best technique to do this is to constantly stir the fabric in its staining bath (with a wooden spoon) and do it for small pieces of tissue. This will not work for your sheets or curtains for example.
There are other methods to get different shapes:
For example, you can fold your fabric and hold it with string before dipping it into the coloring pot. This will allow you to get more or less shaded areas.
You can also crumple your clothing and enclose it in a fabric, this will allow you to have an effect reminiscent of marble shapes.
To get a pretty Tye and Dye you can wrap the fabric on itself by squeezing it hard.
@all: tempted by these techniques?
Sources: Rebecca Desnos https://rebeccadesnos.com/hello/