Lesley Loves…Fabric dyeing with a ‘natural twist’

Our products are not just suitable for use in soap and toiletries but we have ingredients that can be used for a variety of crafting activities. Like many of our customers, I have many crafting hobbies and often try new things after reading books, looking at social media and websites for inspiration. Currently, I am following my lifelong passion for sewing, in a block of the month challenge for quilting. This included dyeing fabric to include in the block, so that’s how I started this journey.

Following on from last week’s article about using natural dyes in soap making, I looked to see what natural ingredients we have in stock that could also be used for dyeing fabric. I researched various websites and gleaned snippets of information that I adapted and streamlined so that I could do this together in one afternoon.

I decided to use turmeric, beetroot and indigo, hoping to create a pale yellow, pink and blue respectively.

To prepare the fabric for dyeing a fixative is needed.  Sticking to being natural and not purchasing a commercial mordant salt and vinegar solutions are an option. I decided on salt as we have a lot of this in stock, half a cup to 8 cups of cold water. To get good colour results a natural pale fabric is best. I had scraps of linen and also thought I’d try poly cotton as I had some spare.

I decided to try a bit of tie dyeing on the polycotton pieces which were larger pieces and used rubber bands from our office supplies for this.

After simmering the fabric for an hour in the salt solution I drained and rinsed it thoroughly, then divided the pieces between three stainless steel saucepans for the dyeing.

The turmeric powder 2 cups water with 2 tablespoons of ground turmeric ( using double the quantity). I used beetroot liquid (as we no longer stock powder) quarter cup to 5 cups water and indigo powder 2 tablespoons to 4 cups of water.

The turmeric soon took and after just over 15 minutes I took off the heat and left for a while. The beetroot I continued for about an hour and the indigo about half an hour.

Then each was drained and rinsed in cold water until it ran clear. I wore gloves and an apron so that I didn’t get covered in dye myself.

The turmeric took really well and the indigo too although paler than I expected. The beetroot rinsed out almost completely. I hung the fabric to dry after removing the rubber bands off the tie dye.

After drying I decided to wash in the washing machine as I did not want the colours to run when washed in the future. The turmeric and indigo coped very well but the beetroot practically disappeared.

I ironed my pieces of fabric and left them in the sun room at home.  The turmeric faded but indigo stayed steadfast.

Now to use my pieces in my quilt block and hopefully the result will be worth the effort.

This maybe something I revisit with more of our products, I will have to research how to fix the colour more successfully and maybe I could experiment with other dyeing techniques.



If you need more information about using colour in general crafts, we have in depth blogs covering: Cold process soap, melt and pour soap, bath bombs and liquids, just go ‘see older’ blog posts.



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