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Natural Dyeing and Non-Natural Dyeing

As I am working from home and sometimes limited with my choices in fabrics, I wanted to try and dye my own using my garden materials. My garden had been such an influence on my designs that I thought it would be a great idea to try and use the natural materials there to create the dyes. I wanted to create greens especially because I could not really find any berries or anything that would create a pink colour. So I tried a nettle pot, and a grass pot too, which did not really go too well.

The nettle one smelt awful, and even after a good few days I could not really get the colour out of it to make any difference to the fabric, the same happened with the grass, the water got a little coloured but did not impact on the plain linen at all.

I added more nettles and boiled for longer, tried a few things, I was not very precise with the original recipe so this may have had an impact on it. I ordered a dylon packet anyway in a lovely natural colour so I decided to give this a go instead.

The colour produced was quite a natural earthy green which I do like, but also my collection is a little brighter than this so maybe I should have tried a more tropical kind of green too to see the difference, which I think I would have done if I had more time with this project. I did try out some tie dye techniques however to test the idea of the texture into the cloth, and I think I could work with bleach and how it reacts to the newly dyed surface as well.


Author: tahliadavid

BA(hons) Textiles student at Cardiff Metropolitan University

3 thoughts on “Natural Dyeing and Non-Natural Dyeing”

  1. I tried to do a nettle dye for the first time last week as well and failed as well. Then I read that the nettles should be collected before they make flowers. That makes sense. In my experience green plants in natural dyes give the best colours early in the spring. Atleast here in Norther Europe were I live. Also pre mordanting fabric is quite important. Did you use a mordant?πŸ€” It’s quite important for the colour to fix. Cellulose fibers like linen need tanin for natural dyes to fix. I use tara powder and alum, some people use soy milk etc. But you tie dyes are very pretty indeed. 😊


    1. I think I should have researched it a little more before trying it definitely, the synthetic dyes I have tried are more flexible on mixing amounts, temperatures etc but I learnt natural dyeing needs more work! something to try more in the future anyway πŸ™‚


      1. Yes that’s true it’s a different world and colours are “alive” in the different way then synthetic dyes. But it’s a lot of fun as well. 😊


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