Natural Plants Sources for Dyes: Preparing Recycled Cotton Clothes

by by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP–Living in Natures Love Lifestyles insideawareness.com

These whites are soaking in baths of Alum and Soda Ash preparing them for experimenting with natural plant dyes.  In the articles I have been able to find about how to scour and use mordant the subject has been on wool.  I was curious about how it would work for dyeing clothing.  In my first test dye buckets from last summer, ’17,  I used recycled cotton curtains that had been treated in Soda Ash and Alum.  In the second set of test buckets this summer I used cotton tops, T-shirts and some of the re-purposed curtains that had not been treat in Soda Ash or Alum.  The dye was not absorbed evenly and I do not know how long it will be before the colour washes out.  I will be mindful to use a Ph Balanced Laundry Detergent with these pieces.

The pieces shown drying on the laundry rack have gone through 2 of the 3 baths that I  recommended in Scouring Cotton: 1st step to dyeing naturally last year for preparing them to dye naturally.  The 3rd bath will be a Soda Ash soak once they are dry.

Sourcing Soda Ash and Mordant for myself here in Greater Victoria was time-consuming and challenging.  For convenience I have some links to getting them on-line to be delivered to you door.

 Soda Ash

 Alum (Potassium Aluminum Sulfate).

These pieces of clothing will be kept on hand and as natural plant parts are discovered for dyeing they will be ready to go.  This includes having some on my travels during the summers heat to try new flowers, leaves, branches, bark and roots from nature that is being visited.

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