Plant Dyes Step by Step
Do you like plant dyes? Yes, we hear ya'.
We do too.
Not only because they are pretty but they are also Mother nature's greatest gift to us to colour our world.
The process of natural dying is here to celebrate slow life and sustainable living. It reminds us who we are, where we come from and gently shows us the way back to our roots.
Now, let's dive into the good stuff without much ado.
Stuff we use to dye
- Myrobalan/ Nude & Dove colours
Myrobalan is a tree deciduous in Asia, we use its dried, ground fruits which are high in tannin (found in red wine and coffee too)
- Madder Root/ Reds
Myrobalan is a common plant often appearing in backyards. Madder's root contains high levels of red pigments
- Ferrous Sulfate: aka iron, often used in food supplements and as part of plant fertilisers
- Calcium Carbonate: everyday calcium often used as dietary supplement and as part of plant fertilisers
- Alum Acetate: a natural compound refined from Bauxite, skin and environmentally friendly alternative to heavy-metals.
In order to achieve nudes, we use the ground form of Myrobalan with its key component: tannin.
You may weren't aware but you or someone you know consume tannin on a daily basis. When you drink coffee or wine— and you accidentally spill it on your outfit.
You got it right. The stain that remains is tannin.
It is permanent and cannot be removed.
This is the exact compound we rely on when achieving our nude and grey tones.
Dying with myrobalan is rather simple.
- First, we wash all our materials in Sodium Bicarbonate water to remove invisible factory stains and grease.
- Our fabric is clean, we then give it a good rinse and place it in pre-heater fresh water.
- Once the water reaches a near boiling point, we add the myrobalan mix to the water and submerge our fabrics for at least two hours.
DOVE & steel GREYS
- Essentially the same dye process but we add a magic ingredient: iron.
- When iron gets in chemical reaction with myrobalan, it results various shades of grey. The more we repeat this process, the darker the colour gets.
- We submerge the tannin soaked fabric for a quick iron-bath dip, followed by a detergent wash to soften the fabric.
Reds are perhaps the most exciting colour to achieve. The process is complex but is very much spent with lasting joy.
Now, let's dive into our gorgeous red dye bath.
- First off, we allow our undyed fabric to soak in the Myrobalan bath for one hour. This helps the pigments bond with the fabric more effectively.
- Our fabric then gets moved to the Alum solution bath (water and a little alum added)- this again helps with the bonding.
- Once the fabric soaked long enough, they all move to our thermo heater which is now filled with ground madder and a hint of calcium carbonate.
- Once the heat is set, we allow the fabric to sit in this madder bath overnight.
- We occasionally hop over to give the bath a stir and submerge the fabrics in order to achieve a consistent colour.
And here we are. All ready to create magic.
Dyeing with plants has extremely low environmental impact and was designed to nourish our bodies. With every piece dyed, we effectively prevent 10L of water and minimum of 300g toxic chemical penetrating our waters and soils.
Natural dyeing is very much about returning to our roots, celebrating slow life and enjoying the present moment. We love plant dyes, and the love we cultivate while creating these beauties is now passed on to you as love moulded in the beautiful form of sustainable lingerie.
Hope we could help you better understand the work that goes into every piece. In the meantime:
Sending Love & Light x