Natural dyeing is quickly becoming a favorite method for producing handmade clothing and accessories. People are shifting more and more towards natural products and techniques. Botanical dyes are coming into their own, and many upscale shops are featuring hand dyed items made from natural products. If you have a garden or access to flowers, try dyeing with flowers.This method is fun to experiment with, you’ll never know what you’ll end up with, and you can create some fabulous boutique items.
WHERE TO START?
If you’re planting a new dye garden, McLaughlin’s book contains several different garden plans. An edible dye garden, for example, might be best if you have limited space and can’t justify giving up square footage for anything other than fruits and veggies. Suggested plants include carrots, bee balm, rosemary, purple basil, red onions, chamomile, beets, blueberries, red cabbage and marjoram.
A cutting dye garden features flowers that can be cut for indoor display or tossed in the dye pot. McLaughlin recommends roses, hollyhocks, dahlias, rudbeckia, purple coneflowers, zinnias and cosmos.
Of course, you can always mix veggies and flowers, or plant a few items in containers.
And if you’re already gardening, chances are you have some of these plants and flowers in your backyard.
“Even a typical suburban landscape that was planted by the housing developer might have birch, juniper, roses, Japanese maple or eucalyptus,” McLaughlin says.
For beginners, French marigolds and onions (red or yellow) are easy to grow and produce vivid colors for dyes, according to Julie Jensen, farmer and founder of Echoview Farm and Fiber Mill near Asheville, N.C.
For a list of plants to grow for a variety of die colors visit the link below:
Now that you have your flowers and dyes, here are some directions an projects for you to complete: