Natural dye fades. Yes it does. Celebrate it.
The expectation of 100% guarantee in our modern world has far reaching ramifications silently building in the background of our lives. That nothing is permanent or perfect is a breathtaking and empowering realisation. The best way to describe pigment fading is that it is the exquisite journey of natural dye. It is not a blatant fade as with chemical dyes. Instead it goes on a slow journey - breaking down the hues and shades that nature has built with her pigments. The wonderful thing not many realise is that if mordanted correctly at the beginning of the dyeing process the garment can be re-dyed multiple times over its lifetime without having to re-mordant.
Here are some tips on how to reduce this happening:
•Launder with a neutral PH detergent, or as close to neutral as possible
•Rinse clothing thoroughly after washing to remove any excess detergent
•Never hang item to dry in direct sunlight, dry in shade
•Clothing really doesn’t need washing after each wear. After wearing if given a good shake and hung up it will be fine for quite a few wears. Often hanging out on a hanger in the shade can be enough to freshen your garment.
•Definitely no bleach, wool wash or stain remover please!
•It is advisable to wash separately for the first couple of washes just in case there is a colour run off. When we wash items we wash until a clear water run off occurs but occasionally residual colour can run in first washes.
•Avoid soaking in water for long period of time
A very strong pigment that gives you an incredible amount of colour from a small quantity of dyestuff. Colours extracted are abundant once you explore the application of modifiers. From soft champagne pinks to vibrant fuschia pinks, reds, oranges and purples.
5 - 10% WOF for a good strength medium shade. Highly recommend having stand by mordanted cloth as a good dye bath to fully exhaust.
Grind your insects to fine powder in either an electric grinder or mortar and pestle.
Cover in pot with approximately 10cm water and boil for 30 mins.
Strain, set aside extracted dye and return matter to pot and cover with more clean water and boil for another 30 mins.
Each time you do this save extracted dye in the same pot for your dye bath.
Repeat this process at least 2 - 3 times until after boiling water fails to extract more pigment.
Protein fibres use alum mordant at 15% WOF.
Cellulose fibres pre mordant with tannin at 8% WOF then mordant with alum acetate for best results at 8% WOF or if not available 15% of alum WOF.
Cochineal is a very strong dye and it will keep on giving. To prepare cochineal for dyeing you first need to go through a series of extractions.
You will gain colour from 2 - 50% WOF.
First grind the bugs in either an electric grinder or with a mortar and pestle.
NOTE: it is always best to only grind what you are using immediately. Store your cochineal in whole bug form until ready to extract colour as this is best practice to retain ultimate use of dye colour.
Add the ground matter to roughly 8cm of water in a saucepan ( a dye saucepan not a kitchen cooking saucepan) and bring to the boil.
Once boiled reduce heat and gently simmer for 20 - 30mins, remove from heat as your first stage of extraction is complete. You now want to have a vessel to strain this precious liquid into, big enough to add to 3 - 4 times.
Strain cochineal dye through straining cloth, keeping liquid for dye bath. The solid matter will now be returned to your saucepan for another extraction so add a fresh 8cm of water to the saucepan and cochineal matter.
Repeat process of bringing to the boil, gently simmer for 20 - 30 mins, then strain through cloth into vessel with the dye from the first extraction.
Repeat this process until all colour is extracted from solid cochineal matter - usually this can be done 4-5 times for full extraction.
Once you have completed this stage add all your extracted dye to your dye bath adding sufficient water to allow your fibre to move freely.
Add fibre and bring vat to a boil, reduce and simmer for 1 hour. You will find you may be able to use a cochineal vat several times for lighter shades.
Be adding varying levels of cream of tartar your cochineal vat will produce from fuchsia to pillar box red. By adding iron you can create purples.
Please view our Natural Dyes Instruction Guide for more information.
Online purchases made on FabricofHumanity.com over $150 will receive free shipping within Australia. Shipping on purchases under $150 will be calculated o weight and will be calculated at cart checkout. International purchases will be charged on weight and destination and will be calculated at cart checkout. We ship using Australia Post and Sendle as trusted national and international shipping agents, who have a carbon-neutral shipping service (& Sendle is B Corp registered) and do offer tracking. International orders may be subject to taxes and duties and these costs are the responsibility of you, the customer. We recommend checking with your local authorities to understand possible charges before placing your order. It is important to note that depending on which country you are shipping to, Natural Dyes and Khadi & handloom textiles are considered to be unique to region and therefore can obtain duty free clearance in most circumstances - but still important to check locally. Parcels of international customers who decline to pay taxes and duties, will be returned to Fabric of Humanity and the order value will be refunded less the original shipping fee. If we currently do not ship to your country please let us know by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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