Botanical Threads was founded in 2016 out of a desire to create chemical free products that reflect the beauty of the plants that they are dyed with. All items are designed, hand dyed and created with love by me, Alicia, in my home in the heart of the English Countryside where I am inspired by the rolling hills and beautiful scenery.
All the colours used at Botanical Threads are extracted directly from plants, using hot water. Natural plant dyes often need a little extra help sticking to fabrics so soya milk is used as an alternative to harmful chemicals for helping the colours to stick. Avocado stones, pomegranate peel and onion skins get a last lease of life before being composted and plants such as rosemary, nettles and lavender are harvested thoughtfully to protect the environment. Purchased plants are organic wherever possible.
Natural, plant dyes often need a little help sticking to fabrics. They need something called a mordant, which is a substance that helps create a bond between the fabric and the dye. One of the most popular mordants is alum (aluminium) as it is regarded at the least toxic to the human body. However, when handling alum a dust mask is advised as is avoiding the vapors from the dye pot, making it potentially very harmful to a dyer who frequently handles it. Instead, all of the fabrics used by Botanical Threads are treated with a natural mordant: soya milk, as a safe and chemical free alternative to alum. The fabrics are soaked in a soya milk bath and once dried, the fabric is left to rest for a minimum of 7 days to fully allow the soyabean protein to bond to the fabric.
Plant dyes are created by soaking a raw plant material (such as avocado stones, lavender leaves, or pomegranate skin) in water for several days. Once all of the colour has been extracted, the fabric is heated in the dye and (depending on the plants used) can be left in the pot from anything between 5 minutes and several days.
After the desired shade has been achieved, the fabric is dried and left for a further 7 days before washing in a natural laundry detergent to remove any excess dye. It is at this point that any designs will be hand printed onto the fabric. After it has dried the design is then steamed and washed. Now the fabric is ready to turn into something beautiful.