March FAQ

botanical-patchwork-triangle-quilt

At the beginning of each month I open up a question and answer over on Instagram, answering your most common plant dyeing questions. 

Have you had success dyeing with a single pot of dye first, then following up with a bundle dye. 

Yes, I just make sure that my first dye pot is a pale colour (like the pale pink from avocado stones) so that it creates a nice base colour. Once that dye has dried I iron it to set it and then bundle dye as usual.

Do you use fresh turmeric or dried powder?

Ive used both in the past but I tend to use turmeric powder, mainly because its easier to get hold of where I live. Personally, I don’t noticed much of a difference between the two in terms of the colour they produce.

Why did you start to natural dye and how did it become your business?

I discovered plant dyeing while I was working as a gardener and found that it combined my two passions (fabrics and plants) together. I also wanted to show people that its possible to create botanically dyed and eco friendly products that aren’t made from hemp or boring brown colours.

I would love to try to dye and have downloaded your ebook, what piece of fabric would you recommend to try dyeing? Should I start with avocado?

I recommend that you start with something easy, like an old white t-shirt (cotton or natural fibre) or a piece of linen that you can make into a scarf. If you’ve got avocados to hand then I would say fab - give them a try. Otherwise you could try pomegranate skins or onion skins, following the same technique that I give in my ebook

Do you have a dedicated space/set of tools for dyeing?

I keep all my dyeing tools (wooden spoons, sieve, pans etc) separate from the rest of my kitchen utensils. Although most of the plants that I use to make dyes are harmless, once the are in a concentrated form that could change. 

Do you prefer scouring/mordanting the traditional way (soda ash/alum) or do you do it differently?

I actually don’t scour my fabrics - I just wash them in a natural laundry liquid before mordanting them. Ive always been happy with the colours that I achieve and because I like to keep the whole process of plant dyeing as simple as possible I’ve decided to continue with just simply washing my fabrics. I soak my fabrics in soya milk before I dye them as I find it really easy and love the colour results that I get.

alicia hall