This blog post is about fabric dyeing with African marigolds flowers. Marigold flowers have been known to produce strong colors when dyed with fabric. Marigold also known as Tagetes are grown annually or perennial. Especially when fresh flowers are used to extract colors. Dried flowers also do work in my opinion the colors aren’t as easy to extract as fresh flowers. As they are in dried form one needs to soak and boil the leaves in order to extract the colors. It is also possible to buy dried flowers from craft suppliers online.
Marigolds are also relatively easy to grow at home in pots or on the ground. I have been growing marigolds and it’s related variety in my garden over these last few years. Here are some tips on how to grow and harvest marigolds. I have grown another variety of marigolds called Tagetes minuta. These different varieties produce different color flowers and therefore will affect the outcome of fabric dyeing. In this experiment I am using Marigold crackerjack whcih is the most popular heirloom African marigold variety that I harvested from my garden over the sumer autumn period.
Fabric dyeing with African marigold
To dye with marigold I would first collect enough marigold flowers in order to produce enough dyes for the dye bath. The amounts needed to produce dye depend on how much fabric is going to be dyed. Not huge amounts of marigold flowers are required to produce a dye bath. The fresher the flowers the better they are in producing strong bright colors. In my experiment, I am using old dried flowers that is been dried over the summer/ autumn season lying around. It’s now December, I am using the dried flowers. I don’t have a speacial drying rack I just leave time outside on a shelf and let it dry but itself.
So with these dried flowers I boil them with some water in a pot. I then turn it down to a low simmer for about 20-30 minutes. They turn into a lovely amber like colour. Personally they like that kind of colour as these flowers were dried awhile back.
I use a variety of fabric fibres like silk, linen, cotton and wool. I dip the fibres while the pot is on low simmer. and here are the results. By adding different types of mordant it can also affect the colours of the dye. Here is more infomation about using mordants in natural dyeing.