This blog post is about natural dyeing assistants in fabric dyeing and printing. It simply means that these assistants will aid the uptake of natural dyes onto the fabric. Natural dye’s assistant is not to confuse with mordants. As mordants are mainly to produce and stronger and brighter color. Mordants are also normally made from metals as well although there are some naturally occurring ones. Here is a blog post on natural mordants.
Dye assistants are used as with mordant or on their own. Sometimes we are already using natural dye assistant without much realizing it. For example, I use a lot of staghorn sumac leaves in the natural dyeing process. here is a look at my blog post on natural fabric printing with Logwood.
Natural assistants in fabric dyeing and printing
Staghorn sumac leaves contain lots of tannins that is used a lot to mordant cotton. Although sometimes it can cause allergies in some or might discolor the fabric. Sumac on its own and it gives a light brown color.
Another alternative to use is gall nut in which it gives clear tannin. It helps increase uptake patterns in fabric printing. in fabric dyeing, it alters the color of the natural dye giving it a much lighter color.
Another natural assistant is Myrobalan extract which can use as an assistant in animal and protein fibers. On its own, it produces butter yellow. Used with iron it saddens the color to a much darker color.
Quebracho extract also contains natural tannin again on its own produces reddish color. I have also found plants in the garden that are natural assistants like oxalis tuberosa (oca tuber) leaves So quite a few natural dye plants and products do contain tannin.