Fabric dyeing using dahlia and alum mordant

Recently I have been experimenting fabric dyeing using dahlia and alum mordant. At the moment dahlia flowers in my garden are in bloom. Weather has been cold recently so it is marking the end of dahlia growing season soon. This blog is a follow on blog after i have recently dyed some fabric by just … Read more

Natural fabric dyeing

Using natural dye for fabric has a special place in my heart. As I have used it while I was in art and design college. At that time I didn’t have a garden as I was living in a flat.

For my finally project I made a gown out of indigo and made holes in the habotai silk using household bleach. It was to show how one’s body is being destroyed by diseases that affects the body. The use of natural dye to represent the human body. A bit of modern conceptual art there!! I still remember so much about it till more than 10 years latter ?!!

So most of my natural dyeing start off from buying mordants and natural dye powders. I did use a bit of onion skins and tumeric.

Then recently I got back into fabric printing. I decided to use synthetic dyes as I have never tried them before. Moreover the colours produce from synthetic dyes are definitely more vibrant than the natural dye. I wrote a blog about it Mono print on fabric

I had long thoughts about using synthetic dyes recently as in a long run I didn’t want to environment to be ruin. Now I am a gardener as well so it just makes sense for me to go back to using natural dyes again. I am now trying to make it as natural possible sometimes it is not always possible especially if one is trying to produce great effects out of it. As some natural dyes would not adhere to the fabric with the use of mordants.

Mordants can be in many forms some are toxic and some are non toxic to the environment. It is something to consider when using them.

why do natural dyeing

Mono print on fabric

Mono print on fabric

I wrote awhile back about how I have recently started to do some mono print on fabric using a screen printing techniques. I have found out that in printing big quantities of fabric is rather challenging. It’s my first attempt printing on fabric and such a scale. I could implement a few things to make life a bit easier for myself like using a bigger screen, etc.

Otherwise why wouldn’t most big textile designers and print factories will be do it instead of employing a much more current and economical techniques like digital printing.

Technique – how to do it

I love this way as you paint the screen with some fabric dye, let it dry then pour some print paste then put the squeegge over how hard can that be?!! It’s was all going well till i discover bubbles trap between the screen and fabric and the dyes being smudge onto places you don’t want them there. It does give a patchy effect maybe it isn’t that bad after all…

Making the fabric into a blouse

I got making a blouse as I follow House of pinheiro on instagram and she hosted an event recently  #sewphotohop. There are a few hosted events around like #therefreshners. In this instances sewing. It’s on Day 2 which is to post Current sewing (WIP Work in progress).

It is a great way to promote blogs and to meet other fellow like minded bloggers/ instagrammers. That is when I decided to print more fabrics so that I can make a blouse out my printed fabric. I found a blouse pattern on a recent burda style magazine. Making and fitting the pattern wasn’t much of a probelm as it doesn’t require much sewing skill.
back view of my mono print top

monoprint on fabric
monoprint on fabric

Anyway it’s not so bad in the result as I would wear it as a daily wear. Something to add to my wardrobe.

Where to learn to do it

Here are some books on fabric printing where you can find how to mix dyes, what type of dyes to use and print paste recipes.

I particularly like the’ printing on fabric’ book by Jean Swearington as it shows how to to transit from ready made acrylic fabric printing medium to using dyes. By pre mixing the dye powders in water one does not have mix the dye up all the time. I mix 25 grms of dye powder to about 100mls of water.

They last about 6 months. I mix the print paste by using manutex F an alginate sodium compound with urea. The urea helps to retain the bright colours of the dye. I just mix till it is thick enough into a paste like texture. about 1/4 teaspoon of manutex, 1/4 teaspoon of urea and about 80- 100mls of water.

For more details I did a youtube video on how to do it. Here is the link https://youtu.be/ZeEjsL8662M
Dyeing and screen-printing on textiles. Joanna Kinnersly-Taylor
Printing on fabric. Jean Swearington
Fabric Dyeing & Printing. Kate Wells
I got most of materials online from www.georgeweil.com