Carol R. Eaton Designs

Carol R. Eaton Designs

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dying Fabric with Natural Products - Tansy!

Tansy has beautiful bright yellow flowers; it grows tall and full in my gardens without much effort on my part! I understand its edible but I've never given it a try - the strong smell is enough to let me know that it will be bitter. It was time to harvest the flowers so I thought I'd try dying cotton and silk with the flower heads. The end results were a sweet, soft yellow... here are the steps so you can try it too!

Here are the flowers all ready for cutting!

The flowers heads were first placed in a pot with enough water to cover. I simmered the plants products for about an hour before adding the fabric (cotton and silk). I left the fabric in the dye bath overnight but wasn't really happy with the results in the morning. I removed the fabric and added a couple of teaspoons of alum to the dye and put the fabrics back in. I left everything alone for a few hours and when I checked again I was much happier. The small amount of alum allowed the fabric to absorb much more color.

I wrung out the fabric and let it air dry. You can still see little bits of plant material clinging to the fabric. Once the fabric was dry I ironed it with a hot dry iron; only then did I wash the fabric with Woolite to remove all plant particles. It's important to set the color with a dry iron before washing so the color is not rinsed out.

Here are the final products - silk on the left and cotton on the right. Give it a try!

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