So over the past week I have been doing some practical research into new materials and processes.
Before you even begin to dye the fabric you need to scour it. This process removes all the chemicals and waxes that have been added to the fibre in the manufacture of the fabric. I used the boiling method using a mixture of soda ash and synthrapol.
Once that is done you need to use a tanning on cellulose/plant based fibres so I used Gallnut extract to do this. This leaves a lovely brown tinge to the fibres! Some dyes contain their own tanning but ill go into that at a later date.
One tannic is done you then need to mordant the fabric to prepare it to bind with the dye particles. For this I used Alum Acetate, which is foul stuff 🤢 it smells like vinegar crossed with dark room chemicals. Not good at all! I have since been researching different, more natural mordanting processes so hopefully I will find something better to use.
Once all this is done, which is very time consuming (i did it over 36h) you’re ready for the fun bit. I felt like some sort of forest witch mixing plants and herbs to extract the colours from it! So far I am impressed with the results and still having fun which is a bonus.
I have also made a start on my own dye garden, come Autumn or possibly next year I will be using dyestuffs i have grownand processed myself which I amreally excited for! Well it’s back to the couldron for me, here is some pics of my work so far.