Our first natural dyeing project with avocado pits & skins, red onion skins and beetroot on our white linen tropea kaftan was an amazing experiment. It turned out as a very pale pink and we absolutely love it. In this blog post we will share our experience and the process we followed to get this result.
Select your fabric
Your options are open when selecting the textiles you wish to dye. We used white natural linen, but you can also use cotton, wool, silk,.. the more natural the fabric the better - cotton and linen fibers are all formed from cellulose, the main component of plant cell walls. Wool and silk are animal-protein-based fibers. The purest fibers keep their color better.
Prepare your fabric before dyeing
Prewash the fabric/your piece(s) of clothing and pretreat it with a bath of soya milk, before placing the textiles in the dye bath, which helps with colourfastness.
Use a large dye pot, stainless steel works best.
We used the pits and skins of 3 avocados, skins of 3 red onions and 1 big beetroot. First we heat them together in water for two hours, with the lid on, to extract the dye, stirring occasionally. Then we strain out the skins, stones and beetroot and soak the fabric in the water that has residual heat. We left the fabric soak overnight in the dye-bath for a deeper color.
Washing and caring for plant-dyed clothing
Wash as little as possible and try airing clothing outside in the shade to freshen it up.
Wash on a 30° cycle with a gentle detergent, add some baking soda or a squeeze of lemon juice or white vinegar, to preserve your plant colours. You can also put plant-dyed clothing in the dryer at low heat or dry your clothing outside, but don´t dry in the sunlight - sunlight will fade some dyes.
If the colour fades then you can redye your fabric/ piece of clothing. If you’ve pretreated the fabric with soya milk then you can skip this step. Just dampen the clothing and add to a new dye pot, then follow your usual dyeing method.
ENJOY YOUR DYEING ;)