Easy plant dyeing

Yesterday I decided to dye the fabric to a pair of hoses I’ve planned to start sewing. Plant dyeing is actually really easy, and naturally dyed fabric makes awesome medieval clothing. You get nice colours, often matching each other beautifully. Also, plant dyed fabrics reflect light in a completely different way than others, I just love it!

For hoses I wanted a soft, slightly warm yellow colour. Anyone who tried plant dyeing knows that yellow is the easiest possible colour to achieve. Almost anything green growing outside seems to dye yellow, only some plants give a more sturdy colour that wont fade to fast.


As spring is yet to come there is nothing outside to help with the dyeing right now. So I decided to cheat a bit. In my kitchen I found a bag of tumeric (in latin curcuma longa). It is the spice that makes curry yellow, and it will dye almost anything else to even if it ain’t a very medieval way of doing it.

Maria, one of the organizers of Battle of Wisby, writes about plant dyeing basics in her blog – check it out! For every 100 g fabric (dry), I used 50 g tumeric and 20 g alun (for mordant). I mixed the tumeric to a sort of soup in a small bowl of water before I added it to my kettle with clean water and wet fabric. Immediately after adding the dye it looked like on the picture above.

Hostyg gurkmeja

Today the fabric had dried into a rather fiery orange, not quite what I had expected. To the right you see the same fabric undyed. I will try to bleach the fabric in the sun a bit and see how that turns out. If that doesn’t do the trick I’ll bet I can make an awesome emerald green colour out of it, if i over-dye it with indigo another day…

 The last time I plant dyed I was much more pleased with the result. I used madder and got a striking deep red colour, maybe the best one I have ever achieved. I made myself a nice warm hood out of the fabric . I’m especially pleased with the snug fit and the tablet woven edges.

My new hood.

My new hood.


Tomorrow I’ll start working on the hoses…

/ I.

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