Up-cycling with Eco-printing

This hot summer and intermittent rain has given us lush foliage in Chicago, so on the order of making hay while the sun shines, I decided to do more eco-printing and up-cycling of cellulose fibers this past week.

First up, my Mom gave me her old Jones, NY 100% cotton T-top and asked if I could “do something with it.”  There were a few old food stains and some tiny blood spots, so why not try?  Generally, the items I eco-print with the intent of up-cycling tend to be light colored tops that just need a dash of color.  I had never before tried to dye a stained item.

I went ahead and scoured the top in Synthrapol, then mordanted it with alum acetate.  And after rinsing again, I proceeded to lay out some leaves, including rose leaves, milkweed and loropetalum.  After an hour or two of boiling, and an overnight rest, I was delighted with the results.  My mom is tickled pink!

Detail up-cycled Jones NY Shirt
Upcycled Jones NY T-Top for my Mom

In the same pot, I eco-printed an old Hanro long-sleeved undershirt (100% cotton) that I wear in winter. I used the same scour and mordant process as above, but layered the shirt with false indigo (the yellow), some geranium and rose leaves.  Again, very pleased!

Detail eco-printed underwear
Detail eco-printed underwear

Finally, I made myself a long skirt last week in 100% organic cotton jersey but had some leftover cloth when I trimmed the hem.  Perfect for an infinity scarf!  Scoured, mordanted and eco-printed with mostly geranium leaves.

I am having way too much fun without spending any money.   I love it!!!

Infinity Scarf up-cycled from skirt hem remnant
Infinity Scarf up-cycled from skirt hem remnant




Author: luvswool and dyestuff

Natural dyer. Chemist. Chicagoan. Felter. Weaver. Embroiderer.

2 thoughts on “Up-cycling with Eco-printing”

  1. Gorgeous outcomes! I can see why your Mom is thrilled. Great job. Love the up cycling with the infinity scarf. Very clever idea.


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