As the new eco-print and natural dyeing season approaches in Chicago, I have begun to focus on incorporating last season’s eco-printed fabric to my current wardrobe. One special piece continues to attract my attention. This was a scrap of silk which I eco-dyed with eucalyptus and rose leaves.
I gave serious thought about how I might use this piece to its best advantage. In the meantime, I remembered I had purchased organic cotton jersey, which I had used to make a few scarves.
This silk scrap seemed to go better with my purchased fabric. I am thinking of a tunic. The fabric needs to be washed first. I also found some naturally-dyed lace from last season, and if I decide to go ultra-feminine, there might be some lace added as well. Stay tuned!
Small annual and perennial garden flowers are blooming, and I couldn’t resist snipping a few, along with some leaves, for natural dyeing. The flowers fade quickly, so the decision is whether to leave them alone to die or to clip a few and dye.
So I grabbed a few pansies, coreopsis and cosmos along with a few geranium leaves, false indigo leaves, and some golden barberry. I used avocado pits and skins in the dye-pot and let them simmer for a couple of hours. I was looking for a little color booster in addition to the colors I would achieve by simmering the plants on fiber.
In this experiment, I used bundled silk gauze and cotton sheeting as a sandwich with leaves and flowers as the filling. I rolled it all around a small copper pipe, tied it with string and set it in the dye-pot. Then I clamped a square bundle of cotton sheeting with plants in-between, and handmade paper as well. Finally, I layered small torn pieces of a previously dyed large piece of Fabriano paper with small plant bits.
Bundles of paper and cloth were left to simmer in the avocado dye-pot for a couple of hours, then allowed to rest overnight. The paper turned out fairly waterlogged and did not achieve a great deal of color. However, I was very pleased with the silk & cotton sandwich. Some of those bright colors you see were golden correopsis, pink cosmos and leaves, along with a pinky tinge from the avocado liquid.
I get the biggest thrill when unrolling the bundled packages! You really should try this.