Eco-Prints + Fabric Stash = Win/Win

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!

Dyeing with garden flowers and leaves: Early summer

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.

Handmade paper dyed with garden plants
Handmade paper dyed with garden plants
Cotton sheeting clamped in a square and dyed with plants
Cotton sheeting clamped in a square and dyed with plants
Garden flowers bundled and dyed on silk
Garden flowers bundled and dyed on silk
Garden plants bundled and dyed on cotton
Garden plants bundled and dyed on cotton
Bundled silk and cotton rolled and dyed with flowers and plants
Bundled silk and cotton rolled and dyed with flowers and plants