In my earlier post about Dyeing with Indigo, I showed off some of the photos and videos of the handspun wool yarn dyeing and the results. Now I’ll show off fabric instead!
Our hostess had some resist block-printed silk to test out (mostly testing out the historically-informed resist rather than the dye itself) while one guest brought a strip of cotton to dye for a trim, another brought some silk from a salvaged wedding dress, while I brought some linen, as did another guest.
As I mentioned in an earlier post about the madder pot, I started my linen in the madder vat, but didn’t like the pale coral colour, so I popped it into the indigo vat.
Linen dyeing in indigo
Like the wool yarn, I put the linen fabric into the indigo vat for about an hour. I occasionally “stirred” it – more just pushing it down under the liquid rather than stirring which might introduce too much air into the vat.
It was SO interesting to see the linen coming out of the vat -going from electric bright green, to teal, and finally to a lovely dark indigo blue. When it was washed, it did lose a little colour (linen doesn’t take dyes as well as silk, cotton, or wool) but is still a great blue that I’m looking forward to using!
You can see how it starts to turn colour in the video above in less than a minute out of the vat. Also interesting is that it looks splotchy when it comes out of the vat, but as it oxidizes, the colour evens out throughout the yardage.
Our hostess shared with us that it’s important to spread out the fabric on the drying rack to allow the air to touch each portion of the fabric to oxidise the dye. This photo to the right shows the guests spreading out the other guest’s linen fabric on the drying rack.
In order to tell my linen from the other guest’s linen, our hostess ingeniously tied a small knot in the corner of my linen… which resulted in a cool tie-dye effect. This might end up on a finished garment or not…
(Also stay tuned.. because a few weeks later I did more ‘indigo tie-dye… and I’ll post about that soon!)
Indigo dyeing silk
In the footage below, you can see that within 15 seconds out of the indigo vat, the silk my friend had block printed a historically-informed resist on, was already going from lime green to teal, and finally to blue.
Unfortunately, the resist didn’t seem to work to block the indigo, so she will head back to the drawing board. If you want to learn more about what she does, visit Adventures in Block Printing on Facebook!
Cotton dyeing with indigo
One of the guests brought a strip of cotton to dye in the indigo vat. Her goal is to block-print it, and then use that strip as trim on a costume.
In the photo to the left, the cotton strip is temporarily spread out on top of the indigo dyed silk – the colour hadn’t entirely changed yet, and you can see the difference between the fully oxidized dark blue silk, and the lighter cotton which is still changing colour in this photo.
Despite the colour differences in this photo.. it was really interesting how similar in colour all of the different fibres were once they were dry – the wool, cotton, linen, and silk were all very similar!
Below this, is my indigo-dyed linen on top of the indigo-dyed silk, illustrating how similar the colours were, though there are differences, due to the luster of the silk, as well as linen is typically more resistant to the dye.
Drying and rinsing
After the fabrics dried in the sun, letting them fully oxidize, we rinsed them in the sink in the house. Later, the instructor teaching an indigo class a few weeks later suggested not to rinse indigo-dyed fabrics right away, but let them have a few days of “curing” before rinsing.
From there we hung the fabrics to dry again… and then they were done! Despite not waiting for the curing time, the fabrics did not seem to loose any colour. (Perhaps this will impact the light-fastness of the colour? Time will tell!)
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I’ll also have more photos (and videos!) from dye projects on my Instagram feed if you’re also on Instagram! I can’t share them all on this blog so they’ll post there (and likely cross-post to Facebook too!)