It’s a great time to make your own natural dyes whilst summer’s berries are plentiful. Dyes made from natural ingredients produce unique colors. Use the dyes to over-dye vintage oral fabrics, up-cycle vintage cottons and linens, or dye new fabric to create a subtle pastel palette.
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Before starting the dyeing process, you need to get your fabric ready. Wash the fabric you have chosen to dye. Don’t dry it—it needs to be wet. Prepare the xative or mordant. This is to help the fabric take up the dye more easily. Combine salt and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until salt dissolves. Remove from heat. dd the washed (wet) fabric and allow to stand 1 hour in the salt water. Remove fabric and rinse well with water. The fabric is now ready to be dyed. Place berries into a heavy-based saucepan then add water. (As a general guide to 1 cup of berries add 2 cups of water.) Bring berries and water to a boil over a medium heat, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 1 hour or until liquid is dark in color. Strain through a fine sieve lined with muslin or cheesecloth. Discard solids. Return liquid to saucepan. Place fabrics into dye liquid and stir well to coat. Simmer over a very low heat for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and allow fabrics to stand in dye until cold. Remember fabrics will be lighter when dry. Remove fabrics when desired color strength is reached and rinse under cold water.