Monday, January 02, 2012

dyeing fabric with red cabbage

cabbage fabric dye 008

Hello and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fantastic December and Christmas season! I feel almost as busy today as I did a couple weeks ago, but luckily I had a nice visit back home for Christmas and a restful New Year's in Vancouver.

One project that I was busy working on in December was trying my hand at using red cabbage to create a natural dye for fabric. I had read that red cabbage makes an excellent deep blue dye and I wanted to try it with some canvas I had bought. My goal was to create a nice stormy blue colour, to mimic the sky, however my original cabbage dye was more of a mauve sunset than a cloudy night.

cabbage fabric dye 001

cabbage fabric dye 002

I sliced up one medium sized red cabbage and allowed it to simmer with a few litres of very salty water. After about 45 minutes I separated the cabbage from the dye and added my fabric. I let the fabric sit in the dye overnight.

cabbage fabric dye 003

This was the colour of the fabric after removing it from the dye — not exactly what I was aiming for. 

cabbage fabric dye 004

It turned a nice soft purple when it was dry, which was very beautiful, but in no way served the purpose I needed it to.

cabbage fabric dye 005

So finally I resorted to good old fashioned navy blue fabric dye, straight from the box. I mixed the dye according to instructions and then folded my fabric into quarters, laying it out on a plastic surface and then applying the dye in puddles, letting some spots get more saturated than others. My final product looked like this:

cabbage fabric dye 007

I like to think having the purple underneath added to the overall depth (right?) I'll show you what this stormy fabric turned into very soon!

cabbage fabric dye 006


Lotte Janssens said...

nice to see the proces, have a good 2012

sara said...

Hi Mary. I've been reading this wonderful book about this idea of dyeing stuff with plants, which are available easily. If you have a chance go to the library and see if you can get it. It will blow your mind. Its by India Flint, Eco Colour. To put it most basically, all vegetable fibres dye with most challenge, while animal (protein) fibres need less manipulation. CHECK it! S

elizabeth said...

I still have all my dye binders from university too if you ever want to check out what happens when you mix source materials with different mordents. You know, next time you're in town.

Pssst, I know what the finished product is.....

Pinecone Camp said...

Well, I have to say I quite love the cabbagey coloured fabric, but your final colour is pretty too. I have never thought to colour with cabbage, but I may have to try it out! Happy New Year Mary!

Mary Hudson said...

I loved the pink cabbage fabric too! But I needed a nice dark sky colour. Thanks everyone, happy new year to all of you!

Ketutar said...

You need to use iron as mordant, not salt.

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