In response to this, several counterproposals have emerged that attempt to solve the major problems of the use of these chemicals in the manufacturing and finishing processes.

One of these is the use of natural dyes to dye pieces in an environmentally friendly way.

What is a natural dye?

Natural dyes are organic pigments extracted from plants, insects and minerals.

Due to their characteristics, they are usually used to dye natural fibers such as cotton, jute, wool, hemp, silk, etc.

A little bit of history

The need to dress and decorate the body, going from functionality to seduction, or fashion, dates back to millenary times.

For this, the use of color has been a key element in the development of garment design.

An example of this is China, where we can find natural dyes in textiles for more than 5,000 years.

With the advent of the industrial revolution and the search for cheaper synthetic materials, these were replaced by chemical dyes.

However, in the last decade consumers have begun to be concerned about their health and wellbeing, and so the possibility of resuming the use of natural dyes has resurfaced.

Some examples and their origins

The process of natural dyes is an ancestral knowledge that has been inherited to this day.

If we analyze ancestral cultures we can find the use of different roots, minerals, plants and animals to dye. We list some examples for you:

– Red – Grana Cochinilla
– Yellow – Chamizo Blanco, Sunflower, Cempaxúchitl Flower
– Black – Guaco
– Pink – Raspberry
– Purple – Purple Cabbage, Beetroot, Mountain Juniper
– Blue – Blueberry
Among others

What is the process for dyeing with natural dyes?

When collecting plants or materials for dyes it is important to make sure that we are not using something that could be poisonous. We can begin to follow a series of steps:

The first step is to create the dye

– Put the water in a pot and add the parts of the plant, mineral or whatever we are going to use to create the dye, a tip is to shred it or cut it into small pieces to facilitate the extraction of the color.
– We should simmer them for ½ to 1 hour (just below boiling point). This will allow all the color to come out and integrate with the water. We can let the color reduce a little so that it remains with a higher concentration.
– Finally, it is important to extract the pieces to leave only the liquid dye that we will use.

Ready to dye!

– We can add alum and cream of tartar to the water to achieve greater softness in the fibers and ensure that the color is maintained.
– Submerge the previously moistened fibers/yarns and simmer until the materials look a little darker than the desired color, stirring and submerging occasionally. And take them out once they are ready.

Do not forget to take them out and rinse them.

– Once we remove the material from the pot it is important to rinse with warm water until cool and hang to dry.

Now that you know the steps you are ready to start making the first tests with natural dyes.

At Creamodite we are in a constant search to find solutions and proposals to counteract the impacts of the industry.

Creamodite has been researching and promoting the zero-waste fashion design and patternmaking method since 2016, with sustainable design methodologies capable of achieving garments with zero waste by working with shapes.

If you want to learn the method, you have the online course.

For more info contact us at info@workef.com or on our website creamodite.org

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