There are a variety of plants, like avocados and even onions, that can be used to create organic dyes for clothing. The indigo plant been used for centuries to dye fabrics.
Last weekend, I attended an indigo dyeing workshop during the Slow Fashion Symposium in Atlanta. During the workshop, l learned all about the process of preparing indigo leaves into a usable vat for dyeing and dyed a garment using the indigo.
The instructors for my workshop grew the indigo we used themselves. After the indigo pigment is extracted from the leaves of the plant, it is used to create a liquid dye solution, or the vat.
You’ve probably observed a range of patterns on fabrics dyed using indigo. I started with a white shirt I’ve wanted to refashion because of a large permanent stain it has on one sleeve. Dyeing the shirt was a perfect alternative to discarding it. There are a variety of ways to create patterns, including wrapping and binding the fabric with bands and clips. I used clothes pins to bind the shirt and to create the square-like patterns that resulted.
After creating my pattern, I began the dyeing process by soaking my shirt in the bucket of water to make it fully porous to receive the dye. The next steps included soaking the top in the vat bucket for a few minutes and then removing the shirt from the dye, allowing it to sit for few minutes. As the shirt sits, the dye oxidizes and the color changes from a green to the blue hue. With each dip into the vat, the color becomes darker, so I repeated this process about four times until I achieved my desired shade of blue. Working with indigo is a very hands-on process. While my shirt was soaking in the vat, I gently moved it around in the bucket and massaged the dye into the fabric.
I was amazed by the beautiful blue hues and patterns created by everyone in my workshop. My own creation is below.
Working with the indigo dye was relaxing and it was also fun to transform an old top into something completely new. For this causal Friday look, I styled my shirt with high waist jeans and accessorized with green pieces, including a green beaded necklace, bucket purse, and shoes.
I hope you enjoyed learning about indigo dyes, as a natural way to dye fabrics. Thank you for reading and subscribe to my newsletter for regular updates.