“In demonstrating natural dyeing for the Introduction to Textiles class, it showed the original way fabric was dyed using herbs, flowers, and vegetables. We used turmeric and red cabbage as the dye sources. The experiment also showed students a more sustainable way to dye fabric using natural dyes as well as how much time and energy it takes to make the beautiful colors we see in our clothing today.” – Professor, Leslie Simpson
On Monday, March 30th, 2015, Professor Leslie Simpson and I demonstrated a natural fabric dying with her Introduction to Textiles class. We began with boiling water in two pots on an electric portable double burner. Once the water came to a rolling boil we added hand shredded week old red cabbage to one pot, turmeric powder to the other pot, and a tablespoon of kosher salt to each pot. Following the steps in a natural dying video tutorial we found (the link is posted below), we allowed the red cabbage and the turmeric to boil for 30 minutes. While the dye was boiling I pre-soaked our strips of natural fabrics in warm water. Once the red cabbage was finished boiling, Professor Simpson, strained the dye, and poured the water, free of cabbage pieces, back into the pot. We then split our fabric in half, placing half of our natural fabrics in the turmeric pot and the other half in the red cabbage pot, which we then let boil for 45 minutes. The students participated by pulling the fabric strips from the dye, rising, and drying it.
Please check out the helpful YouTube video we used as a guideline for our natural dye test: “How-To Make Your Own Natural Dye with the EtsyLabs”