Know your Dye
Properties Of Natural Dyes and Benefits
In the present times, with climate change becoming a major cause of concern, the requirement for functional clothing is also starting to rise. Natural dyes obtained from traditional dye giving plants are known to have therapeutic properties. Many plants contain secondary antimicrobials which give protection against microbial attack.
Natural dyes are biodegradable as well as non-toxic. Soft hues of soothing shades can be easily achieved using natural dyes. Natural dyes generate sustainable employment and income for the weaker section of the population in rural and suburban areas both for dyeing as well as for non-food crop farming to produce plants for the natural dyes. This very application of natural dyes has the potential to earn carbon credit by reducing consumption of fossil fuel or petroleum based synthetic dyes.
The subtle shades produced by natural dyes are usually mellow, lustrous and mildly soothing to the human eye. Natural dyes are suitable for protecting and preserving the archaic and traditional dyeing techniques for studying the ancient dyeing methods, coloured museum textiles and other textiles recovered by archaeology for the purpose of conservation and restoration of the heritage of old textiles.
Why Natural Dyes?
Harad may be classed as a mordant and a dye, giving a light silky yellow when applied. It is an important tannin based mordant for cotton in India and Southeast Asia due to the light warm colour it imparts to the cloth.
Myrobalan is a good foundation for overdyeing. It is also the perfect colour to lay down under a single indigo dip for teal. When used as a tannin mordant myrobalan requires 15-20% WOF. If used to create a soft butter yellow use 20-30% WOF.
Marigolds are inexpensive and commonly found as plants in local garden centres or they can be simply grown from seeds. Marigolds are almost always listed as a favourite for producing rich vibrant yellows, green-yellows and oranges depending on the dye concentration and choice of mordant.
The orange, yellow and reddish-yellow colour flowers contain several pigments which appear to vary with source and soil nature. The natural colourants mainly flavonoids and carotenoids present in the marigold were extracted by different techniques and used as natural colourants on different fabrics. The use of natural colourants exists from ancient times.
Tea is a tree or bush, consumed as a beverage made from the leaves. The plant is known to be evergreen and indigenous to Assam (India) and probably to parts of China and Japan. The lanceolate leaves are dark green, the blossom is cream-coloured and they have fragrance. The different classes of compound found in tea include: amino acids, caffeine, carbohydrates, chlorophyll, lipids, mineral, nucleotides, organic acids, polyphones, saponins, unsaponifiable compounds and volatile compounds of the polyphenols, catechins are the principle colourant species.
Tea leaf mordant, in combination with copper sulphate mordant and natural dyes, showed results of higher washing fastness as compared to only naturally dyed cotton fabrics.
Madder consists of one of the most complex groups of substances of any dye plant–more than twenty compounds are contained in the plant. Alizarin, the organic dye found in the madder plant, creates the crimson red that is generally associated with madder. However, there are yellow and purple colourants in the chemical mix, which is why madder produces such a wide variety of naturally-dyed colours.
The colour depends on the soil, the roots where grown, their age, the mineral content of the water used for dyeing, the temperature of the dye pot, and how much madder you use in relation to the fibre. You can dye the fabric in madder either cold or heated water. Add chalk and avoid high temperature to get better reds.
RED ONION SKIN
Onion skins are one of the best natural sources. They produce lovely, easily-extracted colours. The dye is absorbed well by the fibres without a mordant (a fixative or binder), which is usually required when using other botanicals for dyeing. And in order to change the onion-dyed fabric to the colour green, dip the dyed fabric into an iron mordant solution.
Beautiful Tesu flowers scientifically termed as Butea Monosperma is a small sized deciduous tree type that grows up to 15m. This dry-seasoned tree has a slow growth rate and is majorly used for medicinal purposes, natural dyes and timber.
These tesu flowers give out a sensational peace color that is used to elegantly dye the fabric by extracting the color pigment. Tesu is mostly for bleached and doubled pre-mordanted jute and linen textiles without wash but tesu gives out a vibrant color on cotton fabrics as well.