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Experimenting with Natural Plant Dyes from your Garden

"By up-cycling your clothes, you could save an estimated 12kg CO2 per month (120kg per year), just by extending the life of your clothing."

I think growing up with a crafty mom I am always more inclined to mend things, add a pocket over a tear and tie-dye the hell over a stain (what stain?) and now owning my own fashion label it pains me when I have a damaged garment (damn make-up in the fitting room for example) and it goes into a “damaged box” it actually feels like a stone in my shoe just looking at that useless annoying box filled with good stuff…

Queue the crafty! Enough of this “just chuck it out business” let’s fix it! Did you know I am happy to fix your Dreamers & Drifters garments in our Byron Store for free? Yup my sewing machine is set up and there’s nothing more I’d like to do but extend the life (and joy) of your favourite D&D buy. Sorry, I digress, back to the plant dye experiments.

So we took a few items from our damaged box and a bunch of sample whites ready for a new look and this is what we did.................

What you will need:

A stove
Pots, a long spoon
Onion skins (brown and purple)
Red Cabbage
Avacado pips
A glass of wine (red or white depending on time of day)

The Recipe – Onion Skins 

  1. As many onion skins as you can peel until you’re too teary to keep peeling
  2. Enough water to cover your skins
  3. Let your Onion Skin soup simmer for about an hour
  4. Take out the onion skins using a colander
  5. Your garments or fabric should be WET before you put it into the Onion Soup, pop them into a HOT bath pre-dying for best results (it helps achieve an even colour).
  6. Cook for 1 hour, use a long wooden spoon to free air bubbles and submerge your fabric.
  7. For best results, don’t put too many items into your Dye Bath, more space for the dye to attached to the garments you’re dying.
  8. Allowing the Onion soup + fabric to cool together will give you a brighter dye result, overnight or even a few days (as long as you can keep your curiosity at bay!)
  9. let the fibers cool in the dyebath this will give brighter results
  10. Rinse with cold water until water runs clear and hang to dry in a sunny spot
  11. Drink your wine.
  12. I can't stress how important Step number 11 is.

These are the other colours we achieved:

Brown onion skins - peach colour

Red onion skins - blush colour

Red cabbage - light indigo

Avocado pips - light pink colour

Turmeric - yellow

Things to note:

Plant dyes always come out a little lighter
All dyes generally wash out slightly, so hand washing is key.
You can also try "setting your dye" with adding 1/2 cup table salt and one cup vinegar. The vinegar and salt work together to naturally lock the color into the fabric.
Or save your colour by just washing your clothing less /or for shorter amounts time, this really does save the planet from unnecessary micro-fibres washing into our oceans.. (just a thought).


2 Responses



November 19, 2019




November 19, 2019


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