The Natural Dye Process
Natural dyeing is a living process which changes from person to person and can be modified to best serve the fabric, available materials, and objective. Below is a brief summary of my own dye process, which is in no way meant to be used as instructions. Instead, I hope it provides insight into the slow production process behind each Wear Tinctoria garment.
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Sourcing sustainable fabrics (organic cotton, bamboo, linen, and hemp)
Sourcing used clothes from second hand stores to upcycle.
Estimate time - perpetually looking for new fabric suppliers and popping my head into vintage stores
Working with a local seamstress to make small batches of new clothes and mend the pre-loved items if necessary.
Estimate time - about one week (Fatima is a busy woman :) )
Boiling the fabric to wash away excess oils and starches that will cause uneven coloration on the fabric.
Estimate time - 5 to 10 hours depending on fabric needs
Preparing the fabric to bind with the dyes using proteins or mineral salts. On vegetable fibres, this includes a pre-mordant process to introduce tannins to the fabric.
Estimate time - 24 to 48 hours
Leaving fabric to cure after mordanting so the fabric completely binds with proteins or minerals.
Estimate time - 1 week to 1 month depending on the mordanting method
Dyeing the fabric using various techniques and plant-based pigments. Depending on the desired outcome, this process can be one step or many steps if the garment is dyeing using multiple techniques.
Estimate time - 24 hours to multiple days
In order to ensure maximum wash fastness, I like to allow the fabric to cure for at least a week before washing.
Estimate time - 1 to 2 weeks