Dyeing used silk by simmering: 3 lessons

I decided to give the steamer a break and make an onion dye bath in the boiler. Before bundling local and garden material around sticks, I rinsed each piece of silk in a dilute iron water solution (see Lesson 2 below).

Some of the silk pieces were rescued from worn /worn out silk garments.  I learned a good lesson with these. Lesson 1: bundle up the softer plants only as tough stems rip the old fabric.



A former cream silk shirt sleeve


I quite like the effect of the embroidery on this piece from a silk pyjama top.

Lesson 2: Use more iron!  I am reasonably happy with the results below although I think some of them would have been more striking if the iron solution had been stronger.



Casuarina needles and oregano


Miscellaneous fallen Eucalyptus leaves from the Bayswater wetlands

Lesson 3:  the nature of the “bandage” affects the penetration of the dye into  the fabric.  Where I used cotton gauze to bind the bundles there was a greater contribution from the onion skins than in the cases where I used heavier cotton.



Heavier cotton on the left and the gauze on the right.

My next blog will record the result of adding a lump of scrap iron to the same bath as was used for the pieces above.

This entry was posted in dyeing with red onion, Eucalyptus sp as dye, Murraya paniculata (orange jessamine) as dye, Natural dyeing. Bookmark the permalink.

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