FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Services

We begin by having you fill out this form so we have an idea of what is to be dyed, what colour, and when you need it.   In most cases, we will go through a sampling stage prior to dyeing the actual project, whereby you’ll have the opportunity to choose from a few swatches. This stage follows after the agreement and deposit has been made.

The process of dyeing includes a series of steps that involve:

  1. Preparation: a)  Weighing.  The weight of fibre (WOF) is important.  Measuring and weighing the materials allows us to determine how much soap will be used for scouring, how much mordant is needed, and how much dyestuff to use.  b)  Scouring.  The material is ‘cooked’ in a pot of water with soap.  The type of soap used is dependant on whether the material is protein (like wool or silk), or cellulosic (like cotton or linen).  c)  Mordanting.  Dependant on the dyestuff being used, this step or steps is crucial to ensure that the dyestuff will bind to the fibres.
  2. Getting the dye pot ready: Extracting the dye (unless the dyestuff is already in extract form).  This means boiling the dyestuff in a pot of water.  In the case of indigo, an indigo vat is typically prepared and requires a different procedure.
  3. Artwork (if requested) such as shibori or dip-dye/ombre effect.  Shibori is the Japanese word that stems from the verb shiboru, to wring, squeeze, press.”   There is a variety of different methods with Shibori, such as pole wrapping, stitching, binding, clamping, knotting.  These methods manipulate the fabric to create resists and the exposed areas will be dyed.  The resisted areas will remain the original colour of the fabric after dyeing and the Shibori methods have been removed.  Think:  Tie-Dye, but much more diversified!
  4. Dyeing.  Dependant on the dyestuff used, the materials will be immersed in the the pot of of extracted dye with heat immersion or cold immersion;  In the case of indigo, an indigo vat is typically used.  For certain colours, shades, or multiple colours, this dyeing process will require more that one step.
  5. Final Wash.  Dependant on the dyestuff used, this step will follow the appropriate method of washing to rid of excess dyestuff sitting on the fibres.
  6. Ironing/Steaming  (if fabric).

Natural dyestuff examples include: indigo, madder root, logwood, cochineal, weld, quebracho, and we enjoy using things that would otherwise go to compost such as avocado pits + peels, onion skins, wilted flowers from florists. Experimentations include fallen things found in nature such as nut hulls, acorns, bark, leaves.

We will work with 100% natural fibres only.  Examples include: silk, wool, cotton, hemp, linen. Synthetic fibres such as polyester and nylon do not take natural dyes. 

We can dye fabric, yarn, and fleece.  We can garment dye as well, but note that anything synthetic such as threads, zippers, patches, will not take on the dye.  Additionally, we will need to review the garment or item to determine if any side effects such as distortion will occur as a result of the dyeing process.

Naturally dyed items are different than synthetically dyed items.  The variations of shades are part of the beauty and take on a ‘living’ quality.  Naturally dyed textiles do not have the same flat & consistent appearance that synthetically dyed textiles have. In some cases, naturally dyed textiles may come out slightly patchy due to varying factors. While we strive to naturally dye as consistent as possible, it is thus important to understand variances are likely to occur when seeking to have something naturally dyed.   We’re happy to chat with you further about this!

Yes, you can! However, it is important to use a PH neutral soap. With mild dish soaps that are labeled mild, gentle, or great for hands, chances are their pH level is somewhere right around 7. You only need a small amount (less than a teaspoon) to wash a garment. Cold water, hand wash, and line dry is best.

Naturally dyed items should never be drycleaned.

Chemical detergents, soaps that are not PH neutral, vinegar, and lemon juice will alter the colour of your naturally dyed item.

Is it your wedding? We can work together with your tailor to have your fabric dyed.

Or perhaps it is your wedding dress that you would like transformed into a new garment? We have done this for a client that desired her altered wedding dress to be transformed into a burnt orange evening dress to attend her cousin’s wedding! We love this mindset because it is aligned with our values of refurbishing and finding ways to use what you already have.

Please plan in advance if you need your project dyed by a particular date. If you are approaching us with a new project, it is best to begin at least one month in advance; However, if we’ve worked with you and your project before, then lead time may be as little as 2 weeks, depending on current capacity. When you supply us info in the form, we an determine how long it will take.

We will work with 100% natural fibres only.  Examples include: silk, wool, cotton, hemp, linen. Synthetic fibres such as polyester and nylon do not take natural dyes. 

We can dye fabric, yarn, and fleece.  We can garment dye as well, but note that anything synthetic such as threads, zippers, patches, will not take on the dye.  Additionally, we will need to review the garment or item to determine if any side effects such as distortion will occur as a result of the dyeing process.

For further info, have a look above at the answer to question, “What are examples of natural dyes and what can be dyed?”

Swatches of Naturally Dyed SilkWe are working towards providing you a pallette that you can purchase for a small fee!

Meanwhile, in regards to our dyeing services, we will provide you a few swatches in your actual fabric after the agreement & deposit has been made. If you don’t have spare fabric or scraps of the item you would like dyed, then we will see what we have as a close match!

We sure can! Get in touch with us through the contact form and Daphne will be happy to chat further about what we can offer you.

As mentioned under question, “What is the process of natural dyeing”, naturally dyed items are different than synthetically dyed items.  The variations of shades are part of the beauty and take on a ‘living’ quality.  Naturally dyed textiles do not have the same flat & consistent appearance that synthetically dyed textiles have. In some cases, naturally dyed textiles may come out slightly patchy due to varying factors. While we strive to naturally dye as consistent as possible, it is thus important to understand variances are likely to occur when seeking to have something naturally dyed.

Madder Root Dye Pot

The process of natural dyeing is time consuming, but very rewarding, hence the term “slow fashion”. When engaged with natural dyes, there are no expectations; only the awareness that connecting with nature can create something instrinsically luminous which is unachieveable with synthetics. An art of working with nature rather than against it. 

We’re happy to chat with you further about this!

We are working towards providing a palette for you. Natural Dye PotMeanwhile, generally speaking, natural dyes tend to have a earthy colour. Look around you and see the colours of nature. This is not to say that the colour we see in a leaf will be the resulting colour when dyeing on textiles. In fact, this is very unlikely. With our dyeing services, we have confidence in using dyestuff that has been tried, true, and tested; then we are also most likely to know its’ level of colourfastness and what mordants to use.

No.
In the natural dye world, there is a term for dyes that are not really dyes but are actually stains. The term is ‘fugitive’. This may apply also to dyes that are not strong in colourfastness. Beets fall in this category. We tend to refrain from using fugitive dyes if they are known to fade, drastically change colour through time, or wash out. That said, we are learning that experiementation and a light hearted approach to curiosity is just as important to creating what we consider ‘quality’ items. There is no right or wrong… but definitely better options to provide our customers in the world of natural dyes. It is definitely an evolving process of learning, testing, and a good dose of humility.

Harnessing Colour from Nature Workshop - Photo by Joel Spooner @joeliphoto
Harnessing Colour from Nature
Photo by Joel Spooner @joeliphoto
We plan to host workshops around 4 times per year.  Workshops include “Harnessing Colour from Nature”  (naturally dyeing where participants can have an introduction to the beauty of natural dyes and take their dyed scarf home), “Ceremonial Indigo”  (dyeing with indigo where participants can have an introduction to indigo dyeing and take their dyed scarf home), and “Elasticated Bracelet Making” (having a large selection of natural beads where participants can learn to make their own bracelet to take home).  If you would like to be notified when these events occur, please sign up for our newsletter.
Natural Dyeing Workshop - Photo by Joel Spooner @joeliphoto
Natural Dyeing Workshop
Photo by Joel Spooner @joeliphoto

We can provide all materials however we require a venue that has access to a large sink, table or counter space, good lighting & ventilation, and ideally a stove.  (or very good power supply to accommodate an electrical hotplate). 

Pole wrapping fabric
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