Sunday, September 19, 2010

Natural Elderberry Dye (on organic cotton undergarments)

Remember how I was cooking down elderberries the other week? I used most of the elderberries I had growing in the medicinal recipe I put in the freezer... but one little bunch was left on the bush and I wanted to experiment with using it as a dye on some organic cotton undergarments (wife beater undershirt & thong panties) that I got from American Apparel's organic section online.
The undergarments were un-dyed to begin with, just the natural organic cotton color which is a slightly off white. (For those of you with MCS { chem sensitivities} I found that these undies were not overly chemical smelling, and that AA is doing a fairly good job with their organic line. The smell they did hold washed out really easy for me.)
HOW TO ::::
I believe there are various ways to prepare the elderberry dye - but what I did this time was cook it down with a lil' bit of apple cider vinegar and then let the cotton clothing sit in the dye bath overnight.
I am pretty certain you can get a MUCH darker color from this if you have tons of elderberries (which I didn't have anymore). Also, i think for a blue/ purple color that is dark possibly not cooking them at all, but crushing them up into a liquid, adding the vinegar and then putting the garments in would be really awesome, and likely a very deep dye.
I hung them out in the sun to dry, and as with all natural dyes the color will lighten as the fabric dries. This small amount of elderberries made a nice shade of pink... that leans on the lavender side.
Pretty earthy & cool!


Cosmic said...

I do really appreciate your ecological-sound tips, thanks for sharing Leslie(setting with cider vinegar is a great idea:)!


Lou Cheese said...

I was unable to find un-dyed organic fabric by the yard in a couple of fabric stores, which was surprising for Madison. I never thought about finding a T shirt or wifebeater from a clothing line, although that would be a little more pricey.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Thanks Cosmic- super glad to never suggest something bad for the planet. :)))

Mr Cheese---
The best place to get un-dyed organic fabric is online. You can find tons of places that sell it - i like our local organic cotton maker "Spiritex", but you have to call them and talk on the phone cause their websites aren't all that great (in my opinion, last time i checked).
It is slightly more pricey to buy the un-dyed stuff already made, unless you buy in bulk which can get you discounts sometimes. Since i keep not too much clothing to begin with and buy only a little bit at a time it helps to save money. But I am very hard on my clothes and shoes and find that i wear them out often.

Gratuitous said...

Again with the undergarments? Just post a pic of you in your skivvies and get it over with already. I'm tired of putting two and two together.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Gratu -
Undergarments are so essential, and I clean them more often then anything else I own... also for some reason I am always losing them too (like where do they all go???) and having to get new pairs.

I am SO not going to be posing in these, this is my first thong i have invited into my life and am not yet 'OnE With Tha Thong'.

As a friend of mine used to say to me a LONG time ago "my dream world is better then the real one."

Anonymous said...

Are you a woman or a man?

Gratuitous said...

Are you certain you know which one is the dream and which is the reality?

Einstein: "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."

Gratuitous said...

As for "Anonymous," if you have to ask than it probably doesn't even matter to you. But just in case, oh she's very much a woman.

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your tips, thanks for sharing ..
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