Monday, 29 December 2014

Fabric Dyeing vol.1--- with Red Onion Skins

I bought 2 meters of white calico fabric from Ebay. It has very nice handfeel but unfortunately it is more light weight than I expected so it seems quite seethrough. I was thinking of to use it as lining or small details in bags etc but at that time I received an order and needed to use it for a kids apron. The plan was to make some cute appliques and hand drawings on front and I believed white fabric was a good choise to make all handmade detals more visible and striking.
But then when I was working on white fabric I realized that it is quite hard to work with as it is a big effort to keep it clean especially during the drawing So natural off white calico fabric color might be a better choise for the future... hereby you may see some photos of drawings and appliques from that apron. It turned out very cute and my customer loved it

Vespa is an appliqué which was cut from a nice fabric

 Hearts and flowers are felt appliqués and were hand sewn on apron.

After all, result was satisfying for me and I was happy with the apron but I was keeping to complain about “white” fabric . Then an idea appeared in my mind when I was preparing dinner; red onions… I put red onion skins aside first then I stirred up red onions with some soy sauce for dinner. It was a delicious side dish I recommend it.

I couldn’t wait to see the result of dyeing so long because onion skin had a gorgeous color. I cut almost half meters of fabric and put them in a big steel stewpot together with onion skins, then added a little salt and covered all of them with water. In fact the reason of adding salt is to improve the fastness of color, it helps dye stuff molecules to hold on to fabric fibers tightly and it is more necessary on darker colors than this color. So it is not a must with red onion skin dyeing.

It boiled around 1 hour then I took the fabric away from stewpot and rinsed with fresh water. Finally here is the result it is a very soft and natural color, a mixture of off white, light yellow and a little very light brown.

You might be surprised or disappointed after seeing the color, if so probably you were expecting another shade which is close to red onion skin color more red or burgundy. But red onion skin is natural “dye stuff” so, its color may vary from onion to onion due to its nature, also fiber type affects the color as well. My fabric was %100cotton, so if you use another fabric composition your results will definitely change.
Anyway I am very happy with the color because it is totally soft and natural so it must be a good point to use natural dye stuffs and have this kind of color shade.
As it is a quite light color I don’t think there will be a problem with its color fastness  but it is always good to be in safe side, so pls try to hand wash this fabric or machine wash with very similar colors at max. 30 degrees celcius.
As a summary I used 2,5 pcs of big red onion skins for half meters of %100 cotton calico fabric. (and 1 teaspoon of salt but as I mentioned above it is not a must for this light color shade)
My next project will be with spinach and will be shared here..

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