I have been on a long flowing bohemian kick. Last week I thought I would give natural dying a try to add more knowledge of textiles to my tool box. Boy did I learn a lot!

A more successful part of this endeavor was the 1970s pattern for my Dayton Dressmakers Club Meet Up’s pattern swap.

Tracy McElfresh Natural Dying

My idea was to buy our white Cotton and Steel double gauze and make a romantic light pink peasant dress with cream color lace on its borders. It’s a good thing I go with the flow and if it doesn’t turn out the way I think it will I do not get upset or give up.

Tracy McElfresh

I referred to the internet for help on natural dye to learn what food and veggies will turn fabric different colors and how the process works. I saw that if you want pink you should use cherries or strawberries. Throwing some beets in would surely stain my fabric too, right?

I learned I needed to prime my fabric to get it ready to soak up the dye by soaking it for an hour in vinegar or salt. I chose to use salt for my first try.

I went to my grocery store and picked out beets and black cherry juice concentrate for my first experiment.

After soaking my fabric in the priming solution of salt I gave the fabric a good spin in the washer. I think I should have used vinegar.

Tracy McElfresh Natural Dying

Next, I juiced the beets and put the pulp in cheese cloth. I took all of that and boiled my fabric in the solution for 1 hour. This was my first mistake. My first attempt was a light tan.

My second attempt turned out much better. I soaked it overnight.Tracy McElfresh Natural Dying

After making my dress, I sewed two rows of black Venice lace together to give this peasant dress a Game of Thrones look.

Tracy McElfresh Natural Dying

Here is my finished dress!!

Tracy McElfresh Natural Dying Tracy McElfresh Natural Dying

I find it so interesting my dress turned out beige. Learning something new is always so much fun.

Please join me next week for part two using turmeric. I am making a Viking apron dress.

Behind the scenes~

New virtual online classes! They all run for one week and $10-$15.

I’m wrapping up personal projects, before returning to work July 6th. My friend from Australia, Samantha, owner of Riley Street Photography gifted me this beautiful vintage fabric. I paired it with Australian patterns by Style Arc.

Thank you so much Sam!

Thank you for reading!

Tracy Mcelfresh

Dream it! Sew it!