More Garden Dyeing

The same tunic  – before and after. Made from an old sheet and solar dyed in daffodil heads.

The colour is actually more yellow than green – rather like these primroses:


For those of you who would like the technical details, here goes:

10th April left in sour milk overnight and dried in the shade without rinsing.

11th April Left overnight in water and washing soda. Dried without rinsing.

12th April As 10th April.

13th April Rinsed, soaked in cider vinegar previously used to pickle eggs – not sure why but it seemed like a good idea. Added the daffodil heads and the warm water they had been heated in. I covered the pot with a sack and left it in the greenhouse. I stirred it daily until:

27th April Removed from the pot, rinsed it in warm water and hung it undercover to drip dry. The result is a very pretty pale yellow that’s hard to convey in photos.

It’s now in a drawer to mature until I’m ready for the next stage – probably leaf prints.

This is a probably the dullest skirt in the world as it is but I’m hoping it’ll soon be much more exciting. I made it from the Irish linen I had to buy so much of last year when I was making the OneYearOneOutfit top. This piece was mordanted in milk when I made the top and has been sitting in a dark place ever since. I’ve also soaked it in warm water & washing soda.

I used the brown thread for some decorative hand stitching – oddly the thread was still in good condition when I found it in an old box full of sewing stuff. It’s important to me to use these old things and I’m thinking of using some (probably 1960s / 1970s) press studs to fasten it.

Incidentally, I used my 1930s Singer to sew most of the seams. It’s hand cranked and I keep wondering whether I could find a treadle to put it in. I think it might be easier to use that way.


The skirt is currently cooling in another pot of daffodil dye. I think next time I will solar dye as the smell of the daffodils cooking is awful and can’t possibly be doing me any good.

I will update you when I see the result.

If you would like to see more frequent but brief postings, please follow me on Instagram – find me by clicking on the photos at the side of my blog.

Thanks for dropping by,

Norma x

P.S. I have since looked up daffodil flowers and find that they are poisonous if eaten.  I wore gloves to process and covered the pot because of the smell. For future reference I think solar dyeing is the way to go for me.





Filed under Clothes, dyeing, fashion, sewing, Singer sewing machines, slow dyeing, solar dyeing, textiles

20 responses to “More Garden Dyeing

  1. Great experiments. I have about 3 daffodils in my garden so probably won’t be doing this anytime soon! Please note that the bulbs are poisonous but I don’t know about the flowers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So interesting seeing these processes Norma. Your patience and commitment are hugely inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the colour you’ve produced there. I didn’t think daffodils would smell so bad – that and the sour milk, sounds truly awful!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the color of the shirt made from a sheet–can’t wait to see the leaf prints.
    Here in Big Bend I have found out about the cochineal ( which is like a white fly that lives on cactus. i haven’t seen any but I have been closely examining all cacti as I pass. You get a nice carmine or scarlet color from squishing them–the Indians used them for dye (
    I am keeping my eyes open for other plants too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s so fun to read about your process, Norma! So you made the skirt with a hand crank machine? Wow! I’m heading to your IG account now, to make sure I’m following you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Norma, I prefer reading the longer posts. This way I gain a greater appreciation for the process. I agree it’s hard to photograph the colors. I’ll wait to see the finished product. Perhaps by then you can photograph the daffodil dyed shirt in the sunlight?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope I will be able to get a good view of the colour. In the drawer it looks very pretty. Perhaps I should try that.
      I have just started the process for the Curlew dress – just prewashing the fabric – it has to be fully shrunk before I start because it’ll be subject to so much treatment to get the colour. In fairness I don’t think it’s shrunk at all.


      • That sounds like a good idea. I’ve found that you have to experiment with lighting and background when photographing certain things. I’m working on the belt for the 1930s dress. Another challenge came up because the fabric was spotted in places. I had to cut on the cross instead of lengthwise grain. Plus I ran short for the final belt. I found a good solution and will be posting soon. Then I’m FINALLY finished! Even the tortoise crosses the finish line but oh what fun experience it’s been.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad it’s been fun – sewing should always be that, I think. I’ll watch out for your post and aim as ever to learn from it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The belt will be finished this week. The dress needs a good pressing and now thread carriers for the belt. Then I’ll be ready to photograph it.

        My own sized form should be ready in another 5-7 weeks. I already have some retro ideas for myself. I want to glam up a 1950s house dress and wear one as an alternative to jeans. I feel I’m not looking my best in them anymore.

        For the size 4 the next 1930s dress is in planning. I can’t resist the call of 2 projects at once although I was hesitant at first.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Two projects at once sounds a lot but it sometimes aids progress to see something else whilst thinking or waiting for supplies. I like to do several projects at once for that reason.
        A 1950s house dress sounds interesting

        Liked by 1 person

      • Those are my thoughts exactly. The project for me will have priority. Some of the house dresses were so pretty that I believe today they would be acceptable as a go-anywhere dress. I’ll post screen shots soon.


  7. Pingback: Scrap Happy May | She Sews You Know

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