STUDIO NOTES: DYEING TEES FOR THE FLORAL SOCIETY

The latest collaboration with my dear friends at The Floral Society is here! It’s an ode to flowers with a touch of vintage nostalgia. I dyed a special batch of TFS’s Flower Camp T-Shirts, emulating the playful, moving colors of flowers found in nature. Color in nature is never flat, and we wanted to give this same depth to the t-shirts, transforming creamy cotton into a painterly palette. 

These are truly like your favorite vintage tee, with hand-drawn floral illustrations, ready to be worn and enjoyed again and again. 

I developed three separate palettes with some of my most beloved dyes:

POMEGRANATE WITH QUEBRACHO ROJO

  • Pomegranate dye is made from the rind of the fruit. It is an earthy, golden color. Can be referred to as a compost dye, as it is made from food waste that would typically find its way to the compost pile.
  • Quebracho rojo is a very hearty tree from South America. The dye comes from the wood itself, though I typically source it in extract form.

CUTCH WITH MADDER

  • Cutch is another dye from a tree, specifically acacia catechu, most commonly from India. It is one of my most treasured dyes to work with, creating a gorgeous warm neutral that harmonizes beautifully with my favorite colors—earthy pinks and olives.
  • Madder is derived from the roots of the madder plant, rubia tinctorum. The sticky plant has impressive growth and has earned the nickname in my personal garden "Goddess Madder" as she has taken over the bed and all along the fence. The plant must grow for 3-5 years to produce strong color in the roots. It is one of the oldest and strongest natural dyes.

OSAGE WITH IRON

  • Osage is yet another dye made from the wood of the almighty Osage tree. The sawdust is soaked and then heated 3 separate times to extract as much of the golden color as possible.
  • Ferrous sulfate, or iron, is a modifier that shifts yellow tones to a lovely, earthy bronze patina.

For the first two palettes, Pomegranate with Quebracho Rojo and Cutch with Madder, I bound the tees before submerging. The color must seek out the fabric in order to adhere to it; the ties guide the dye into undulating lights and darks.

For the osage, I used the dye bath over and over, until the color exhausted, to make the most of this precious natural material. The result of each long soak is totally unique—the color finds the fabric in its own organic pattern.

Each tee, like the plants that gave them their color, is slightly different.

Caring for your new, naturally dyed t-shirt: machine wash cold on delicate cycle, inside out, with plant based, PH neutral detergent. Air dry for best longevity.

Shop the collection on The Floral Society. Wear, enjoy, wash gently, repeat.

— Anne-Marie

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