I'd had an indigo dye vat in the cupboard for over a year but had been too scared to use it! Scared... really?! Well, I was worried more about wasting it or getting it wrong in some way, so after my natural dyeing intensive, I felt ready to set it up.
It was the kind of kit that included a chemical reducing agent rather than natural fruit sugars so I also wanted to ensure I didn't poison the family by splashing it around the kitchen and waited for some fine spring weather.
I raided my wardrobe which has a plentiful supply of items which haven't been worn for at least a year! I decided to try some shibori stitch resist around the lower legs of some white linen trousers.
I realised after much stitching that it was quite difficult to get a tight bind with thin thread, so over tied with thicker string.
I set up the indigo dye vat in the garden using a plastic box with a lid, to reduce the oxidisation of the liquid. Notice my handy stirring stick! Very useful for mixing in more reducing agent.
Indigo is perhaps the most fun of all the natural dyeing techniques I'd tried as watching the transformation when you take the fabric out of the vat is SO EXCITING!!! The trousers quickly changed from lime green, to green, to turquoise to deep blue in a matter of minutes, I was a bit gutted I couldn't keep this turquoise which had patches of lime which complimented it so well!
I dipped the trousers a couple of times once oxidised, to intensify the colour but with this particular kit, I realised that the really deep navy blues were not going to be possible. I think this fact, along with the environmental considerations, means that I will probably start my own natural fructose based indigo dye vat as soon as possible.
Releasing the bindings was quite a slow process due to my intricate stitching which didn't really affect the dye outcome as obviously as I'd hoped. The string would have sufficed!
I tried a stitch resist on a linen skirt too (above) but as you can see, it's quite subtle. I'll no doubt over dye and play again with these clothes as they don't have the depth of colour I was after but this was one more learning experience which convinced me that the natural indigo dye bath is the way to go.