Author Topic: British plant fabric colours  (Read 115 times)

Holly

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British plant fabric colours
« on: August 05, 2022, 10:47:44 PM »
whilst researching fabric colours, came across this which indicates the colours you can get from British plant flowers, leaves and roots

  • Dave Hollin

John GL

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Re: British plant fabric colours
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2022, 11:43:45 PM »
How about woad for blue?
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Chuck the Grey

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Re: British plant fabric colours
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2022, 12:46:43 AM »
Interesting stuff Dave. Muted colors, but a wider selection than some would have us believe was available. I am somewhat hesitant to inquire about the item titled Red Hot Poker.
  • Chuck Cochran

Holly

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Re: British plant fabric colours
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2022, 12:57:11 AM »
kniphovia  :)

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Denis Grey

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Re: British plant fabric colours
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2022, 08:02:52 AM »
kniphovia  :)

Edward II's favourite flower.
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Erpingham

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Re: British plant fabric colours
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2022, 08:39:14 AM »
kniphovia  :)

Which is a native of South Africa.
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Holly

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Re: British plant fabric colours
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2022, 08:47:23 AM »
kniphovia  :)
And my granny's favourite  :)

Which is a native of South Africa.
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Erpingham

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Re: British plant fabric colours
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2022, 09:42:08 AM »
There's quite a craft industry in natural dyes out there and lots of pretty colour shots.  However, modern dyers don't necessarily use ancient techniques and you have to watch that they use only materials available at the time.

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Holly

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Re: British plant fabric colours
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2022, 09:55:33 AM »
true...although I suspect that there are many similar natural dyes not in the picture that were available and giving similar results

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Re: British plant fabric colours
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2022, 11:10:53 AM »
true...although I suspect that there are many similar natural dyes not in the picture that were available and giving similar results

Curiosity piqued, I had a quick google about.  Here are three sites with some examples and recipes that demonstrate range of colour and how easy to obtain they were :

https://historicenterprises.com/fabrics-colors-c-100_198_200.html

https://www.jennydean.co.uk/mediaeval-dyes/

http://postej-stew.dk/2019/05/medieval-fabrics-part-2/

And, given your interest in Welsh sheep husbandry,  don't forget the various shades of natural wool colour (many older breeds have brown to black fleeces, rather than greys and creams)


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Holly

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Re: British plant fabric colours
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2022, 01:07:27 PM »
Very true. Welsh Mountain sheep are traditionally dark brown or black
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NickHarbud

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Re: British plant fabric colours
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2022, 01:50:19 PM »
Does anyone have any indication as to how permanent or fast these natural dyes might have been?  I mean, most natural dyes tend to rapidly fade in sunlight, which could leave everything looking distinctly washed out.

Of course, these being dyes that are readily available from local plants, they would doubtless provide the colour to the lower classes.  Any ideas for other dyes, such as ochre, mananese oxide, indigo, etc?
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Re: British plant fabric colours
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2022, 02:14:57 PM »
There is some discussion of permanence in the articles I linked to - like lots of things, it varies :)  One of the sources of fading that we associate with natural dyes, their fastness in the wash, was less of an issue as clothes were rarely washed but fading by wear or sunlight would still be an issue. 

The origin of cloth also affected the colours available.  Home dyeing had less access to some ingredients than commercial dyeing - not just dyes but also chemicals used as mordants. 

Indigo was probably not used much in Northern Europe, as the same dye was available in woad (though less concentrated).  Not sure on minerals in dyes - most appear to have been plant based, though one of the sources I referred to has some recipes from a German medieval dye recipe book has colours based on pigments like cinnabar and verdigris.
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Jim Webster

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Re: British plant fabric colours
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2022, 04:02:20 PM »
Does anyone have any indication as to how permanent or fast these natural dyes might have been?  I mean, most natural dyes tend to rapidly fade in sunlight, which could leave everything looking distinctly washed out.



Hence the predominance of browns, as mountain sheep rarely look washed out and retain their colour  :D
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Holly

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Re: British plant fabric colours
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2022, 04:06:36 PM »
Does anyone have any indication as to how permanent or fast these natural dyes might have been?  I mean, most natural dyes tend to rapidly fade in sunlight, which could leave everything looking distinctly washed out.



Hence the predominance of browns, as mountain sheep rarely look washed out and retain their colour  :D

especially Welsh Mountain sheep as they are permanently soaked!
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