Thursday, March 24, 2022

Eco Dyeing Mania #2: Hyper-Local Couture


Test-dyeing to see what works

Hyper-Local Couture

The ongoing experiments with eco-dyeing and the heightened focus on my own limited environs during the pandemic led to this concept of hyper-local couture. Hyper-local couture is clothing made from recycled natural fabrics and eco-dyed using plants that can be found in the immediate neighborhood of the wearer.

The Lake Merritt Top

The Lake Merritt top is comprised of scraps of fabric dyed using plants foraged during walks around my neighborhood. By the time I made the top I was well versed in which plants would work, and used copper and iron mordants to vary the colors of both the cloth background and the plant prints. Copper gives a greenish yellow tone while iron offers a rich, earthy, reddish-brown to black tone.

Lake Merritt shirt: front




Me wearing the Lake Merritt shirt

The Northeastern Connecticut Top

This next top emerged from an ad hoc eco-dyeing workshop I offered to a few friends at a lovely rambling house in northeastern Connecticut with equally lovely rambling grounds bursting with foliage — much of which I was unfamiliar with. As a result, the first part of the workshop involved foraging and testing plants and trying to figure out which plants lent themselves to eco-dyeing (see top photo in this post).

All participants, including myself, walked away with pieces of eco-dyed fabric. What better way to say thank you for a wonderful interlude in the Connecticut countryside than to use those scraps of fabric to create a piece of hyper-local couture for the hostess, based entirely on plants found in her own backyard.

Connecticut shirt: front view


Detail: lining from recycled men's shirt



Modeling the shirt before sending it off

For more about ongoing eco-dyeing mania and some helpful how-to links, see Eco Dyeing Mania Part One


  1. Your creativity knows no bounds! Thank you for sharing such a marvelously generous blog! Your photos are beautiful and I love your metal daybed ringed with red pillows , lovely! I am completely inspired to forage plant matter and delve into discovering the satisfactions of eco-dyeing and copper + iron mordants.

  2. Your eco dying results are some of the loveliest I have seen.


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