Natural Dyeing: Lac

This past weekend the weather was perfect, sunny and breezy, so I broke out the dye pot and did some fun natural dyeing! I had a bunch of pieces waiting for the dye pot that I had planned on dyeing back over the winter holidays. Unfortunately that all got put on hold with my injury. Now that I’m back to almost normal I’m excited to get back to dyeing.

I started in the morning on Friday prepping all my fabrics for dyeing for this month. I had a pile of bucket harts, headbands, fabric for a bag I’m making, regular yardage as well as this skirt I’ll be showing off today. I use Aluminum acetate to pretreat and followed that with a chalk bath for the pieces I planned to dye that weekend. I soaked my fabrics for a full day and a half and then rinsed everything. The pieces I dyed that day went into the chalk bath and the rest were hung up to dry, I’m planning on doing an indigo henna vat this coming weekend. I also have some Aquarelle Cutch and Sappanwood Sawdust on order to try out next.

I mixed my lac extract in some boiling water and then added the rest of my water and set it to heat on the stove. It simmered for an hour or so and then I transferred it to a large bucket outside along with more hot water to cover my yardage. After that was all mixed I added my fabrics ( hats, masks, headbands and the apron skirt). I carefully circulated them in the dye and let them sit all day. When I removed them I added another piece of fabric to the dye bath but I had pretty much exhausted the dye. It gave a very pale result to the second addition. But my main fabrics were stunning!

Mordant/ Pretreatment

I used Aluminum Acetate at 6% followed by a Chalk Bath (Calcium Carbonate) of 3 Tablespoons before dyeing for Bucket #1.

I had two buckets prepped for my Mordant:

Bucket #1: Hats, Skirt, Headbands and Face-masks ( all to be dyed in Lac) weighed in at approx. 1000g @6%= 60g AA

Bucket #2: Bag-making Yardage 820 g and Twill Fabric 730g 1550g @6%=93 g AA

I followed the general recipe from Journey’s in Natural Dyeing by Kristine Vejar and Adrienne Rodriguez for Cellulose Based Goods found on p. 221 (Beautiful book BTW)

Lac Dye:

I used a large stainless steel pot for my dye with 25g of Premium Lac Extract and no additions. My PH was pretty low at around 2.5-3. After my dye was heated and simmered for about an hour it was added to a larger bucket with additional hot water outdoors in the sun and then my fabrics were submerged and stirred frequently and left to soak all day. My fabrics were then set to dry overnight on a rack outdoors before washing rinsing in the morning.

All the Details:

Premium Lac Extract

Botanical Colors

We were able to obtain a very beautiful variation of lac dye that has us swooning over its rich shade. This extremely strong, refined Premium Lac Extract is the historic red insect dye from Southeast Asia to the Himalayas. The powder is a brilliant red in comparison to our other lac varieties, which are much more purple in appearance.  It creates a bright raspberry and fuchsia on both protein and cellulose fibers and is easy to use; no straining required!

25 grams of Premium Lac extract will dye approximately 500- 750 grams of fiber (1.1 to 1.6 lbs.).  The remaining dye bath may be used to dye additional fibers.

Colorgrown Rainstorm-60"-Brown

Colorgrown Rainstorm-60″-Brown
Width: 60 inches
Weight: 5 oz. per sq yd
Color: Colorgrown brown
Content: 100% Organic Colorgrown Cotton
Made In: USA

Loose fitting shirt has pointed collar, front button closing, slightly dropped shoulders, short sleeves and patch pockets.
Close fitting T shirt has scoop neckline, applied band with button trim and short sleeves.
Slightly flared back wrapped skirt, in just below mid knee length and straight legged pants with front zipper have wide waistbands with attached narrow self ties and shaped patch pockets.
Size 14 Bust: 36Waist: 28Hip: 38

purchased from RoxyLynn2 on Etsy

I let them sit in the shade on my drying rack overnight before rinsing/ washing them the next day. The color stayed really true to what came out of the dye pot. This particular dye extract was so easy to work with. It doesn’t require the straining that other extracts do and gave very consistent/ streak free results. I was so excited by the strong color results in this shade of raspberry. I really have nothing in my wardrobe in this colorway so it was nice to add a pop of color to my handmade wardrobe.

My skirt especially took to the dye really well and the texture of the color-grown fabric really shows off the color well. I’ve made this vintage apron skirt before if you’d like to read more on the construction. It’s 1970’s wrap skirt, Butterick 4659 in a color-grown organic cotton. I made this one almost exactly like my last version. The only change I made was to add a selvedge detail to the pocket tops. I also used the selvedge for the edges of of the skirt sides as a finishing trim on the interior.

In all the images I’m also wearing a new self drafted tank in a cream rib knit. Super simple make with a scoop neck and ribbed edgings. A bit too basic to blog about but a great basic!

I also love my matching twill headband! I made a bunch of these simple headbands over the holidays as well as a ton of Serpentine Hats that were in my dye-pot too. The headband is just a simple rectangle attached on both sides to a skinnier rectangle with elastic threaded through it. I’m going to over-dye some of them in Indigo so I’ll share more images later. I dyed a bunch of masks too- but they’ll be over-dyed as well. They’ll be for my daughter for school next year since she is still too young to get vaccinated.

Thought I’d end this post with a nice image from my garden. It’s really blooming after all the rain! Back soon with more makes! Happy Sewing!

2 thoughts on “Natural Dyeing: Lac”

  1. Perfect match with the leaves of the Hawaiian Thai plant. Love the brilliance of the dye results!

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