Choosing plant-based fabric and clothing

You also need to gather and wash some fabric and clothing to use for the rest of the course. Here are some guidelines for choosing fabric.

Types of plant-based fabric

While I focus on cotton in this ecourse, all the information also applies to other plant-based fibres such as linen or hemp. You can even use semi-synthethic fibres like rayon and other viscose fibres, which have been made from highly processed plant materials. But keep clear of acrylic fibres like polyester which have been made from petroleum, as the plant dyes will not bond to them. Nylon is an exception, as you will see in the Soy Milk Binder module.

You can use both knit (stretchy) or woven fabric. Knit fabric is sometimes slightly easier to roll or fold up into a bundle, but it doesn’t really matter. Just choose what you prefer, and what you know you will wear or use.

What to eco-print?

Through the course, I will demonstrate on tank tops, tshirts and pieces of fabric, but you might like to extend these techniques to dresses, white jeans, scarves, or other items. Any textile item that can be rolled or folded up can be used.

White fabric is the easiest to eco-print. But you can try some lightly coloured fabric too. It is possible to eco-print over pale synthetic dyes and it sometimes looks amazing, especially if the fabric is old and well washed:

Make sure that you also have some pieces of fabric for doing small tests on- just big enough to sandwich a leaf or two in between. If you have any small scraps of white cotton or pieces of old clothes those will work perfectly. Otherwise, old cotton bed sheets bought second hand are a cheap, good material that take the dye really well.

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