Behind the scenes of our newest avocado-dyed collection, BLUSH January 27, 2019 15:51
Alyx used REAL LIFE AVOCADOS to dye the garments! Who knew? Avocado pits and skins can make a natural dye, and that dye may turn stark white or ivory fabric into beautiful shades of BLUSH!
The collection is dropping on January 30th, just in time for Valentine’s Day gifts!!
We asked Alyx to write a guest post in her own words to explain the dye process! It’s so different from the indigo bar process she used to dye our last collection!
In the words of Kansas City maker, Alyx Jacobs...
“When you hear “avocado dyeing” what color comes to mind?
You are probably thinking of green, right? Believe it or not, avocado pits and skins (the parts of the avocado that get thrown away!) are the sources of this beautiful collection.
Avocado dyeing is a new adventure for me. It is a process of natural dye that I have always wanted to experiment with and this Valentine's day collection for MADI apparel was the perfect time to delve in to learn how to dye this lovely blush color.
I started prepping for this project by making a lot of guacamole. Like, a lot. Then I realized that I couldn’t possibly eat that much guacamole, nor could I handle the cost that came with purchasing that many avocados. So, I reached out to my friends and fellow avocado eaters and the guacamole makers at Whole Foods and eventually gathered a hefty collection of pits and skins.
For avocado dyeing, you need a few things: avocado pits and skins, natural fibers, and time.
For MADI Apparel, we used the viscose fabric from natural bamboo that they used to make most of their garments. This fabric is lightweight, breathable and soooo soft.
Dyeing with avocados is one of the most temperamental processes that I have worked with yet. There are so many factors to consider: type of avocados, type of water, amount of time left in the dye. Even the season can affect color! So there was a lot of experimenting for this collection. I found that avocado skins produced a peachy color and that the pits produced a rosier pink color. The pits were the right fit for this project and I primarily worked with them.
There are a few secret tips and tricks that I have left out of the steps below. If you are interested in learning more about avocado dyeing, please visit Rebecca Desnos’ blog, www.rebeccadesnos.com. She has been my go-to resource for my avocado dyeing process.
1. Scrub the avocado flesh off of the pits
If the flesh of the avocado if left on the pits in the dye pot, it can brown the colors
2. Steep avocado pits in water over heat for about an hour
Because I was dyeing multiple pieces at once, I needed a very large amount of concentrated dye. I experimented with the number of pits that would produce a nice blush color over all of the pieces.
3. Strain the avocado dye
After the avocado pits have sat in the water for about an hour, the water will have noticeably changed color and the pits will have softened. You can squeeze the pits to get every last drop of the dye out.
4. Add the fabric
I combined the concentrated dye and more water in a larger pot so that the fabric would be fully submerged in the dye bath.
5. Heat again
The dye pot needs to be heated for another hour or so to develop color on the fabric. This is another way that I experimented with color: how many times I heated the dye pot and how long the fabric sat in the dye. I found that the best colors are produced when you have time to forget about the dye pot for a few days, only to find a beautiful deep blush color when you lift the lid again.
Once I was happy with the color that had soaked up into the bamboo fibers, I took the fabric out of the pot and let it sit without rinsing the dye for about a week or so.
Due to the number of variables involved in avocado dyeing, no piece in this collection is like another. Each piece is as unique as the woman wearing it!
This collection has taken many hours of love and dedication to produce. From the dye pot to the sewing studio, many Kansas City women have been involved in creating this amazing blush collection for you.