As designers we have the power to create. We provided the consumer market with what they demand, but we are given a variety of choices. The rise of globalization and corporations has lead many people to fall into a poor cycle that allows for the pollution of our planet and our humanity. Education is ultimately the solution to this problem, because consumers in general are unaware or misinformed on how their clothing is made. Education is what has lead to my own understanding on the need for sustainability. When developing my brand, and collections I aim to strive for the over all best solution. Whether that is buying organic materials, recycling materials, or producing local. This is what inspired us to explore the use of natural dying in fashion industry. Our goal is to build an understanding or why we choose natural dyes verse synthetic dyes
Because we are dying an organic cotton hemp blend and an cotton blend it is important to understand what does organic mean in textiles. Both of these materials are natural fibers and in theory will take in natural dyes better than say a synthetic fiber like polyester. To be organic it means that the when the farmers were growing the fabric they did not use any chemical pesticides or fertilizers. In order to be considered organic the land the cotton has been treated and given at lease three years to remove all of the toxins left from any chemical pesticides and fertilizers that had been previously used one the line. No organic cotton has been made from plans that have been genetically modified. When the fiber is being handled and transformed into the textile organic cotton cannot be treated with any chemical washes, bleaches, colors, or scents. Studies done on the comparison between the two often say that the quality of the organic cotton is actually better, and that they take the same amount of time to produce equal quantities. The major factor in why most people choose to use chemical treated cotton is tends to be more expensive. It will be interesting to see if treating the fabrics with chemicals effects the way the dyes take (Organic Dying).
Dyes are compounds used to leave permanent colors to textiles. The affinity and color fast of the fabrics relay on the chemical structure of the molecules in the textile and dye and how the two interact with each other. Most textiles today are dyes using synthetic aromatic compounds. Using organic natural dyes can be beneficial because they themselves are created is less toxic, less polluting, less health hazardous, non-carcinogenic, and non poisonous. However they are tedious to extract, and the time it requires to make them can be extremely costly. They also tend to produce a product with low color value, which is why many people use mordants to set the color. These mordants can be quite hazardous (Class notes, Dye and Dying). Though there are less hazardous options such as the acid mordant, vinegar, and the basic mordant, Soda Ash (Sodium Carbonate). Cotton and cellulose take to an acid dye because they are highly polar by nature, but they do not have good fastness with acid dyes. Thus, of these fibers are dyed with mordants that add an acidic element to them.This is why people use fixatives such as vinegar. Fixatives are a type of mordant that don’t contain a metal ion (Class Notes, Mordants).
For our final project we are dying shirts using natural dyes as well as looking for the color presence and fastness in the dyes. Natural dyes are dyes made from natural materials such as plants, animals, and minerals; natural dyes are also less harmful to the environment.When dyeing our fabrics we will want our colors to be rich in color and mot faded away. We are also looking for the acidity levels using the pH scale to measure them. For our materials we were using organic sheets of cotton and cotton shirts as we are testing our experiment twice. Mordants and fixatives make colors stick onto fabrics and increase the color fastness. From our notes and articles, mordants, if either a mordant or a fixative isn't used then color could be faded out by sunlight or washed out. We are also using organic material such as Cherries, blueberries, spinach, and turmeric to dye our fabrics. We need to use a mordant or fixative so our colors could stay on the fabrics, our mordant was sodium carbonate mixed with water and vinegar. As we know from our article, article on dyeing and plants, natural dyes are less harmful but require more material and they also lose color easy when compared to synthetic dyes. We need to break down our organic materials in order to extract the color as we did in one of our labs. We will also need to leave our fabrics in the mordants and dyes for a longer period of time in order for them to get more color. In one of the articles I read, color Fastness and Tensile Strength of Cotton Fabric Dyed with Natural Extracts of Alkanna tinctoria by Continuous Dyeing Technique, (second page, second paragraph), if you extract and dye the fabric correctly the color should last for a long time and shouldn't fade away easily. In another fashion article the material we used is easy to find and dye, it also holds the color more when compared to other natural fabrics. Natural dyes require a lot of natural material so color could stay, if we want colors to be deeper we have to use more fruits as well as different ways to extract the dye, this is what we learned from our labs. From an article we read for homework, article on dyes and plants, natural dyes and fabrics are recyclable so it is healthier for the environment. We are going to wash our fabrics after they are dyed in order to test color fastness. When we were mixing our water, vinegar, and sodium carbonate, the sodium carbonate turn hard and created a pH level 11.7 which should change as it dissolves over time. We will also look for which colors stick to the natural fabrics the most.
Objective: To further expand our knowledge of natural dyes and dying, and explore the use of organic textiles.
Hypothesis: That the organic textiles will preform the same or better than the chemically treated textiles. That they natural dyes will preform a little more irregular than the synthetic dyes, but still produce unique colors.
Treat the fabric in a mordant leaving it to soak over a few days. We will than make our dyes and begin dying the fabrics. The mordant is 2 cups soda ash (Sodium Carbonate), 4 oz of vinegar, and 2 gallons of water.
Test the Ph levels of the mordant
Take Vegetables and fruits and crush them up.
Add the vegetables to the water, continue to boil for 45 minutes
Strain the liquid out to separate the dyes.
Test the Ph levels of the dyes.
Create swatches from two materials that will be dyed separately with all the dyes so we can compare.
Dye the larger sheet of organic cotton hemp blend together to compare the natural dyes interact with each other.
Dye the non organic t-shirts with all dyes.
Leave the dye on the fabric over night.
Wash out the dyes.
Compare the synthetic dyes next to the organic dyes on the T-shirt,
Observe if the organic dyes if the organic material absorbed more color than the non organic material.
Does the organic textile absorb the color better than the chemically treated textiles
How do each of the dyes preform? What colors did the dyes create? How even is the color.
How do the natural dyes interact with each other?
How to the natural dyes compare to the synthetic dyes?
The synthetic dyes as expected performed more evenly with a strong color fast. Compared to the natural dyes who in general washed out creating more of a pastel colors in splotchy patterns. (insert description of all the natural dyes different dyes) On our t-shirts you can barely find some of the natural dyes they become a faint off white background color. However you can clearly see Turmeric. Turmeric performed with the same color fastness and evenness as the synthetic dyes. This raises the question of whether it has something to do with the density of the dye. The turmeric produced less dye than the other three natural dye components which had a thicker texture to it. The downside of this dye was it took the longest to make, because we had to leave the dye to strain overnight.
Because the colorfastness of the synthetic dyes was better than the colorfastness of the the natural dyes it was easier to compare how the textiles held colorfast on those swatches. The organic materials created much deeper stronger colors. This could be partly, because the original color of the swatches. The organic cotton/ hemp has more of a yellow brown color, apposed to the chemically treated cotton which has been bleached to white. The chemically treated cotton created a more vibrant color. Some of our group members preferred the chemically treated cotton, some of our group member preferred the color of organic. Though there were no differences in the evenness of the color or how much the color bleed when we washed them out. Which verifies that as our background suggests that chemically treating the plants and textiles does not better the quality of the fabrics, and that we should consider the effects the chemicals are having on our environment large scale.
When we did our experiment we messed up a little while setting up our mordant. We should have used hot water to break down the sodium carbonate. Instead we used cold water which cause it to harden. Since we left the textiles soaking in the mordant for an extended period of time it had time to in down into the water. Before we put the textiles in the PH level was 11.7, and when we took the fabrics out the PH level was 11.28. We hypothesis that this happened because the spot we tested had a more concentrated area of mordant (ie. right next to a chunk of the harden sodium carbonate) and over time it spread out more evenly through the 2 gallons of water. Our mordant is extremely basic.
The PH levels of the dyes are:, Cranberries PH 4.06, Blackberry PH 5.03 Turmeric PH 6.14, Spinach/kale PH 6.85, Synthetic Pink PH 7.98, Synthetic green PH 8.28,, and Synthetic Blue PH 8.24. The synthetic Pink was more acidic because we had tried to mix vinegar in the mix. This caused the dye to foum up and uncontrollably overflow the container. We decided that since there was vinger in the mordant that we should skip doing this on the other two dyes, but to note it. Though some of our dyes are on the basic side of the PH scale they were close to being neutral.
"Organic Cotton." Organic Facts. N.p., 28 Oct. 2016. Web. 01 Dec. 2016. <https:// www.organicfacts.net/organic-products/organic-clothing/organic-cotton.html>. This article disused why people should choose organic cotton, and what are the restrictions on calling cotton organic.
Class notes, Dye and Dying, September 13, 2016- September 19, 2016.
Class Notes, Mordants, September 20, 2016- September 26, 2016.