To Dye For:
DIY fun with plants

To Dye For:<br>DIY fun with plants

Throughout history, apparel and textiles have been dyed using natural extracts. The use of synthetic dyes began in the mid-1850's with the accidental discovery of the color mauve, derived from coal tar, by William Henry Perkin. This was followed by the synthesis of alizarin (crimson red), also from coal tar. Prior to this, alizarin was extracted from madder root.

dye kit, marigolds, tie dyeAlmost all synthetic dyes today are derived from coal or petroleum. Because of the size of the population and the speed and volume we produce apparel and textiles, it would be nearly impossible to grow enough natural dye plants for the current market. That said, global apparel consumption has been unnecessarily high with the rise of fast fashion. Perhaps natural dyes aren't an immediate solution on a mass scale, but you CAN use natural dyes at home as a tool to extend the life of your current wardrobe.

Natural dyes can come from lots of different sources, including animals, like beetles, snails, and octopi, but for the moment we will focus on plants. Flowers are a beautiful source for dye, but so are some plant matter we consider "waste." Avocado pits produce a beautiful pale pink; onion skins, a yellowy brown; beet tops, a pinkish purple... the list goes on! Why not try a little experiment at home with your kitchen compost?

Four YES AND team members and their tied up tee shirtsThe YES AND team recently spent some quality time together (outside & masked!) trying out a few dye techniques with a marigold flower kit from The Dogwood Dyer (aka talented natural dye expert, Liz Spencer). We were truly blown away by the vibrant color given to our solid white YES AND Rosalie organic cotton tees!                                                                                                               
Here are some great ways to use natural dyes to extend the life of your wares!

   Covering stains 

   Hiding holes / runs / pills

3   Revitalizing faded colors or dull whites
4   Making cloth napkins exciting!
5   Updating a piece that you are just no longer jazzed about

Unwrapping tee shirt to reveal spiral tie dye, yellow and white beautyWhat do you think? Are you inspired? To learn more about natural dyes, or to purchase your own natural dye kit, check out The Dogwood Dyer. Please let us know what you're up to and share your completed natural dye creations!

Email us at!


Recent Articles

Vocab Class:<br>climate drawdown

Vocab Class:
climate drawdown

n. cli·mate draw·down  | ˈklīmit ˈdrôdoun 1  the point in the future when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop...

5 Ways to Embrace Secondhand Style

5 Ways to Embrace Secondhand Style

It's #secondhandseptember and we've found some exciting ways to incorporate thrifted fashion into your life. But first, here are some...


YES, fashion… AND humanity. We are together in this, here and now, navigating the new landscape before us. Join us here @yesand and receive 11% off your first order.

We use our own and third-party cookies to improve your experience and our services, and to analyse the use of our website. If you continue browsing, we take that to mean that you accept their use. See Info