Now that I've finally got some gorgeous leaf prints on my organic cotton scarves, I want to make sure that they don't fade in the sun or come off in the wash. Natural dyes by their very natural are a lot more fragile than their more robust (and toxic) synthetic cousins. I know which I prefer to have next to my skin.
I read somewhere when I fell down the internet rabbit hole of eco-dyeing that leaving the scarves to dry naturally after dyeing is a good idea. Usually, after dyeing you wash off all the excess dye and then line dry in the shade. This time I cleaned all the leaves and seed pods off the fabric, wrung it dry and hung it on the line.
Next I folded them neatly and left them to sit on the edge of my desk for a few weeks. I figured that a little bit of "curing" of the fabric couldn't go astray. Just like when I pre-mordanted the fabric with ash and then soy milk.
Finally I ironed the scarves to set the print. I used a cotton setting and carefully ironed them without steam.
With any luck these steps of drying, curing and ironing will make my lovely colours last longer. And if they don't I can always dye them again!
Note: Like most things this is all an experiment. And a not very scientific one at that. I'm not going to be having a large sample size or a control group. I'm just giving things a go and seeing what happens.