dying color for breehes
Need to dye some friends breeches.Brown or Dark Blue? Rit dye maybe??
Posts: 14 | Registered: 05 January 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Lori Horn, I have had great success with walnut dye. Might give that some thought!!!!

"Don't Retreat, just reload"
Posts: 411 | Location: Oregon Territory | Registered: 26 February 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I agree with Sage Rider, consider using walnut dye/stain. I've used the modern Rit dyes in the past, but now I do just about everything exclusively in a walnut bath. The best thing about it is that it is free, since I have access to lots of walnuts.

If you don't have access to walnuts, there are some places that sell crushed hulls/powder to make your own brew. It is also a very authentic coloring method.

Good luck!
Posts: 265 | Location: Upper Peninsula of Michigan | Registered: 03 June 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The dark blue of the time period was from indigo, but actual indigo dying is a bit more complicated than just boiling the plant and popping the cloth in. Walnut, madder, goldenrod, nettles, and some others can be died into cloth with boiling, a mordant, and dipping the cloth.

A good book is Vegetable Dyes: Being a Book of Recipes and Other Information Useful to the Dyer, by Ethel Mairet c. 1916. The link provided is to a free e-book version.

Walnut works great, but it's so good and so easy..., everybody does it, and you might want to consider something a bit different, but otherwise the walnut is a great idea.


It's not what you know, it's what you can prove
Posts: 3843 | Location: People's Republic of Maryland | Registered: 10 November 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thank you, I like walnut dye myself. These breeches were supposedly dyed in walnut hulls years ago, but the material might of not been washed to remove the protective layer off of the fabric and the dye didn't take too well.Indigo is a little more complicated, but worth the trouble. I'll have to give that a go sometime too.
Posts: 14 | Registered: 05 January 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Lori - There are some variants on walnut dye that may lead in the direction you desire. First, I have had good success using salt as a mordent - add it to the dye bath and you end up with a much more long lasting color - though, it will still fade, especially if they are washed often. Another variant is to add some iron filings to the dye batch when you are first cooking it up. I use common steel wool, the finest grade, and chop it up into small pieces with scissors. Run the steel wool ball through a dishwasher to get rid of any oils on it first.

Boil this in while you boil the walnut hulls, then strain the entire batch through a fine mesh paint straining cloth to remove any remaining bits.

This mix will shift the color towards gray-brown, and make it notably darker than plain walnut. Again use the salt as a mordent.

By varying the amount of iron filings you add (from a quarter cup to 3 gallons, on up to a full cup) you can somewhat control the color shift.

Like any natural dye, there are great variations in how it takes - so, each material will give somewhat different results.

Hope this is helpful.

Col Boone
Posts: 728 | Location: Volcano, Hawaii | Registered: 22 September 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thank you...I have enough information to make a go at this task. These breeches belong to a fellow who trusts me in this endeavor.You are quite the gentleman to help.
Posts: 14 | Registered: 05 January 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Just make sure you use soft water. I used hard water and the dye didn't set well. Since you live in Texas, you have the choice of hickory, pecan or oak bark.

Posts: 104 | Location: Little River, I.T. | Registered: 06 February 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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