Vegetable Dyes and Colors – Manufacturing Process and Use

In today’s world where we are struggling with issues like environmental pollution, fear of chemical hazards, threatening effects of global warming vegetable dyes and colors are gaining their popularity for they are pure and organic and they have absolutely no side effects on us or the environment.
Many people wonder why vegetable dyed fabrics and other items are more beautiful, popular and costlier than the regular products available in the market today.  The reason is that it takes long time and great effort to prepare vegetable dyes. All vegetable colors are made using minerals, leaves, flowers and bark of various trees. Most common among them are:
a solution of alum and tamarind seed powder is used to make red or rust color. Tamarind seed powder is boiled till it mixes well with the water and then it is left in the fiber or plastic vessles to cool down and come back to the normal temperature. The solution is then filtered using fine weave mulmul cloth (muslin) to avoide any particles and dust that may leave the color unusable. Less viscous solution is made to obtain deep red color while using the solution with high viscosity will give Rust color on the motif. If the printer has to make a very fine printing, he would prefer a rather thick solution as thin solution tend to drip and it may spoil the whole motif. Alum works as the color fixer for the solution.

Iron ore is used to make the black dye. The ore is powdered and boiled to make a solution. Process of cooling and filtering is involved while making all vegetable dyes. When the dye is ready, it is directly  applied onto the pattern using a pen or a wooden block.


Natural Indigo crystals are powdered and boiled to make a solution. The outcome of the color totally depends on the amount of the Indigo use while making the solution. It also depends on the viscocity of the solution. If one is making mauve color, one should use Indigo in lesser amount. ProfessionalDye makers weigh their contents before making the dye. It helps them obtaining exactly same color as they used for printing last time.

Turmeric and Harad is used to make Yellow, Mustard, Lemon Yellow and other tints and shades of Yellow. In olden days, safron was used to make yellow and Orange colors, now a days due to limited availability and high price, dyers prefer turmeric over the safron.
Orange / Red  

Flower from the tree of Palash (scientific name Butea monosperma) is used to make vegetable dye color. In India, Palash flower is also used for making colors for playing Holi (a festival in north India).

The Process
Obtaining colors from flowers is a long and tiring process. It takes from days to weeks to prepare good color in significant amount. To make dyes from flowers, the flowers are picked and petals are separated from rest of the flower, now the petals are left in hot (read warm) water(not boiling).
Flower petals are soaked in a bucket full of water before making color

Flower petals are soaked in a bucket full of water before making color

The petals then start releasing the color and you can say so when you see the color of the water in the bucket changing.This is the right time to take the petals out for grinding.

Selective collection of flower petals for making vegetable color

Selective collection of flower petals for making vegetable color

Wet petals are finely ground and left in the shade for drying. This ground paste is not kept directly under the sun as harsh sun can take away the color of the paste leaving the useless, colorless chips of the dried paste behind.When the paste is dried, another round grinding is required.

The wet petals are then crushed finely and dried under shade before following another round of grinding

The wet petals are then crushed finely and dried under shade before following another round of grinding

The powder is then filtered using a fine muslin cloth. It gives the finest powder color. Rest of the powder which still has big and small pieces in it, is grounded until it turns into fine powder. Now the powder color is ready, it is used as a solution with alum for printing fabrics, as and when required.

Vegetable Colors Holi

Kids in an Indian NGO “KarmMarg” are preparing vegetable colors for playing Holi

Which flower is used to obtain what color – 

– Red Rose for Red, Pink Fuchsia and magenta
– Palaash for Red, Orange, Yellow
– Hibiscus for Red, Rust
– Bark of Hibiscus tree for Brown, Beige and Rust
– Lavender and Indigo for Blue, Mauve, Purple and Indigo
…and many other colors are made using different combinations!
Image credits – Delhi based NGO KarmMarg

Pure silk fabrics from India – Buy online Ikat Silk or Pochampally silk fabrics from South India

Indian Silk fabrics are world famous for their colors, variety in texture and designs. Indian Ikat Silk is one of the fabrics that is always admired by the fashion designers around the world. Ikat silk has lovely patterns in extremely beautiful colors. Ikat dying started as  resist dying which is similar to tie-dye technique. According to Wikipedia, term Ikat is derived from the Malay word mengikat  that means “To Tie”. Ikat silk in India is either woven on a handloom or printed by the machines.

Ikat is a traditional textile weaving art common to many cultures worldwide. Likely, it is one of the oldest forms of textile weaving. Ikat has been nurtured world over by the experienced hands of Ikat weaving artists from India, Burma, Indonesia,Cambodia, Central and South Amarica and Uzbekistan with a long history of Ikat production.

In India, Ikat silk is also known as Pochampalli silk fabric. Pochampally or Pochampalli is the name of a place in south India where Ikat silk is produced. Here is a collection of lovely Ikat fabrics that found while selecting and procuring fabrics for one of our customers from Europe. The handloom or Tanta looks as shown in the picture below:

Printed Ikat Silk in Indigo, White and Blue

Spring Green Ikat Silk Fabric from India – Lovley Colors Such as Yellow and Green Make it Look Amazing

Brown, Yellow and Green – Printed Ikat Silk Fabric, Made in India

Onion Pink, Green, Yellow and Brown Ikat pattern on a Silk Fabric

Simply Awesome Golden Brown and Yellow Ikat Silk with a Hint of Red

Sea Green and Brown, Traditional Ikat Pattern on a Pure Silk Fabric from India

Sea Green and Brown Ikat Silk

Emerald Green, Yellow and White Ikat Silk Fabric

Maroon, Yellow, White and Green Ikat Silk Fabric from India

File:Sambalpuri Ikat weaving loom (Tanta) from Odisha.jpg

Sambalpuri Ikat weaving loom (Tanta) from Odisha (source: Wikipedia)

Contact us at for authentic Indian Ikat Silk supply worldwide.
Visit our website for authentic Indian block print fabrics and craft supply items.

10 Looks that rocked Paris Men’s Fashion Week

This post is a re-blog of what appeared on

Looks That Rocked Paris Men’s Fashion Week

Wrapping up the Men’s Fashion Week for the Spring/Summer 2014 last week, Paris was home to almost 40 celebrated designers that displayed a palette, quite extraordinary!

While the black and white hues continue to dominate the runway, shades of blue and red were not far behind. Amidst the sea of trends, the standout trend was oversized military jackets mixed with shorts that married structures with sophistication, keeping the style intact. However, that was not the only look that caught our eye. MensXP gives you the lowdown on the 10 best looks that we think were rather spectacular!

1) Valentino

Paris Men’s Fashion Week - Valentino

Image Credit: frontrowsuit (dot) com

The house that started the Paris Men’s Fashion Week was Valentino is all sophistication displaying rich splendour with modern spirit. The collection also showcased effortless harmony between contrasting colours such as blue, bottle green and burgundy. Denim suits, army inspired fabrics, khaki drill and printed cardigans- all finished with a spectacular dose of evening wear. A full spectrum of uniform options for men!

2) Louis Vuitton

Paris Men’s Fashion Week - Louis Vuitton

Image Credit: businessoffashion (dot) com

LV had an array of plaids going on, along with a line of suits accessorised with boutonnieres that made the models look prom-ready! The boy-scot inspired patches and jackets also suggested a strong formal but edgier bent–a tribute to ‘hippies, idols and forest rangers’. Jersey blazers, loud checked suits, jackets in fascinating patterns, and classic black dinner coats embodied with trademark LV monogram were some of the other best looks.

3) Thom Browne

Paris Men’s Fashion Week - Thom Browne

Image Credit: esquire (dot) com

Thom Browne was the one to showcase military inspired attires that had models decked out like officers and captains, with long vinyl jackets and flaring skirts, mirrored sunglasses wearing toy soldiers and bold red lipstick. The expertly tailored general’s jacket with emphasis on silver buttons running in a row down the sleeves commanded respect. And though the silhouettes were slightly feminine, the strong masculinity of the tailored outwears was hard to miss. Unconventional and out of the box!

4) John Galliano

Paris Men’s Fashion Week - John Galliano

Image Credit: examiner (dot) com

Layers, zippers, panels, peter-pan collars and bright colours is what defined John Galliano’s collection at Men’s Fashion Week. Models were seen walking on the ramp in oversize tops and jackets in eye-catching colours such as yellow, coral pink, royal blue and polkas with black to create a polka-dotted theme; but the most stand out design was the tyre-print on grey coats–perfect for those breezy days!

5) Dior Homme


Paris Men’s Fashion Week - Dior Homme

Image Credit: fashion (dot) telegraph (dot) co (dot) uk

Burgandy, black and petrol blue was the colour statement of menswear designer Kris Van Assche, who made his models work through a maze of mirrors wearing a hybrid of classically formal tailoring and contemporary informal wear. Armless elongated jackets in tones of Bordeaux worn with shorts, zip-fronted short sleeve shirts in satin, neoprene T-shirts and patched pocketed work jackets were some of the best looks from the collection.

6) Paul Smith

Paris Men’s Fashion Week - Paul Smith

Image Credit: fashion (dot) telegraph (dot) co (dot) uk

Paul Smith used mushroom prints and psychedelic colours to go back to the 70s in light hued of pinks. One of the most striking look from the collection was a fuchsia coat with a silver zipper running down the chest. Jacquard T-shirts with black and white coats featuring some eclectic colours made for another interesting mix of attires.

7) Yves Saint Laurent

Paris Men’s Fashion Week - Yves Saint Laurent

Image Credit: goodtimes (dot) ndtv (dot) com

Saint Laurent closed this extravagant Fashion Week with its much awaited collection which was set against a backdrop of a rock-themed ramp had lean models in an army green cotton parka, leather jackets with patchwork, simple waistcoats and of course, the fancy Fifties varsity jackets in satin with crystal embroideries on the back to add to the mood. Apt for the ultra modern men!

8) Raf Simons

Paris Men’s Fashion Week - Raf Simons

Image Credit: esquire

Never the one to disappoint, Raf Simons started with a cleverly concealed short-sleeve, mid thigh-length, collared, buttoned romper- yes!!! Romper for guys, and we were blown at that instant! Smart blazers with short lapels, elongated polo shirts, pop art inspired tees and collectible sneakers- the designer definitely nailed it and how!

9) Lanvin

Paris Men’s Fashion Week - Lanvin

Image Credit: businessoffashion (dot) com

Men’s fashion bared its legs with shrunk shorts at Lanvin’s collection. Teaming those shorts with tailored and casual jackets, blouses and shirts-worn with narrow neckties, the couture is tailor made for office going contemporary urban male.

10) Hermes

Paris Men’s Fashion Week - Hermes

Image Credit: businessoffashion (dot) com

At the Hermes, Veronique Nichanian set out to create a boho kitsch appeal with a very subdued allure to her collection. With roped sandals and slippers, the designer’s men walked in aqua marine serge suit, tie-print trousers, crumpled linen boat neck tops and even cotton boiler suits- which is very unlike of Hermes. Basic garments giving an appeal of luxury wear- we certainly heart!