Herb Robert -Eco Print

A while ago I made this white, cotton & silk blend tunic part of a collection for my portfolio. It has been sitting around waiting to be dyed.

Knot Tunic - Verena Erin

I found out that Herb Robert (geranium robertianum) produces a brown dye and noticing the little purple flowers around our yard, decided to use it for printing.

Herb Robert - Natural Dye Journal

I used the whole plant except for the roots and positioned them to hopefully get an interesting pattern with the stems and leaf shapes. I then bundled the fabric and steamed it for about an hour, leaving it to dry overnight. The result was a nice print but the colour was a pale yellow. Wanting a stronger contrast I did a post-mordant with iron which produced some darker browns and soft grays.

Printed tunic with Herb Robert - Natural Dye Journal

Herb robert print - Natural dye journalHerb robert print - Natural dye journal

I am happy with the results although I didn’t get a lot of clean leaf prints, I think this is due to the fact that the plant stems are very stiff and using the whole plant didn’t allow firm contact on the fabric, for printing again I would just use the leaves.  Also I did notice that because of the iron the fabric is less soft which is unfortunate but expected with the silk fabric content (iron mordant isn’t recommended for protein fibres).

Overall I really like the effect but think it needs a little more colour so I will probably over-dye with a light ombre or another leaf print.