More homegrown indigo

I’ve now got a good crop of flowers on my Japanese indigo, but before they all started developing I did another harvest of the leaves – almost 200g in all.

fresh indigo leaves

Unlike last time, I didn’t do any aqualeaf indigo, as I wanted to see if I could get a stronger colour with the reduced indigo, so I needed every leaf I could get! 🙂

This time I overdyed a linen top that I had previously ecoprinted with peony leaves. It felt a little too minimal, so I thought that a pale indigo background might lift it a bit.

ecoprint linen top white

I dipped the top three times, leaving it to oxidise in between. The result was slightly darker than last time, but still quite pale and delicate.

indigo dyed ecoprint linen top

I’m drying the flowers to get seed for next year’s crop, but I’m also going to see if any of the plants survive the winter in my London garden. They are still growing – but it has been a very mild autumn so far. I’ll have to see what happens when the frosts arrive!

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Flextiles uses shibori, ecoprinting and felting to create original, one-off upcycled pieces. Extending the life of a garment by an extra nine months reduces its environmental impact by 20-30%.

15 thoughts on “More homegrown indigo”

    1. Hi Mary,

      I was following Isabella Whitworth’s description of cutting flowerheads with their stalks, placing them head down in a plastic bag and hanging upside down in a warm place to allow everything to dry out, then shaking the seeds free of the heads – I have collected some seeds already this way. Is there an alternative? There are still plenty of flowers on the plants outside, thanks to the mild autumn, so I’m very happy to try an alternative way of collecting!


  1. Hi Kim , that are the leaves from my seeds ? They did growth well isn’t ? I did collect so many seeds in autumn and the new plants that I sew in January are out! so exited! But all my experiments of fermentation that I did here in London failed!! it went very well in Italy…guess if is the climate? Water? Good the experiment with ice leaves , a pale blue on wool was nice, at list ! Have you any advice for the fermentation? Did you tried? Thank you Betty

    1. Hi Betty,

      Yes, those are the plants grown from your seed – they did well!

      I’ve never tried fermenting the leaves. It seems to me I would need so many plants it would take years to get enough for a vat! Interesting to hear that you succeeded in Italy with it – maybe it’s warmer there?


      1. Maybe..Here in London I did collected a lots of leaves 3 times last year in a square meter, but I lost everything during the fermentation!! I will never do it again ,only cold dye.thanks for your replay! Kim

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