The indigo blue color has played an important role in several cultures throughout history. There are an astounding number of books that are just devoted to this one dye. The famous Blue Men of Morocco are a North African tribe who dress from head to toe in indigo dyed fabric.
Traditionally natural indigo takes a considerable amount of effort to get it into a working dye bath. First off, it is not soluble in water. So you need to reduce it chemically with sodium hydrosulfate and lye. It is very involved and can be time consuming. As an alternative, we carry a pre-reduced indigo. We now substitute the sodium hydrosulfate with thioureadioxide and the lye is replaced by Sodium Carbonate. It only takes about 5 minutes to prepare the dye bath and you get the same unique results as with the regular indigo.
Making the Indigo Dye Bath
This is very easy with our special “pre-reduced” indigo. Dipping and folding instruction are available in a wide variety of books written about the subject (please inquire) but to prepare a bath to use:
1. Wash fabric with 1/2 oz of T.N.A Soap to remove dirt and sizing.
2. Use water that is 60-70ºF (20-24ºC)
3. Mix the following in about 3-5 L of water (you can mix less if you want)
4. Let foam settle. Skim the foam off the top of the dye bath.
5. Prepare fabric (tie, fold and bind) and dip cloth into dye bath.
6. Gently remove and hang to air dry. This is when the indigo color shows up (dye oxidizes, changing from green to indigo blue).
7. Repeat dipping 2-3 times for a deeper shade.
8. After dyeing, we find processing it in Raycafix really improves on wash-fastness.
Raycafix Instructions: Estimate amount of water needed to cover cotton fabric. Fill sink or bucket to this level with HOT (160ºF) water. Add 1 teaspoon Raycafix per yard of fabric. Soak for 5 minutes. DO NOT AGITATE! Use cool water to rinse and dry at once