Dye Colors

(*Our research on period dyes and colors is incomplete and ongoing. The following represents our current standards.)

Colors achievable in England of 1471 with natural dyes commonly available at the time:

(Avoid super bright and fluorescent shades of any color. Generally the more muted, muddy or light colored the fabric – the more affordable the dye would have been. Darker colors required more dye saturation, a stronger dye bath and would have been much more expensive to purchase than lighter colors. )

The most affordable and common choices for wool colors were:

  • Browns, Tans and cream shades – they come naturally in the color of the sheep’s wool – dying may not be necessary. Brown shades can also be achieved using dye made from walnut hulls, brazilwood, oak galls and/or oak bark.
  • Grey shades – can be achieved by weaving the darker and lighter colors of sheep’s wool together or as a dyed color. The exhausted alkanet dye bath produces a pale lavender grey and Exhausted woad dye baths creates a pale slate blue-grey.
  • Yellow shades – Weld is native to Northern Europe and is the most common yellow dyestuff, producing a vivid almost electric yellow color – though it’s intensity fades quickly. Numerous other dyes also create yellows.

 

Mid range colors which most people could and would save to afford:

 

 

 

 

  • Yellows – all shades are acceptable and common. Numerous dye options create yellow
  • Peach & Pinks – all shades are acceptable
  • Orange & Brick –  all shades are acceptable
  • Reds – Avoid the “blue reds”. Reds of this time are achieved with madder dye. Madder produces orangey reds and not deep blood reds.
  • Purples & lavenders – Stick to the lighter shades, no bright royal purples.
  • Blues – created with Woad – Blue jean blue shades (light through dark) are best. Avoid bright turquoise shades.
  • Greens – all shades are acceptable (our research on green dyes is not yet complete)
  • Tan & Browns – come naturally all shades are acceptable
  • Grey – all shades are acceptable.
  • Black –  The most expensive dye, avoid it’s use except in small quantities such as accessories. Talk to us before you plan entire garments of black wool please.

(This page is under construction and research is on-going)