Dye Colors

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

 (***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. ) 

Colors achievable in England of 1471 :

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 to a softer yellow. Numerous other common 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 –  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.

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