#1year1outfit Seasonal Textiles

I never considered the that textiles are seasonal before this year. It turns out that understanding local botanical changes and weather is critical to natural fiber production and natural dyes.

I got caught out last year not thinking about seasonality, so in the hope that this helps me plan this year, here is my observations of the seasonal timing when making and sourcing natural textiles here in Australia. I have used the tradition Noongar seasons as a starting point for understanding the weather and botanical trends.

Brak – December and January -The First Summer

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Prime time for mordanting and solar dyeing; Green Hibiscus flowering; No open fires; white eucalyptus blooms

Bunuru – Feb and March – The Second Summer

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Prime time for mordanting and solar dyeing; No open fires; red eucalyptus blooms

Djeran – April May – Autumn
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wattle blooms; passion fruit ripe

Makuru – June July – The First Rains

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Best time for open flame dyeing; wattle blooms, pomegranate ripe

Djilba – Aug Sept – The Second Rains
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Shearing season starts; Sour sob in flower; Indigofera Australis in flower; Bottlebrush in flower

Kambarang – Oct Nov – Wildflower Season
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Shearing season; bottlebrush in flower; no open flames; good time for indigo vats

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My native indigo, bottle brush and cinerea dyed local wool #1year1outfit were all dyed at different times of year.

I’m curious about the seasonality of textiles in other places. Do similar themes occur?

7 thoughts on “#1year1outfit Seasonal Textiles

  1. Although there’s a time in my home too when it isn’t good to have open fires (early summer is our wildfire season), a bigger concern for me is that from sometime around October until sometime around March, it’s too cold for me to want to be outside dyeing. I have done a few things inside, but mainly I think dyeing will be a spring to fall activity. There’s one dye plant (fuzzy mullein) that grows like crazy near me, and I’ve determined it has a specific peak time to harvest, which I basically missed in 2015 … but now that I have it sort of figured out I can try again next year.
    I do think it’s fun to think about the seasonality of things other than just food. They lend more texture to the year, and give me things to look forward to.

    • Good to get the Northern hemisphere perspective on this. I think that this is one of the major limitations to sourcing an outfit within one year, that by the time you figure things out you miss some options!

  2. What an interesting view on natural dyeing! I think in the UK that there is definitely a season for dyeing, as Tasha says the time when it isn’t too cold (or dark) to do stuff outside. This year I picked dock leaves in the summer, when they were abundant.But I left the dye stuff in a jar for the next few months and it whiffed a lot by the time I got to use it for dyeing. I won’t make that mistake again! I did miss a good opportunity for harvesting bracken, which would be in the Spring. So perhaps I will be better organised season-wise in the coming year.

  3. I had been thinking along these lines, but my thoughts hadn’t quite gelled into anything as organised as this. I will be referring to your guide next year. I mean this year. Good grief, better get planning!

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