Turmeric as a natural Indian fabric dye

Long referred to as “Indian yellow” or “the golden spice”, and with a rich history as an Indian flavored culinary spice, Turmeric also boasts many other uses from a natural fabric dye to medicinal super food in various cultures – along with a delicious flavor and earthy scent, Turmeric has long been though to boost the immune system and fight cancer in both Indian and Chinese traditional medicine due to it’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

The Kantha Project
Golden quilt featured on The Kantha Project

The vibrant yellow colour of turmeric can been seen in traditional Indian saris and fabrics, with beautiful gold hues striking a start contrast against the deep red, blues and greens that make up traditional patterns and fabric designs.

Vintage saris dyed with turmeric shades are featured extensively in Indian quilt patterns, Kantha blankets/Kantha quilts and modern home touches like Kantha cushion covers. A bright “Indian yellow” Kantha duvet dyed with natural turmeric dye lightens and brightens a home with a rustic touch, and can be used as a throw, picnic blanket, stylish poncho or even a Kantha tapestry wall hanging.

Intricately hand stitched in recycled indian sari quilts and reclaimed fabrics, Kantha quilts have long been great way to save vintage saris that were out of use or style, in modern times the Kantha quilt is now a bohemian statement and homely addition to any home, with fantastic collections available here at The Kantha Project and on Etsy. Natural plant indigo, turmeric yellow, pomegranite rind for pinks, seeds and various other roots and leaves have long been used traditionally in Indian fabric dye and can be seen in many recycled handmade Kantha quilts.

We’d love to hear how you use your Kantha quilts and if you have any that are dyed in the beautiful shade of turmeric “Indian Yellow”! If you’d like to see more quilts that feature “Indian gold”, recycled cotton saris and other naturally dyed fabrics, see more on our Etsy store.

Feel free to leave some feedback or any questions below!

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2 Replies to “Turmeric as a natural Indian fabric dye

  1. Wow, I know that turmeric is good for cooking and there are some healing properties.

    But I didn’t know that it could be used to dye saris and other indian fabric, from the pictures you provided the color looks a little bit dull, is there any ways to make turmeric dye looks more vibrant? Or is it meant to look dull all along?

    1. Yeah, it’s pretty amazing. Anything can really be used as a natural dye – vegetable dyes; beetroot and chlorophyl veggies which produce various greens as well as non-edible plants.. I would say, you can get every colour of the rainbow!

      Turmeric actually has quite a vibrant earthy yellow colour – it just depends on the dye process; how much is used and how long it is kept in the dye bath – ranging from very vibrant to more subtle hues.

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