Leaf printed t shirts

Last year, three t shirts from the op shop (thrift store) found their way into my soymilk bucket.  They have been sitting in a little pile since then, but recently they made their way into the dye pot. This one is for a treasured friend who has been waiting a while since I checked size with him.  The first picture (of the front) gets the colour about right and the second one (further below) is inexplicably different though taken within minutes!


The leaves are from another friend’s Eucalyptus Cinerea.  It needs trimming to keep it out of the hair and eyes of passersby and I have generously offered to help!


Yet another friend (perhaps I should ask my dear friends if they are happy to be named online!) visited on dyeing day so I gave her this next one and she designed its new leafy incarnation.  On the day I am writing I brought it in to work still bundled and tied with string, and she opened it on her office desk over lunch.  We experimented with putting these garments in a dyebath, rather than just into a simmering pot of water, and that is the reason for the overall orange that is strongest up near the neckline on the back where the fabric absorbed the dyebath most strongly.


I think her design is lovely…


The third t-shirt was a pale grey one.  I bundled it up in the morning and gifted it, cooked, but still rolled and tied, to a friend who is completely enchanted by the eco-print process and who has been facing tough times lately.  I’m hoping unwrapping that bundle gladdened her heart in these challenging times. It sure gladdened my heart to have her visiting us.

While we’re talking t-shirts… I couldn’t help noticing that two of the three were made in Bangladesh, a mighty long way from Adelaide.  For anyone interested in viewing the global garment trade from the perspective of a single t-shirt (though not one of these leafy t-shirts!) Planet Money from US National Public Radio has made a series on the subject you might like to check out.

Hopefully that’s three op shop t-shirts that will now have much more exciting second lives, with much less travel involved!


Filed under Eucalypts, Leaf prints

11 responses to “Leaf printed t shirts

  1. Thanks for the inspiration! The shirts are lovely, and they reminded me that I have a couple of soy soaked shirts waiting for bundling! They are some of my favorite shirts….. and have been eco printed once, years ago, but are in need of a refreshing blast of new leaves.


  2. How generous of you to help with the leaf trimming!! Love the results!


  3. I love to give new life to pre worn clothes, and the beauty is that it can be renewed when ever you want…. I am in awe of the strength of colour you achieve on cotton 🙂


  4. Wow, great colours on cotton I have not tried this yet.


    • It isn’t as straightforward as using the eco print process on wool or silk, but I live in a hot climate and have few garments of silk and mostly knits in wool. I look forward to seeing your future experiments…


  5. nopalito

    Had the pleasure of seeing one of these shirts in use a few days ago – I commented then that it reminds me of watching the flow of a tannin-stained creek on a bush walk through the Adelaide Hills. Congratulations!


  6. Felicity

    The leaf impressions you get are just amazing. Some of the patterning on the front of the second shirt remind me of butterflies for some reason – which makes me wonder, do you ever set out to make ‘pictures’ with this method? I know that it would certainly not produce the wonderful patterning that only nature can provide, but it was just a thought that fluttered through my brain …


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