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Blue-dye fabrics

About Folkology’s blue-dye fabrics

Our blue dye fabrics are handmade by a family workshop in the Eastern part of Hungary. This family has been producing these marvelous textiles since 1878. They use wooden motif blocks from the beginning of the 20th century, and a printing machine manufactured in 1907 to produce these beautiful prints. The fabrics made by this family workshop are juried by the Hungarian Folk Handicrafts Commission, guaranteeing the authentic quality of the designs and manufacturing.

About Hungarian blue-dyeing

Blue-dyeing or “Kékfestés” is a centuries-old traditional folk craft. Originally it served a similar purpose as the American craft of denim-making: to create durable worker clothing.

Blue-dyeing is a resist-dyeing method where the white cotton or linen fabric is first printed with a resist paste using wooden motif blocks or sometimes a block printing machine. The fabric is then immersed in the indigo solution. The printed areas resist the dye and come out crisp white, resulting in a beautiful patterned blue fabric.

Blue-dyers first used locally available herbs to create the blue color, but as Indian trade routes opened, indigo became the prevalent choice of dye. At the beginning of the 20th century, dyers began experimenting with indatren, a chemical dye that produces the same indigo color in minutes, instead of the hours required until indigo properly dyes cotton.

Today, workers wear modern clothing, and similarly to other old-fashioned manufacturing methods, blue-dyeing became one of the near-extinct handicrafts of the past. As rural life gets increasingly modernized, only a handful of the bluedyeing workshops still survive. These workshops however still use the same ancient methods and tools, the same hundred-years old motif blocks, the same printing machines as their ancestors.

Care instructions

Blue-dye fabric is versatile and durable. It is 100% cotton, machine washable at up to 90C (200F).

At the first washing, wash it separately. You might find that the water is slightly colored, which is the result of excess dye being washed out of the fabric. This is perfectly normal, and won’t stain your fabric. After the first wash, you can wash your blue-dye fabrics together with similar color clothing. It is colorfast and will keep its size.

Tips:
  • To increase the brightness of the blue color, add some vinegar to the last rinse.
  • If needed, iron when the fabric is still a little damp.
  • For more stiffness, starch your fabric.

See our Blue-dye fabric collection!