Care For Your Indigo

Colour my world, colour my world indigo.

Someone took these words very seriously. Indigo is to be found in every wardrobe today, of man, woman and child. Shades galore in the volumes of jean garments that sell like hot cakes and have become kind of comfort wear.

Indigo Collage on quilt, the sandalwood room

An interesting indigo collage on a quilt

Indigo dye has captured the human imagination for centuries as the world’s only natural blue pigment” ( Quotation courtesy : EAST )

I am quite intrigued by this colour and its power over us. We go looking for that particular shade of indigo or the blue as we generally term it, spend hours shooting down any other shade than the one on our minds and yet over time when that pair of denim lightens bringing out a lighter shade, we revel in that too!

Indigo patchSo yes, this indigo has ruled our senses from as long back as 2000 BC and still holds sway over our minds. India in a large measure is credited with introducing the pigment indigo to the world of dyeing, deriving its name from the plant Indigofera tinctoria and related species. While jeans are on one spectrum of the fashion world, indigo dyed apparel, ethnic and global have occupied a large chunk of the remaining space. They are even more sought after by those endowed with artistic tendencies. Indigo on apparel somehow tends to connect us to nature just like the brick reds or browns stand for all that is rustic.

And here is an example of an artist from Chennai, Lakshmi Srinath who has used indigo to such a striking advantage in this beautiful ensemble in stone. More on her art in a later post sometime.

Lakshmi Srinath art in stone using indigo, My Thought lane

Stone sculpted art using indigo by Chennai artiste Lakshmi Srinath

Something that is so beautiful and rooted to nature, this indigo dye needs special care on fabrics. It is a natural dye and contains no harsh chemicals and toxins. A peep into maintaining indigo dyed fabrics:

Care for your Indigo

  • Like all natural dyed fabrics, indigo dyed garments are prone to bleeding in the first couple of washes. Worry not, it is the excess dye getting washed out.
  • In countries that use treated water, it is recommended to dry-clean the garments for the first wash
  • The clothes must be dried and stored away from the sun. If not adhered to, then the clothes are likely to fade in patches an along the folding lines of the garment.
  • Must be washed in cold water and air-dried.
  • Advisable to avoid the washing machine. Handwash for better results.
  • Wash the garment before the first use to avoid the indigo dye running on to your inner garments.
  • Damp clothes are likely to transfer the dye on to other clothes. So dry them completely before wearing.

Indigo is a dye different from any other and the process of dyeing is as unique as the colour itself, involving days of the pigment being fermented in the vat. The vat is a bulging narrow mouthed pot 10-15 feet deep and sunk into the floor of an area that is covered and does not allow sunlight to fall on it directly. It would look something like this, like a hole in the floor.


Indigo vats , image courtesy : Kimonoboy

The vat houses a living organism that helps in the fermentation. It is filled with a thick sandy dye-liqour to 1/4th of its capacity. Indigo, slaked lime and molasses are added with water to top it up. An artisan then feeds the vat daily with the same ingredients for the next two weeks till the desired look and feel is achieved, which could take about 20 days in all. One of the reasons why indigo dyed garments require a wash before its first wear.

Japanese are extremely fond of this hue and indigo dyeing in Japan dates back to the 10th century. In Japanese, indigo dyeing is known as ai-zome.

Here is an interesting note about the process. In the first step, the indigo is “reduced” , changing it from blue to yellow. When the dipped yarn is brought out it turns a bright green. The air around when the yarn is put to dry changes it to the beautiful deep and rich indigo. Fascinating!

And here are a few beauties from The Sandalwood Room for indigo tops the list most often amongst handmade products.

The Sandalwood Room prides itself on being the only one of its kind in Singapore. It is a boutique for those who love the finer things of life. A vast array of Home Decor merchandise sourced from across the globe line their shelves spoiling you for choice, from ethnic to classic to contemporary, every piece standing out for its exclusivity.

  • If you wish to check out their products, click here and if you wish to place an order email them and The Sandalwood Room will be happy to courier your order to you.
  • Price on request. Email them at the ID below.
  • Payments are routed through PayPal.
  • All products subject to availability.
  • Give them a Facebook like here.

New Address:

The Sandalwood Room, 78 Tras Street, Singapore 079017

Phone : +65 6221 2654 / +65 9786 5896



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