Peter Pan Pants- Making Homemade Green Dye From Weeds

I'm pretty sure Peter Pan didn't wear polyester, and I know the fairies didn't dash down to Michaels to pick up a package of Rit dye, with which to make wee britches. So how would Peter Pan's clothes be made? Never one to pass up an opportunity to spin and toil like a fairy, I googled "homemade green dye", and dug in with relish.

I tend to go about things the hardest way possible, and like a preschooler on rollerblades in San Francisco, I start projects that gain frantic momentum and careen hopelessly through my day. This time? It was operation I-will-make-authentic-fairy-britches-for-PeterPan-if-it-kills-me.
...or, I was just too lazy to strap the kids into carseats and drive into town. If I had known that my house would end up smelling like a ripe swamp, I might have rethought my distaste for running errands.

Making Your Own Green Dye From Weeds

As a dye-loving, non expert, there are a few things one needs to know about dye. Most importantly, plant fabrics such as cotton can't be dyed with food based dyes (not that I'm planning on drizzling my backyard with balsamic and digging in with a fork...I realize weeds aren't your traditional food, but the concept is the same). However animal hair and food coloring go together like noodles and soy sauce. This is why you can theoretically dye your hair with Kool Aid. Why does this matter?

Meet the hapless wool sweater, made from 70% merino wool (so it's not scracthy) this unsuspecting specimen sat in my local thrift store, marked down to 50 cents because of the moth holes. But since we're cutting it up and making Peter Pan pants, moth holes are fine.

I cut off the sleeves and sewed them into wool longies, like the tutorial here.

Next, I grabbed a grocery bag and tackled the fields of weeds behind my house. If you live in an area where there are no weeds, I'm sure you can find someone who would be more than happy to lend you as much as you need. Or alternatively you can use spinach, kale, or some other dark leafy green.

Next, juicing time! This is my mom's juicer that she left in my care when she moved out of the country. Up until now, its elevated existence was unsullied by anything but the most rigidly healthful drinks. I'm pretty sure it was giving me the reproachful eye as I stuffed low-life roughage down its throat. What kind of evil person sends wild broomrape, bindweed, and burclover through a kitchen appliance?

But shove it through I did. One bag was not nearly enough, and I had to go back outside and refill three times. If you scroll down and peek at the finished product, you can see I probably should have done 6-7 bags. Conversely you could boil a potful of greens if you don't have a juicer.

Isn't that a positively delicious color? It smells as green as it looks. Fresh cut grass, on a rainy afternoon, in the pacific northwest has nothing on four bags of pulverized weeds. Holy toledo. I like that earthy, organic smell as much as the next person, but this was like plant B.O.

I poured the weed juice in a bowl, added some salt + water, put in the wool britches, and popped it in the microwave for three min. A true fairy would have boiled the concoction in a kettle or pot, but I had just spent the last the last two hours holding a spring solace in my kitchen and I needed to start purging my kitchen before vines sprung up through the walls. Maybe boiling would work better though?

Patience probably would have worked better too. I let them sit for about 30 min before I rinsed them and sent them through the washer. Next time I'll let it sit for a day or two.

But all in all, they still turned a definite shade of green. Not bad for a first attempt. They are a little dirty in this picture, because a certain little boy in my house has been wearing them nonstop.
6 sprinkles of fairy dust:

L.O.V.E. !!! I love the process, the story, the fact that your little guy loves them!

I just love how you can find a cheap, moth eaten sweater at a thrift store and think to make Peter Pan pants out of it. :) How creative! Making your own dye sounds like fun. I'll have to try it sometime

I laughed, especially with the personality of my juicer. I read it to Josh, Luke, Julia, and Dad. Julia said, "Can you make me some Peter Pan pants?" Love you very much, Mom



Nice! Those are cute pants! :) I have a younger sister who will wear anything I make her nonstop, so that is completely understood.