Lover Julie Sinden

Calling all colour lovers! Have you exhausted all DIY at-home activities? Summer 2020 has opened the door for many of us to explore our hidden creative talents whether it be painting, cooking, sewing, or like many, tie-dying old clothing at home. However, many of us have been running out of new, creative projects.

We, at The Good Tee, have been searching for ways to combine DIY and sustainability and stumbled upon self-proclaimed colour love, Julie Sinden, who shared with us her ultimate at-home DIY project to boost your creativity.

Julie’s love of colour and natural dyeing has literally translated into her brand--The Love of Colour-- a place to celebrate purchase natural dyes and celebrate  colour and textiles. 

Julie has been exploring the world of natural dyeing for almost twenty years as an award winning textile artist. She teaches and has shared this love with students for more than a decade, through events and workshops in Toronto and elsewhere.  In 2018 she launched Julie Sinden Handmade. We learned so much from Julie and had to share her story. 

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your sustainable journey so far.

I grew up with a very crafty mom, and began doing many textile-related activities at a very young age - sewing, knitting, cross-stitch and more. In 2002, I moved to BC to attend the Kootenay School of the Arts, where I majored in Textiles. One of the instructors at the school was big into natural dyeing, and we did an intro class in the very first weeks of school. I fell down the rabbit hole of using natural dyes, and over the course of the three years of the program, much of my work focused on natural dyes. When school was finished, I was back to Ontario and kind of began making a line of boiled wool hats, called Julie Sinden Handmade, which I still produce. The hats themselves were not hand-dyed, but on the side I continued learning and experimenting with natural dyes, and began to teach workshops at places such as the Workroom. A few years ago, I wanted to be able to expand that practice of teaching natural dyeing, and began making my beginner natural dye kits.  

2. What does your typical day look like?

Like most people, what a typical day looks like for me has changed dramatically since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. I have been working from home for almost 15 years, so that part I was very used to, and I was well set up for. But the total shutdown meant both that my husband and 6- year-old daughter were also home all the time, and that people were looking for things to keep them busy, and I suddenly was selling many more dye kits than usual. I had to figure out how to scale the business up, quickly, and with limited resources.  It was a challenging time, but also very rewarding as I saw so many more kits go out into the world, and so many people begin their journey with natural dyeing.

3. What is the one thing that keeps you inspired?

That’s simple - colour!

4. Do you remember the first time you tried to dye a product? What was that like?

I don’t know that I remember the very first time that I dyed something, as I would have been very young. But I do remember being in art school, and we were learning both synthetic and natural dyeing. I was dyeing a bunch of fleece for a felting project, and I used cochineal (a small scale insect that produces an incredible range of colours) for the first time. The wool came out the most vibrant, incredible pink. I couldn’t believe it. From that point, I was never really tempted to use synthetic dyes ever again.

Indigo colour

5. What are your natural dye  tips for beginners who want to try out dyeing their t-shirts at home?

Tie-dye is very popular this year, and our kits are a great option for folks who want to try tie-dyeing, but without all the harsh chemicals. However, tie-dyeing with natural dyes is not as straightforward as using synthetic dyes, as you aren’t able to have as much control as you do with synthetic dyes, where you just squirt the colours on where you want them to end up. But I find that the beauty and magic of natural dyeing comes with the unexpected.  There are so many things that can affect how a colour turns out, from what fibre you choose to dye, right down to the growing season in which the dye was cultivated. It all means that you are much less certain what you are going to end up with. But again - that is the magic of it!  So my biggest advice to folks beginning with natural dyes is to not have too formed of an idea or too clear of a picture in their mind of what they want the end result to look like. Be open, and you may not end up with exactly what you thought you would, but it will most certainly be beautiful.

6. What are your favorite dye products this year? 

My most popular product this year has been my rainbow dye kit bundle, where you can achieve all colours of the rainbow.  You get pink, orange, yellow and purple from the Natural Dye Kit, and the blue of course comes from the Indigo Kit.  And the green (which amazingly is a more difficult colour to achieve with natural dyes, which is funny since most plants are green) comes in when you take one of your yellow pieces and overdye it with the indigo, creating a gorgeous, clear green.

The Good Tee Launches Sustainable

Natural Dye Kits!

Indigo Dye Kit

Looking for something fun and creative to do over the weekend? Do you need a new at-home activity? Read further The Good Tee is excited to launch our Natural Dye Kits complete with Julie’s Dyes and a Good Tee!

Let’s start creating sustainable DIY projects together.

Tie dye kits

Stay tuned for Preorders. Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to grab a kit.

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