Dye colours

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A summary of each dye colour is provided below, with more detailed information available by folowing the link to that dye colour.

Black Dye

Black is not a simple colour to obtain in period, especially early period - few things make true black dyes, and many black dyes are either not colourfast (fade quickly) or corrosive (eat through the fabric).

Blue Dye

Blue dye came from woad, and later in period, also from indigo. A limited number of shades were possible. Early period - a fairly prized dye colour, later a colour for the middle class.

Brown Dye

This is a somewhat simpler colour to obtain in period, and thus could be worn by the poor, for workday clothes and by monks sworn to poverty.

Green Dye

Contrary to popular misconception, good green colours were hard to produce. Dull brownish or yellowish greens are cheap, but a good nice green fabric might cost more than a blue fabric.

Period Brown

I am told, that in period the colour formed by mixing red and blue (eg overdying madder with woad) was considered to be brown, where in modern times we have a range of names for various shades: wine, maroon, etc.

Purple Dye

Purple dyes were much prized (and hence expensive) as few sources of purple were available. Range from redish purples to non-colourfast mauves and magenta colours.

Red Dye

Dark/dense reds were for the richer people (or at least the more expensive clothes of the poor), while pink (last from the dyepot) was a colour for cheaper fabrics (mostly).

Yellow Dye

Lots of dyes make period yellows, not all of them were very colourfast, but even colourfast varieties grew well. A fairly cheap colour to produce.