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Trust in the magic of dyeing with onion skins as you dip into the world of tesuji shibori, the Japanese art of pleating and binding fabric before staining


Breathing new life into an old duvet set is surprising­ly easy and oh-so satisfying. Don’t let the fabric preparatio­n put you off – this shibori technique will reward you with its unexpected patterns, plus dyeing with food waste is sustainabl­e and thrifty!


Once you’ve prepped the bedding (right), 1

begin working on the shibori designs. Lay the pillowcase­s out horizontal­ly on a flat surface. Fold one long edge back onto the pillowcase by 2.5cm. Continue to accordion fold, then secure in place with a peg or bulldog clip at both ends.

Pleat the duvet cover in sections. Start


at one corner, pleat five rows then secure with a peg. Moving vertically, shift down about 30.5cm and pleat another five rows. Use your fingers to comb the pleats up into the previous ones to match them up, secure the new section with a peg, then move down another 30.5cm. Move horizontal­ly to pleat the next section with another five rows, and then move vertically down the cover again. Repeat until the entire duvet cover has been pleated and pegged into different sections.

Unpeg the ends of the pillowcase­s. Lay 3

a length of thick rope vertically down the middle of the accordion folds and roll the inside folds around the rope. Re-secure one end with a peg and use the twine to tie a knot around the fabric and rope bundle at the other end. Wrap the twine around the bundle, spiralling down to capture the folded pleats around the inner rope core.

Wrap the duvet in twine by laying the


folded piece out with the pegs facing down and the inside of the pleats facing up.

Lay the rope inside and curl the cover around the rope, holding the sides together all the way down with pegs. Secure by wrapping with twine around the bundle, just like the pillowcase­s, removing pegs as you go.

Make the dye bath by adding 2–3


handfuls of onion skins into the stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil then set to a medium-low heat and simmer for 1–2 hours until the dye is a deep orange colour. Turn off the heat and leave overnight.

Once the dye bath is cool, place a sieve, 6

or a sieve lined with cheeseclot­h, over a bucket and pour inside. Dispose of the skins and transfer the liquid back into the stock pot.

Soak the fabric bundles in cool water for 7

30 minutes to 1 hour. Once the fabric has soaked, immerse it in the dye bath and heat on medium-low for 1-2 hours, stirring occasional­ly. Turn off the heat and leave overnight to soak and cool.

Remove the fabric from the pot and


rinse under cool water until the water runs clear. Lay the rinsed bundles on the plastic sheet, cut off the twine and unwrap. Wash and hang to dry in the shade.

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