• Dwynwen at Loch Ness Knitting

Bedroom Makeover - Part 3 Duvet Dyeing

In the last two posts I shared some photos of my recent bedroom makeover project. It was so satisfying to transform that dark cave into a bright, calm sanctuary space!


As part of that makeover process I decided to replace the old duvet cover, which had a huge tear in it.


I could have repaired this tear but I knew that I wanted to repurpose this fabric for another project.


TIP: You can extend the life of new items buy choosing a purchase that can be easily adapted to a second use. With fabric this means choosing sheets and covers made of 100% cotton which will make them easier to mend, dye and remake.





The first stage of this remake was to dismantle this duvet cover into 3 sections. I ripped along the edges then ripped again to split one of the sides in half. This gave me 3 sections of fabric for dyeing. I also removed the buttons and fastenings as they are plastic and often attached with nylon thread. They aren't going to dye so it is best to remove them.


If you are familiar with my books on sustainable natural dyeing for yarn, over at Loch Ness Knitting, you'll know that I first tried dyeing as a teenager. I still have some of my original tie dye projects in my wardrobe, I loved them so much!

This time I wanted to try a variation on Shibori dyeing. Shibori is a beautiful traditional Japanese method that is used to dye using Indigo. The process creates intricate patterns using resisted methods of ties, wax, blocks or clamps. Classic Shibori is highly skilled and creates some breathtaking textiles.


I'm used a simple, inspired by, version of folding and tie.


I also planned to use two dye colours so I folded to create large areas of resistance, ie remaining white. In order to refold and dye a second time.




Dyeing cotton fabric with natural dyes is difficult as cotton requires a long preparation process in order to saturate the fabric with proteins that will absorb the dye. It also requires a high heat during the process to make a strong bond between the fabric and the dye pigment.

There are pros and cons to all sustainable choices and in this case I decided not to use a natural dye. In the height of summer I didn't want to waste energy creating a hot dye bath, also I had partial dye packets left over from a previous project, probably redyeing my jeans to refresh the colour.


So I used the leftover dye packets to create solar dye baths and use the hot summer sun to activate the dye process.


One dye bath is a deep blue, inspired by those Shibori textiles. The other is a khaki green.



The fabric had one immersion, then rinse, dry and refolded before the immersing again in the second colour.

I love that the folding method gives a regular repeat in the dye pattern but not an exact repeat. So there is a cohesive style which maintains a unique hand dyed finish.


I'll be using the finished fabric to remake into a sewing project so don't forget to check out that post.


It's also fun to ask people what patterns, shapes and animals they see in the finished fabric.


So please add you comments below.


#dyeing #fabric #sustainable #remake #reuse #zerowaste #textile #shibori #homeproject

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