Dye your own shibori chair

2C2A2810 copy.jpgRecycling week starts today so am posting some classy recycling projects on my blog this week. When I spotted this down at heel cocktail chair in a charity shop, I knew I was  onto a winner.

I made a pattern and then created my own shibori print just by pleating and using clothes pegs. The hook and loop tape opening on the side seam makes fitting easy.

Tip: Before doing anything with the fabric, wash on a hot wash and then tumble dry it on a hot setting. This way it will shrink as much as it is ever going to. Iron so you have flat fabric to work with.


You will need:

6m of medium weight Calico

Pins, needles and thread

Safety pins

Cotton tape

Water-soluble pen

Dylon Ocean blue hand dye


Clothes pegs

Sewing machine

Hook and loop tape


1.To make the pattern for each section of the chair cut out a piece of calico, cut them large so there’s enough spare fabric for fitting, the lower edge of the chair will need more than you think necessary to allow for making a tape casing, so be generous. Pin each section onto the chair and then add seam allowance. Remove the section and cut out. Sew the calico cover together, leave one of the side seams half open. Fit the cover onto the chair, pin the side seam closed and adjust the fitting, taking it in to give a closer fit.

2. Remove the calico cover from the chair, mark the sewn seams with felt pen as well as the centre line of each panel.

3.Unpick the calico cover, your pattern, and pin onto more calico to make the chair fabric. Cut out the fabric, into as many pattern pieces as you need, I had 6, and press.4 Pin pattern onto washed and ironed fabric.jpg

4.Concertina each pattern piece of calico into pleats.

5 Concrtina each pattern piece into pleats

5. Press flat with a steam iron.

6 Press Flat with a steam iron.jpg

6.Peg the pleated pieces at even intervals.

7 Peg each pattern pieceat regular intervals.jpg

7. Wet the pegged fabrics. Mix the  Dylon hand dye according to the manufacturers instructions and then put in the pegged fabric pieces. Follow the instructions on the dye packet.

8 Wet the pegged fabrics.jpg

8. Once the dye has taken, remove the pegs and open up the fabric and put the pieces under running water until the water runs clear.

9 remove pegs and rinse the pieces until the water runs clear..jpg

9. Wash and dry the pieces

10 wash and dry pieces.jpg

10.Sew the pieces together as you did for the original calico pattern leaving one of the side seams half open.

11 Sew all the pieces together .jpg

11. Try the cover on the chair inside out and pin any adjustments that need to be made. Remove the cover and make the adjustments on the sewing machine.

12 try the cover on the chair inside out and pin to make any adjustments needed.jpg

12. Cut a 3cm bias strip from calico to bind the curved raw edges around the chair legs. Pin, and sew, turn the raw edge under by 0.5cm then turn the binding and sew in place. Sew hook and loop tape to both sides of the seam opening.

13. To make the tape casing, turn lower edges of the chair cover in by 4cm, turn in the raw edge by 1cm then sew down close to the edge. Measure up for the tape, thread through the casings with a safety pin.







Bleached Out – How to decorate fabric using bleach

How to create patterns using bleach

Ok so we’ve all done it, been cleaning a work surface and inadvertently brushed up against it and ended up with a bleach blob on a much loved garment. This got me thinking about using bleach in a positive way. I dyed some cotton bags in Jeans blue dye and then I applied the bleach in patterns.

Just a quick note before you start:

Don’t attempt this project anywhere near  children and protect anything including work surfaces, garments and skin that you don’t want marked with bleach. Use with caution and wear rubber gloves.


You will need

 Cotton bags

Jeans blue hand dye




Small container

Pencil with an eraser on the end of it

Small piece of pipe lagging (optional)

Paint brush

Rubber gloves

Paper or plastic, to insert into the bag whilst working on it.


Tip : When printing use something with a long handle so that you can hold it and apply the bleach without getting bleachy thumb prints on the bag.

  1. Mix the dye with salt according to the manufacturers instructions. Dye the bags.
  2. Place the bags under running water until the water runs clears. Hang up to dry.
  3. Iron the bags flat.
  4. Place a piece of paper between the font and the back of the bag so that as you work the colour won’t seep from the front to the back.
  5. Put on your rubber gloves, pour the bleach into a small container.
  6. Apply the bleach to the bag. Create stripes using a paint brush and long strokes. Make zig zags as you did the stripes using a decorators paint brush. Make dots by placing the eraser end of the pencil into the bleach and applying it to the bag. Use lagging, for central heating pipes, by dipping this in the dye and then placing on the bag in rows. As you work first of all the bleach doesn’t show but over time it changes to a copper brown colour then to a pinky hue and lastly a washed out pinky white.
  7. Leave to dry and then hand wash.


Credits –

Fabric dye – Dylon (http://www.dylon.co.uk/)

Rugs – Flair Rugs (http://flairrugs.com/)



Create your own feather sun prints

To make a sun print you need some sunlight and the technique is easier to do in spring and summer than in the winter. However even on an overcast day you can get good results if you are patient. The Sunprint paper goes through a chemical change when it is exposed to sunlight and even as it is drying the areas that have been exposed to the sunlight will carry on changing in depth of colour. Once cut up and mounted they look fabulous in any interior and would make a great present too.


You will need


Sun print kit from Fred Aldous, including sheets of sun-print paper and acrylic sheet

Piece of cardboard

An A4 shallow container filled with water

Cutting mat

Steel Rule

Craft Knife


Picture Frames

TIP : Make sure to peel off any backing paper from the acrylic before starting.


  1. Go outside, and find a sunny spot. Take a piece of Sunprint paper and place it blue side up on top of the cardboard. Arrange the feathers on top of the blue paper and place the acrylic sheet on top of all of it. Try and comb out the feather so it looks wispy and feather like.
  2. Expose to the sun until the paper turns almost white from 1-5minutes depending on the sunlight. Do not leave too long as it will over expose. Remove the acrylic sheet and the feathers.
  1. Rinse the paper for about a minute and then leave sun prints to dry, before cutting out and fitting into the frame.

You can buy your sun paper from http://www.fredaldous.co.uk


Credits –

Sun print paper – Fred Aldous (http://www.fredaldous.co.uk)

Vase – Habitat (http://www.habitat.co.uk)



‘Pure Colour’ by Jane Cumberbatch Book Review


Picking up this book with its Marjorelle blue cover, fuschia pink endpapers and acid green graphics you know you are in for a visual treat. Stylist Jane Cumberbatch has created an inspirational source of colour inspiration.

‘Decorating a room is like painting a picture.’

As Jane says ‘There is nothing more pleasurable that starting with a blank canvas and filling your home with the colours and textures that you find most pleasing.’

The book is divided into five colour palettes: blues, greens, yellows, pinks and whites.

IMG_7191 high res.jpeg

‘The garden, the sea and the landscape are our colour charts and provide a veritable paint box of inspiration. From the bean greens of the vegetable patch, to the eau de nil wash of a calm evening tide, images are stored as snapshots. The first pink rosebud on a May morning is as perfect a shade for a wallpaper border as it is a cue for a lipstick colour or fabric for a long swirly summer skirt.’

So whether you are looking to transform your whole house, or simply for a few quick and easy ideas to brighten up a neglected corner, you are sure to find inspiration within these pages. Jane’s own notes and musings read like a diary and you feel as though you have been allowed into someone’s secrets thought processes. The book is packed full of stunning, evocative photographs.

I particularly like her rhubarb and custard, yellow and pink, combination. This is not a pairing that I would have thought of, but it works. There are practical examples throughout, whether you prefer to experiment with adding small splashes of contrasting colour to bring life to a room, or try a softer, more harmonious scheme. The book is packed full of everyday ideas to enable you to furnish your home with freshness and simplicity.