Tesuji is a combination of the Japanese words te which means ‘hand’ and suji which means ‘stripes’.
Sure, I’d read about this pleat + bind technique in the book – Shibori, The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing but it wasn’t till I saw this super helpful tutorial on Momiji Studio , that I finally got around to trying it. Here’s how it works.
Fabric, ideally open weave and/or light weight
Thick plastic rope ( i found an unused garden hose that served as a substitute)
Pegs / Binder clips
Indigo vat ( recipe in an earlier post here )
1. Accordion fold the fabric into pleats. Traditionally, the pleats are uniform, measuring 1 to 1.5cm. But it’s fun to mess with that! Pleats shown here are sort of uniform but 3cm in length.
2. Iron as you pleat.
3. Use pegs or clamps to keep the pleats in place.
Momiji Studio Insider Tip 1 > Spraying the fabric with a little water while ironing makes it much easier to pleat.
1. The pleated fabric needs to be placed on the rope.
2. With the twine, bind the fabric nice and tight on the rope. Secure strong knots at the beginning and at the end, so that the twine doesn’t come undone during dyeing process.
Momiji Studio Insider Tip 2 > Make sure to wear gloves; binding the twine can get a little tough on the palms.
1. Soak the bound fabric in water for a few hours or overnight.
2. Gently squeeze the excess water out before dipping the fabric in the indigo vat.
3. Dip completely for 30-60 secs, remove and let it oxidise.
4. Repeat Step 3 till you achieve the desired darkness of blue.
I love this subtle tesuji pattern with mild blues ( note: I used a pretty dilute vat). A big shout out to Jessica over at Momiji Studio for showing the way!