DIY: Tesuji Shibori for Dummies

Tesuji is a combination of the Japanese words te which means ‘hand’ and suji which means ‘stripes’.

Tesuji_Final1Sure, 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

Strong twine

Indigo vat ( recipe in an earlier post here )


Pleating Instructions

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.

Tesuji_PleatsTying Instructions

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.

Tesuji_PleatedTesuji_Pleating_CloseUpDyeing Instructions

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.

Tesuji_PostSoakAfter this, it’s simply a matter of untying the thread and rinsing the fabric to remove excess indigo. Since I used silk fabric, I soaked in it in a vinegar bath for 15-20 min to neutralise the ph.

Tesuji_UntiedEt voila, here’s the finished piece after a couple of rinses.

Composite 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!



4 responses to “DIY: Tesuji Shibori for Dummies

  1. Absolutely gorgeous, Anu! Was the scarf a thin one?
    Analisa Hedstrom is giving a wkshop in Sept at Penwag in Campbell. Google Penwag, Peninsula Wearable Arts group, to find out more if you are interested.


    • Thanks Jan! Yes, the scarf was habotai. The workshop is already full, I didn’t even get a chance because I’m not a member of PENWAG but I may go for her talk! You planning to come??


  2. Pingback: shibori for dummies | The Indigophile·

  3. Great!!! I congratulate you, i was thinking ot would be nice you to post midori shibori tutorial (reverse pleat shibori)


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