Do you find that doing one thing often leads to another? After making new Oxford cushion covers, I realised that the other cushion covers I had looked scruffy. They were cream and after a couple of years were past their best, especially when new covers were put alongside them. With some left over linen fabric, I decided to try tie-dying fabric to get some pattern into the room as most of the other textiles are plain. I liked the idea of a tie-dye cushion cover or two.
To make a tie-dye cushion cover
My cushion pads are 50cm, so I cut four 65cm square pieces of linen. I cut them larger than required to allow for the fabric fraying in the washing machine. I was aiming for a fairly plain stripe design and started by pressing folds into the linen fabric about 5cm in depth.
Once I had finished ironing the folds I was left with a piece of fabric that was ready to bind with elastic bands for the dyeing process.
When you dye, there is always an element of the unexpected. I wanted to make a tie-dye cushion cover that had a similar pattern front and back, and if possible wanted to make a pair of cushions so I worked carefully to ensure I had two sets of fabric prepared in the same way.
I pressed the four pieces of fabric into 5cm concertina folds then folded each strip in half to find the middle and bound with elastic bands. I folded each end to the middle and bound with elastic bands on each side of the centre, to give three stripes across the fabric.
I used Dylon Machine Dye in navy as I wanted the look of Shibori without the hard work of dying by hand in a dye bath. I started by washing the fabric to remove any dressing. Then I tipped the contents of the dye pack into the washing machine drum and washed on a 40°C cycle. Once the machine had finished, I took out the fabric, cut off the bands and washed through once again before leaving to dry.
The fabric had frayed quite a bit in the wash and I was glad I cut the pieces generously as I had plenty of room to cut square to the right size for my cushion covers. Next time, if I had fabric likely to fray as much, I would neaten the edges with my sewing machine before dyeing.
I made up some piping with un-dyed, plain linen and stitched around the cushion covers, inserting a zip to make it easy to remove the cushion covers when they need cleaning.
I am pleased how they sit with the other cushions we have on the sofas.
It just goes to show that with one piece of linen and a little bit of time to dye some of it, you can get two very different looking covers.