Dyeing to DIY… Shibori!

I love the look of shibori – which is hardly surprising, since I love all things blue and white, and fabric. I finally overcame my skittishness about dye and tried this technique… now, I am 100% addicted! I’ve got lots of pictures and ideas below.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • White or off-white cotton fabric
  • Rit fabric dye – I used navy for a traditional look, as well as trying black and fuschia. (Traditional shibori is done with indigo dye)
  • Rit dye fixative to increase color-fastness
  • Depending on the patterns you choose, items to create areas that resist dye: popsicle sticks, rubber bands, cardboard, string

Patterns:

I experimented with a lot of patterns, and I’ve got before and after picture to help you try your favorites!

Rolled and bound:

This is an easy pattern that involves rolling your fabric and cinching it with rubber bands or string. Note that the outside of the roll will be more heavily dyed than the inside.

Squares:

Accordion-fold the fabric in one direction and then repeat this in the other direction to make a stack of squares. I cut pieces of cardboard for the two ends and bound it with rubber bands.

Clothespins:

Accordion-fold your fabric and then place clothespins along both edges.

Triangles:

Accordion-fold your fabric to make a long, thin strip, then accordion-fold at 45 degrees to create the triangles. Attach a triangle of cardboard on the top and bottom and wrap securely with rubber bands

Triangles with top blocked:

This is a variation of the triangles. To make it, accordion-fold your fabric to make a long, thin strip, then accordion-fold at 45 degrees to create the triangles. Attach a triangle of cardboard on the top and bottom and wrap securely with rubber bands. I used popsicle sticks to block the dye more effectively from the tip of the triangle.

Circle block:

This starts like the squares – accordion-fold the fabric in one direction and then repeat this in the other direction to make a stack of squares. I cut pieces of cardboard in a circle shapevfor the two ends and bound it sticks and rubber bands. The circles are most distinct on the ends (top of picture) and less distinct on the inside (bottom of picture).

Honeycomb:

This was really fascinating, because the folding feels so imprecise, and the resulting pattern is very geometric. To make this pattern, lay a length of string along one end of your fabric and roll the fabric around the string to create a tube. Then, pull on the ends of the string to create gathers and tie the two ends of string together to make a loop. It creates this very cool diamond pattern, and the fabric on the inside of the roll (top of picture) will be lighter than the outside of the roll (bottom of picture).

Circles:

I gathered up sections of fabric and secured it with rubber bands. I’ve also seen this done with multiple concentric circles.

And finally, lots more eye candy from my shibori adventure. I have some ideas in mind for sewing with this fabric, and I’m also thinking of uploading some designs to Spoonflower to print larger sections and try different colorways!

If you’re looking for more ideas for shibori patterns, Jeni from In Color Order has many great examples for inspiration.

Happy dyeing!

Julie aka “Jewels”

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