Michelle, Spoonflower team member and sometime-teacher in the Spoonflower Greenhouse, is here visiting the blog today to share a tutorial for the perfect spring project-- stitched shibori. Shibori is a traditional Japanese method for creating patterns on fabric with dye by binding, stitching, folding, or twisting. Stitched shibori allows for greater control when dyeing, and can produce really beautiful results. Fabric dyed with shibori designs can be used for apparel, quilting, or crafting, and your uniquely stitched and dyed creations would also make for a gorgeous start to a digital fabric design!
strong thread, such as upholstery or button weight
natural fiber fabric, such as cotton, linen, or silk
dye (I used Rit)
bucket or bowl for dyeing
Thread your needle and tie a knot in one end of your thread. Stitch your fabric. Leave a tail at the end of your stitched line. Simple running stitches can create beautiful designs. Try folding the fabric and then stitching. You can stitch shapes, not just straight lines. Think of these first fabric pieces as samples, the more you experiment the more you will learn.
When you have all of the stitched lines on your fabric, pull the threads as tight as you can and secure them.
Time to set up your dye bath! I used liquid Rit dye in very hot water with a little salt added. The more dye you use, the darker your colors will be.
Dip your samples into the dye bath. I let mine hang out in the dye for about 10 seconds each. Squeeze out the excess dye.
Rinse your fabric while it is still gathered. Start with cold water, and gradually move to warm as your water runs clear.
Cut your thread very carefully. Using a seam ripper is helpful because you are less likely to cut a hole in your fabric. Take your time doing this, because one slip of the scissors can ruin your fabric. Pull out all of the threads, allow your fabric to dry, and admire your design!
Remember, there are no right or wrong answers when dyeing fabric. Have fun! If something doesn’t turn out quite how you want it, try re-stitching a different design and over-dyeing in a darker color.