I’ve had this on my “To Do” list for years: literally Finally, after some reading, some dyeing experience and creating some suitable space for the project, I accumulated a few supplies and got started.
- 100% cotton fabric, prepared for dyeing
- resist material such as rubber bands, twine, flat templates in simple shapes
- dye bath using Procion MX Indigo color
- additives – soda ash, salt –
- mask to cover nose and mouth while handling undissolved dye powder
- elbow length rubber gloves
- plastic sheeting to protect working surface and floor as needed
The term Shibori refers to a technique used to dye fabric. In Japan, the earliest evidence of its use dates all the way back to the 8th Century!
Shibori is a type of resist technique in which the fabric itself is manipulated by sewing or wrapping or folding. When the dye is applied it is unable to reach the areas that have been obstructed by the folds etc. Thus, some very appealing patterns can be generated.
I enjoyed this process so much and was able to try out a variety. I folded, fan-folded, flag-folded, bound with rubber bands or twine. I even applied plexiglass shapes to the ends of my folded cloth on several occasions and bound it all together. This variety of Shibori is called Itajime.
Some bundles of Itajime ready for the dye pot:
It can get a little messy – took me until the next day to get all the blue off my fingers. And yes I did wear rubber gloves. Traditional Shibori uses an Indigo dye that is complicated to use. I achieved my results with a Procion MX dye – the color indigo.
What I loved most? After the fabric bundles had “cured” for many hours, rinsing them off and undoing them for the great reveal! A lot of Shibori is predictable according to the specific technique. But there’s always that serendipity that the individual introduces so that each piece is unique.
Some of my results showing the bundle after it has ‘cured’ in the dye bath; then the fabric that resulted following unfolding and rinsing with tap water.
The colors lightened slightly after washing, drying and pressing. In some cases this added to the definition.
I also threw in a larger piece of fabric “as is” and now have some mottled Indigo fabric in my stash.
All in all, a VERY satisfying afternoon of work!