Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Shibori Dyeing Practice!


I came across Shibori Dyeing on Pinterest and fell right in love. I've always loved tie-dye but Shibori...Shibori is like tie-dye on Adderall. SO PRETTY!!!

I was a bit intimidated, honestly, but then I thought, "What the hell?" Most of my best decisions start that way. :) And this? THIS, FOLKS?


I wanted to try as many different techniques as I possibly could, so this is a long and photo-heavy post. Ready?

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Materials, Assemble!!

- a 5-gallon bucket
- a bottle of Rit Dye (traditional Shibori is navy blue so that's what I got, but you can use ANY color!)
- rubber gloves
- plastic bag
- rubber bands
- embroidery thread
- and of course a yard of white cotton fabric

I took my yard of fabric and cut it thusly: two long strips, four small napkin-sized pieces, and one larger headscarf-sized square:

Then, I put some hot water into the bucket and soaked the fabric for about 20 minutes to prepare it for the dye:

I started with the long pieces (I'll call them A and B). There were three different ways I wanted to use to actually dye it (as far as dye strength and length of time), and the two long pieces will enjoy the first of those three.

Here's one long piece:

I pinched up a bit of it and wrapped a rubber band TIGHTLY around the pinched bit about an inch down.

I did that all over the scarf, evenly spaced:

Now on to piece B!

I folded it up from the short end accordion-style:

All the way up:

Then turned and did another accordion fold the other way so it made a nice little bundle:

Then I wrapped it with rubber bands to hold it in place:

On to piece C!

The large headscarf piece.

I folded it in half lengthwise, then again, then again.

I folded down one corner to make a triangle:

Then I folded the triangle back behind the strip, then folded another triangle down, then back, then down, etc. until I got this flag fold:

Secured the three corners with rubber bands:

And moved on to my napkin pieces (D, E, F, and G)! 

D got straight lines straight-stitched through the fabric:

Then I scrunched it up along the threads and tied the threads off nice and tight:

Napkin E got little embroidered spirals, placed like the 5 of clubs, on each corner and in the center:

Squished them up, tied them off, and put it aside:

Napkin F got some wavy diagonal straight stitches (I'm calling it "free-form", LOL):

Again, squished it all up and tied it off tightly:

Finally, Napkin G got sort of the most random and made up treatment. I sort of half-accordion-folded half-squished the napkin:

Then wrapped embroidery thread tightly around it, tying it off at each end:

I also grabbed a big cotton sheet and tore it into various pieces and scrunched, wrapped, and rubber-banded it a little more randomly. I didn't have any photographic evidence of that process, but I do have finished pictures below!


Dye Process #1: I mixed 1 Tbsp. of dye with 1 cup of VERY hot water (around 140F). It probably goes without saying that ANYTHING you use for dyeing - cup measures, spoon measures, buckets, towels, rubber gloves - should ONLY be used for dyeing from that point forward.

Dumped that whole mixture into the bucket:

Then I took pieces A and B (the long scarf pieces) and quickly dipped them into the dye (wearing my rubber gloves of course). I made sure they were well-saturated, then dropped them immediately into a plastic bag and closed it off. There they would sit for 24 hours:

(Gross picture but it was hard to take pictures during this part!)

Then I put around a gallon of hot water into the bucket to dilute the dye mixture a little bit. Into that went allllll the rest of the pieces. The headscarf (piece C) got 5 minutes in the dye bath. The rest of the pieces got a full 30 minutes. 

As each one came out, I removed the rubber bands and embroidery thread and rinsed the piece fully in cold water. Each piece also then got a quick no-detergent wash in the washing machine, and a low-heat tumble dry.

Below...BEHOLD! My results!

Okay FIRST of all, diluting the dye clearly dilutes the strength of the color. A lot of these came out purple instead of navy blue, which was kind of a bummer.

The 5-minute headscarf came out kind of nice! The flag fold made these cool little lines and geometric patterns:

The napkins (which were in for 30 minutes) came out GREAT!

Here's the one with the straight lines I stitched:

And here's the one with the diagonal stitches:

Here's the one I scrunched and wrapped (LOOK at those zebra-like stripes!):

And here's the one with the spiral embroidery - not the most impressive, I think:

Here's one of the pieces of sheet I threw in at the last minute (again, in the diluted dye bath for 30 minutes)...this one was accordion-folded and rubber-band-wrapped similar to piece A above:

And this one was just scrunched up and wrapped with multiple rubber bands up and down the length:

This one got a diagonal accordion-fold-scrunching technique with rubber bands wrapped all around it:

The STARS OF THE SHOW however were the ones I dipped in the stronger dye solution and let sit in a bag overnight:

Look at those!!! AMAZING!!! That is definitely the way to go if you want strong color and well-defined patterns. I HATE waiting 24 hours for beauty, but in this case? It is SO WELL WORTH IT!

Try this folks! It's easy and fun! And the results cannot be beat. You can probably look forward to seeing a variety of Shibori techniques, colors, and projects from me in the future!


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