3 essential steps to shape a shibori seed head


shibori-seed-headAnd here is another charming design in shibori for you to make. This is inspired by the furled seed pod of the agapanthus. A reasonably easy design to create and does introduce you to 3 separate types of shibori patterns: maki-age for the cup, ori-nui for the stem and ne-maki shibori for the seeds.

3 easy steps to making your own seed head.

Drawing the design

You start by drawing the design on to ready for dyeing fabric (ie prewashed at 60 degrees C/ 140 degress F) with tailors chalk or removable fabric marker. You can copy the design shape from the finished photo. Choose a piece of fabric 25 x 20 cms or 10” x 8”. The seed head consists of cupped bowl, a stem and 4/5 seeds suggested by the small circles.

Stitching your design

The cup bowl is stitched around with a double thread starting and ending at the same place leaving long ends for gathering up later.

Bind 4 or 5 small beads, placed under the fabric nestling in the seed bowl shape.

The stem is added from the base of the seed head, to a length suitable for your fabric or design. This is created by carefully making a pleat along the line of the stem so you are pinching 4 thicknesses of fabric in your fingers. With a double thread and small cotton “tag” in the end sew through all the 4 layers of fabric.


(So as not to repeat my general instructions about sewing please look at this blog post to see the general tips of equipment needed. “7 Helpful Hints for shibori sewing” )

Gathering the stitching

Now it is time to pull all the stitching up. Start with the main cup of the seed head. Pull this up gathering tightly and knotting. Take a slightly thicker thread somewhere between button thread and double knitting weight and start at the bottom of the pulled together shape and knot it around at the base. Then continue winding the thread around til you get to the top and then tie the ends together to secure it.

For the stem pull the thread up and once pulled up separate the two threads and insert another “tag” between and tie a double knot around it securing the line of stitching. The thread needs to be pulled up very tight but without breaking it!


You now have your design ready for dyeing. If you need help on dyeing with fibre reactive dyes look at my previous blog. Or you may like to have a go dyeing with indigo.

Once dyed you unpick all the stitching to reveal the design. I hope you achieve a pleasing pattern and enjoy creating with shibori. Here is another example of the same design in pink.


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