Today I am going to outline some very basic and useful tips for helping to make your shibori sewing easier and more successful. This is based on my many years of creating lamps and lampshades from shibori stitched fabrics. Here are my basic rules to making a success of sewing shibori patterns in fabric which I have learnt over time.
Above you see my “tools of the trade”. I will just point out the different items shown. There are tailors chalks in different colours for marking the fabric. A large selection of needles and I show a needle threaded with double thread. A collection of different colour polyester threads for sewing. Just to the right are the little cotton “tags” that I knot in the end of every thread I am using for sewing to stop the thread slipping through. And at the top there is a selection of different weight threads for binding and tying.
Here are some hints to make it a success.
- Use Polyester thread (not cotton) because this rarely breaks. And you can’t beat Gutermann thread for strength and reliability.
- Always select a thread similar in colour to the final dyed fabric as I have found that colour can transfer in the dyeing process.
- Use your sewing thread double for strength and for ease of tying off at the end.
- Place and tie a small piece of thick wool or cotton in the end of the thread before starting sewing. Do this by making a loop and slipping the thick wool or cotton through and tying again to make it really secure. This prevents the thread slipping through when you come to pull it up.
- Use a strong thick cotton or linen thread for tying in small beads
- Sew everything you want to sew and put any beads into the cloth before gathering up all the threads.
- After pulling and gathering up each and every thread separate the two threads and at the end of the thread place and tie another small piece of thick wool or cotton to pull the fabric up tight against. Here is a fabric pulled up and ready to dye. Yes it can get a little complicated with a very detailed design.
I really hope this helps you. But there is nothing like learning how to create these wonderful textiles from someone who does this stitch resist and shibori technique every day. Come and join a workshop with a group of like minded people, you will find many possible workshops around to join in with.
This fabulous selection of shibori design fabrics were created by many talented individuals on a number of workshops run by Townhill Studio.