How to Ensure Shibori Success: Choosing the Right Fabric for Shibori

shibori stitching on 3 different fabrics

Today let’s look at what is a good cotton fabric for shibori. We are going to look at 3 different fabrics and see what difference the weave makes to creating a successful result.

I receive many emails asking me questions about shibori stitch resist. I like to share these on my blog to help others too. It is always good to know others out there are having the same struggles!!

Usually it is individuals wondering why they haven’t had much success and often this is down to the type of fabric used.

I am going to show you a simple shibori design on three different cotton fabrics.

Fabric for shibori needs to be easy to sew, soft but tightly woven. Correspondingly the cotton fabric must not be too heavy or thick which will make it very difficult to gather up fully. Also be careful sewing with old and vintage fabrics because they can be too worn and cannot take all the manipulation that is required for shibori without tearing.

3 Examples of Fabric for Shibori

All 3 samples were sewn with the same thread and then dyed in the same dye pot.

1. Basic Cotton Muslin

shibori stitching on muslin

Muslin is too thin and too loose a weave. The pattern distorts and the outline is fuzzy. But sometimes I do deliberately use this quality of fabric if I want this effect!

2. Coarse Weave Fabric

shibori stitching on loose weave fabric

The pattern is not distorted here but it is too faint and indistinct as a coarser loose weave will allow dye to bleed into the stitched area. In a complicated shibori stitch resist design you will lose some of the pattern detail.

3. Poplin/Calico Type Fabric

shibori stitching on close woven fabric

This is one of my favourite fabrics to use. It is soft to handle and has a tight weave which produces a sharp and distinct shibori pattern.

Suggested Fabrics For Shibori and Suppliers

All the fabrics here are from UK based companies but both companies will supply worldwide.

Here are my three favourite fabrics for shibori at the moment. They are all made from organic cotton or hemp.

Organic Cotton Hampton Natural from Whaleys of Bradford

Classic Hemp Cloth from The Hemp Shop

Mid Hemp Muslin (This is not a muslin it is more like a lightweight linen) This is particularly good for making cushions, slightly heavier in weight than the Classic Hemp cloth but still easy to work with shibori stitching. From The Hemp Shop.

I hope these stitched examples show how important it is to choose the right fabric for shibori.

The information in this blog is taken from my online shibori course “Create a Collection of Flowers in Shibori Stitch Resist”. If you would like to learn more to ensure your success with your shibori consider joining my course. Information about fabrics and the best colours to use for shibori and wonderful designs for you to make. Step by step instructions to teach you how to create with shibori stitch resist. Here is a lovely cushion which you will learn how to make on the course.

a madder dyed ori nui patterned cushion

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