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How to create an indigo forest of shibori stitch resist leaves

shibori leaf designs dyed with indigo

Stitch resist shibori lends itself to making natural forms and patterns and particularly to making leaf shapes. Today I will explore 4 different leaf designs that you may like to make.

The designs have similarities but are different sizes and shapes and sewn on different materials, silk and cotton.

Please look at my previous blog that outlines how to stitch shibori and gives lots of useful tips. How to prepare the fabric and what cotton to use. There is also my video which will give you more information.

It is important to draw the whole design before folding so that you achieve the correct shape and feel to your design. You can copy or trace my designs to help you achieve a pleasing pattern.

4 Different Leaf Designs to Make

1. Large leaf on silk

shibori stitch resist large leaf silk

This regular leaf shape is made by folding the fabric in half along the centre line of the leaf and then sew the 8 lines of simple running stitches parallel to each other through both layers of fabric with double thread and a small cotton “tag” knotted into the end of each row of double thread.

stitching for large leaf silk

As a guide the leaf length is 18cm / 6 ½”. When sewing silk I often tack the fold in place as silk tends to slip as you are sewing.  All the 8 rows of stitches are pulled up tightly one by one and tied off at the end and then dyed.

2. Small leaf on cotton

small leaf shibori

This is made in the same way as the previous leaf. The size of this leaf is 7cm / 2 ½” long. As it is smaller we only use 5 lines of simple running stitches parallel to each other through both layers of fabric with double thread and a small cotton “tag” knotted into the end of each row of double thread. One by one pull up the 5 rows of threads for each leaf 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.

3. Narrow leaf and stem on cotton

shibori stitch resist leaf and stem cotton

This pleasing pattern is made in by folding and stitching through both layers of fabric a line for the centre of the leaf and another line of stitching for the outline of the leaf. The stem is created by making a single fold along the line of the stem and stitching with running stitches. With a double thread and small cotton “tag” in the end sew through 2 layers of fabric. The size of these leaves vary between 9 to 11cms / 3 ½” to 4” long.

As with the other designs all the stitching is pulled up tight before dyeing.

4. Stem and leaf design on silk

shibori stitch resist leaves

As a guide these leaves are 7cm / 2 ½” long. Each of the 5 leaves are stitched around with a double thread starting and ending at the same place leaving long ends for gathering up later. It is helpful to keep your starting and ending place on the outside of each leaf shape, it makes it all easier.

The stem 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.

Pull up all the stitching of the 5 leaves. Pull each of these up in turn 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 until you get to the top and then tie the ends together to secure it. Do this with each of the 5 shapes. Then pull up the stem stitching.

 

I do hope this collection of leaf designs inspires you to have a go creating your own shibori fabrics and patterns. I suggest trying No 3 first, there is less stitching and so easier to manipulate. It is a very simple but satisfying design to make. I hope you enjoy creating some of these.

 

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