Discover Inspiring Ideas for Mending with Shibori Patterns

I want to share with you another example of mending with shibori patterns. I am going to show you how I made the small patches I used, a simple flower and a seaweed design.

There are so many wonderful examples of visible mending particularly on Instagram which has inspired me. But of course, I want to bring shibori in somehow!

These cord jeans are my most favourite pair, I just love the colour. To mend and upcycle them I created some colour co-ordinated pieces of shibori fabric. I decided I wanted to use a bright green to contrast with the original deep green. As I sewed them on, I was initially pleased with the result but once I started wearing them I did not like the contrasting green. You will see in later photos I overdyed the jeans, patches and all, and I am much happier!

As I result of this mend I know I definitely prefer those patches that match the original garment in colour. The embroidery floss is also selected to blend and colour match but still create texture and interest.

The Process of Mending with Shibori Patterns

Creating the First Shibori Patch for Mending

This is a simple but effective pattern, a five petalled flower in maki-age shibori. Drawing the 5 divisions accurately helps make this pattern a success. It is approximately 6cms or 2 ½” across. Stitch around the shape with the thread double, gather it up and bind it with a heavier weight cotton. See my blog on maki-age shibori for more detail.

Creating the Second Shibori Patch for Mending

This piece is created with ori nui stitch. The pattern is a small variation on ori nui. Draw a few wavy lines, about 5cm/ 2” (or a little more) apart. In addition, draw random circles along the lines, using something like the end of a cotton reel 3cm/ 1 ¼” diameter. Stitch 3mm / 1/8th inch from the fold in simple running stitches through both layers of fabric with double thread and a small cotton “tag” knotted into the end of the thread.

As you stitch this design along the fold when you come to the circle take the stitching around the line of the circle and return back to the line. Simple! For more information look at this blog.

Stitching the Patches

After dyeing the small patches, I pinned the pieces to the worn areas of the jeans and tacked them in place. I kept the edges raw.

Following that I started the sewing close to the shibori design. Working like this allows the shibori design to inspire stitch direction. I follow the shape and use the curves and lines to dictate my embroidery stitches. My principal stitches of choice are running stitch, feather stitch and seed stitch. In these examples I used 3 strands of floss to sew with. I love varying the colours of the floss, but all matching in shades of greens, soft blues and creams.

“Thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful ideas and designs for Shibori projects. Your emails bring such peace and calm in these difficult times. As a Shibori-novice I love your posts as they help me to understand so much more about the technique and give me the confidence to keep persevering!”

Redyeing the Finished Jeans

Furthermore, as I mentioned at the beginning, I realised I found the strong contrast not to my liking. You may say what a shame as the stitching is so much more obvious against the bright green! But I am happy and now love wearing them. Which is the point of the mending!

Since the first patches I have had to do further reinforcement attaching a strong piece of linen to the reverse and stitching through the layers. Here are the jeans through there various stages of transformation.

Hope this project of mine inspires you in your upcycling and mending journeys

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