Have fun creating patterns on fabric with folding and dyeing

itajime fabrics

Today I am sharing some of my experiments with itajime (clamped shibori). There are many ideas on other blogs but I just have to start at the beginning and do some trials and designs using clamps with my fabrics to get the feel of it all and what patterns result as I fold the fabric this way or that.

There are many well known shibori artists who use itajime and you can gain a lot of information from them. Ana Lisa Hedstrom has produced detailed videos showing the various ways to manipulate fabric. Here is a link to Ana Lisa Hedstrom’s website 

But I think you just have to get down to it and play with fabrics and shapes, have fun and see what comes out. I kept it quite simple to begin with using barberry bark to dye the silk fabrics.

4 Clamping Experiments

4 clamped itajime fabrics
Each design is shown folded and clamped before dyeing. Numbered for reference.

Design 1 Circles

itajime folding circles

A rectangular piece of fabric is folded in 4 back and forth along the longer side and then folded again into triangles concertina wise (back and forth on itself) A 2 ¼” / 6cm circular acrylic block is clamped both sides of the triangularly folded fabric.

Design 2 Squares

itajime folding squares

A rectangular piece of fabric is folded in 3 back and forth along the longer side and then folded again into squares concertina wise (back and forth on itself) A 2 ¼” / 6cm square acrylic block is clamped both sides of the folded fabric square. Pretty basic this one!

Design 3 Diagonals

itajime folding diagonals

A rectangular piece of fabric is folded in 6 back and forth along the longer side and then folded again into triangles concertina wise (back and forth on itself) A 2 ¾” / 7cm triangular acrylic block is clamped both sides of the triangularly folded fabric.

Design 4 “Tile” Pattern

itajime folding tile design

A rectangular piece of fabric is folded in 4 back and forth along the longer side and then folded again into squares concertina wise (back and forth on itself) A 2 ¼” / 6cm circular acrylic block is clamped both sides of the triangularly folded fabric. I do love this design.

Each design was then dyed in barberry bark, quite a subtle gold colour.

I hope the little diagrams helped. Just get a piece of fabric and have a play with folding, clamping and dyeing it and see what comes out. There are lots of other ideas on Pinterest.

The next step is to mix more of my stitch resist techniques with the clamping!

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