How to make a successful miru shibori stitch resist square.

I receive many emails asking me questions about shibori stitch resist.

Let’s share some of these with you along with my answers. They may be the very question you are asking yourself. This will help you in your shibori work. It is always good to know others out there are having the same struggles!!

Today I will share a question about creating with miru shibori, Gaye recently wrote to me with a query.

shibori square
The photo that goes along with the question

The Question

“I don’t know what I am doing wrong. Why is the resist so pale? I used polyester thread, doubled, and am pulling as tight as I think can be, but I never get bold white around the pattern. Then I tried thicker thread, quilting number 10, doubled, but couldn’t get it through the fabric. What is the problem: the size of my stitches, the thread, or something else? Should I be varying the length of the stitches within a line, or between lines, or both? At the moment I am varying the length between the lines, but using the same length on any individual line.”

My Answer

  • Firstly this fabric is too thin/light in weight to get a good resist for miru shibori. This design will work better with a calico or light linen weight fabric. Moreover the fabric must also have a dense weave not a cheap calico with a loose weave.
  • Secondly if you do use a lightweight fabric like this, stitch more rows closer together. But you will end up with an awful lot of stitching!
  • The third secret is to vary the length of stitches in each row. Then ensure the stitches in the following row are out of alignment with the previous row.

An example of a successful Square in Miru Shibori

A miru shibori shibori square

Here we have a square sewn on a calico fabric and dyed with indigo. If a solid shape is wanted it is good to maintain the same distance between rows. Therefore the rows are sewn regularly 9 to 10mm apart.

When fibre reactive dyes or Rit dyes are used, these dyes penetrate more than indigo and generally needs more rows of stitching, closer together.  Consequently aim for 3/8ths inch or 4/5mm between rows.

how to sew a shibori square with 2 needles
The best way to sew a shibori square using two needles coming from one point.

In addition this square was created by using double needles sewing from the point in both directions. Consequently this ensured the stitching could be pulled up fully. Resulting in a better gather.

Examples of miru shibori

miru shibori on fine wool
Miru shibori on fine wool 4 to 5mm between rows of stitching
miru shibori on calico
Miru shibori on calico 6 to 7mm between rows of stitching
miru shibori on linen
Miru shibori on midweight linen 10mm between rows of stitching

It is possible to vary the distance between rows. But you need at the least 3 and perhaps 5 rows to get a solid block of resist. Look at this blog it may prove helpful to see how many rows and how close together.

In Summary

  • Always draw the square accurately on the fabric and THEN fold in half
  • Ensure you use a medium weight cotton fabric for best results.
  • Space the rows of stitching between 4 and 10 mm apart dependent on fabric or dye used
  • Vary the length of the stitches in each row

Happy Sewing!

“Thank you – your blog is a treasure for learning shibori and to get inspiration for patterns”

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