How to sew shibori with two needles

Today I wanted to introduce you to using two needles to create shibori designs. It is a very useful technique if you have lots of curved shapes close together. I will use a shibori seed head design to show you this way of working.

white shibori design on deep pink background

Additionally, I am using 2 other shibori stitches, maki-nui and ori-nui (the stem), and ne-maki (the seed). For general information about sewing with shibori go to this blog.

Let us get started.

Sewing Shibori With Two Needles Step by Step

1. Firstly, copy or trace the template with a water-soluble pen on to some soft cotton fabric. The design is 20cm or 8″ tall.

Blue pen drawing of shibori seed head

2. Next, thread two needles with the same double length of thread. Bring all four threads together and attach a small tag as shown. You are ready to start sewing shibori with two needles.

3. Working through one layer of fabric, starting at the centre of the base of the seed head bring one needle through and start stitching to the left. Likewise, use the second needle and start stitching to the right.

Stitching shibori with two needles

4. Continue to the end of each row of stitching and repeat this for each of the three curved shapes.

5. In addition, sew two short lines of running stitch through one layer of fabric to complete the seed head.

6. Attach 1 small bead to the back of the design with a stitch and knot.

7. To make the stem use maki-nui or oversew stitch, illustrated here. Firstly, mark the fabric at 8mm/ 3/8” along the length of the stem. Fold the fabric along the line of the stem. Using the markings enter the needle and gather the fabric onto the needle as shown.

Shows stitching of oversew shibori stitch on cream fabric

8. Finally sew another line 5mm or 3/16th inch below the oversew stitch, of single running stitches through both layers of fabric.

9. On the front side of the fabric bind the bead using a slightly chunkier yarn. Bind around it 3 or 4 times.

10. In conclusion gather all the stitching methodically before dyeing.


You now have your design ready for dyeing. If dyeing with fibre reactive or plant dyes weigh the fabric while dry. Next soak in water ready to dye. This seed head is dyed with Jacquard Procion MX dye colour Raspberry.

Once dyed you unpick all the stitching to reveal the design. Hope you enjoy creating this. Do share your designs and tag me in on Facebook or Instagram @TownhillStudio or email me.

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