Make a shibori swallow in guntai shibori

Let me show you how to make a shibori swallow. This little swallow is part of a lampshade design I am creating at the moment. I thought I would share the pattern with you.

how to make a shibori swallow

The bird is sewn using guntai shibori stitch. Guntai shibori is a tight oversew stitch whereby the fabric is folded in on itself and makes a random pattern. The only drawback is it is a challenge to unpick once you have dyed it!! Therefore, care must be taken to not catch the fabric and make a hole. Indeed, my experience tells me that is quite easy to do.

I have found that this stitch works best with indigo or Rit dyes. I do not get such a good clear shape when using fibre reactive or plant dyes like madder etc.

Let’s Start to make a Shibori Swallow

pattern drawing for making a shibori swallow
Drawing of the swallow

Firstly, draw the bird very clearly with fabric marker as shown, dividing the bird up into segments as indicated. These lines are your guidelines while stitching. For your information the size of the bird is 9cm / 3 ½” beak to tail. You could make it a little bigger.

Secondly, thread the needle with a double thread and attach a small tag at the end to stop the thread pulling through. In addition, look at my blog full of helpful hints for sewing shibori.

Start the stitching at the beak and work the main body back to the tail. Take the needle diagonally behind the fabric to make each stitch. Most importantly pull the thread tight with each stitch. Moreover, make sure you don’t catch the fabric with the needle at the back of the fabric, as you roll it.

Continue to the end of the tail and tie another tag in to secure it.

Similarly sew the second fork of the tail, starting close to the body and working towards the end. I suggest starting each of the wings form the tips working inwards. As the wings widen out towards the body the stitching gets a little more challenging, you have more fabric to gather in.

The completed stitching of swallow pattern in shibori
How the stitching looks when all completed

After dyeing with Rit dyes or indigo carefully unpick your stitching and reveal your beautiful bird.

shibori swallows on gold
Variations of shibori stitched swallows

FREE Shibori Pattern & Video Guide

Join my newsletter mailing list and download a FREE pattern & video guide to making this diamond.

Scroll to Top