Be Motivated to Make These 3 Shibori Sprig Leaf Designs

3 maki age leaf designs

These three shibori sprig leaf designs are delightful to create using one particular stitch resist shibori technique, maki-age shibori. It is a reasonably easy design to create and does introduce you to 2 separate types of shibori patterns: Maki-age for the leaves, and ori-nui for the stem.

Maki-age shibori is such a useful way of working to create irregular patterns, such as leaves, petals, seed heads and buds, all types of simplified natural motifs. Each design pattern is first outlined in a running stitch which is pulled up tightly then bound around with a heavier thread. Varied thickness of threads and winding the threads very close together or further apart produce different effects in the finished design.

4 Steps Which Apply to Each Design

1. Drawing the Design

You start by drawing the shibori sprig leaf designs on to ready for dyeing fabric (ie prewashed at 60 degrees C/ 140 degress F) with tailors chalk or removable fabric marker.  I used a piece of fabric 40 x 20cms (16” x 8”) for each design.

2. Stitching your Design

Create the stem first. This is made by folding the fabric in half and sew simple running stitches through the two layers of fabric with double thread and a small cotton “tag” knotted into the end of the row of double thread.

maki age shibori stitching
Example of stitched shibori sprig leaf design ready to be gathered

Each of the leaves are stitched around with a double thread starting and ending at the same place leaving long ends for gathering up later. It is helpful to keep your starting and ending place on the outside of each leaf shape, it makes it all easier.

 (So as not to repeat my general instructions about sewing please look at this blog post to see the general tips of equipment needed. “7 Helpful Hints for shibori sewing” )

3. Gathering the Stitching

Now it is time to pull all the stitching up. Start with the leaves in each of the patterns. Pull each of these up in turn gathering tightly and knotting. Take a slightly thicker thread somewhere between button thread and double knitting weight and start at the bottom of the pulled together shape and knot it around at the base.

wrapping the shibori thread

Then continue winding the thread around til you get to the top and then tie the ends together to secure it. Do this with each of the leaf shapes.

For the stem pull the thread up and once pulled up separate the two threads and insert another “tag” between and tie a double knot around it securing the line of stitching. The thread needs to be pulled up very tight but without breaking it!

maki age shibori stitching gathered
Shibori sprig leaf design gathered and bound ready for dyeing

4. Dyeing

You now have your design ready for dyeing. If you need help on dyeing with fibre reactive dyes look at my previous blog. Unpick all your stitches after you have dyed it and reveal your beautiful fabric.


There are many variations on leaf shape to be created. Perhaps you can come up with a different design? I hope you achieve a pleasing pattern and enjoy creating with shibori.

colourful mauve lampshade
Here is one of my lampshades patterned with the shibori leaf sprigs

FREE Shibori Pattern & Video Guide

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

Scroll to Top