Produce a Sunny Shell to be Proud of in Sophisticated Tie Dye

sea shell
The inspiration for the design

Here is a lovely little design to be made from Shibori stitch resist. I will explain how to do step by step. It involves three types of Shibori stitching, to get technical mokume, ori nui and maki-age Shibori! But reasonably simple when broken down into easy stages.

This is quite a fiddle and complicated pattern and is for those who have done some shibori and got used to how to manipulate the fabric and threads.

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”

For visual help look at my video on my website page where I show very clearly the process of Shibori sewing.

This design is now available with full instructions as a downloadable PDF pattern.

Step by Step Instructions

Drawing the design

You start by drawing the design on to ready for dyeing fabric (ie prewashed at 60 degrees C/ 140 degress F) with tailors chalk or removable fabric marker.  You can trace my design, print it out so the shell measures 20cms or 8 inches from tip to end.

Stitching your design in 4 steps

Starting at the nose of the shell and working down.

1. The nose of the shell is made from 2 blocks of maki age shibori each is stitched around with a double thread starting and ending at the same place leaving long ends for pulling up later.

2. The broad part of the shell is built from 3 lines of simple parallel running stitches through one layer of fabric with double thread and a small cotton “tag” knotted into the end of each row of double thread. This is followed by a double fold ori nui row and 3 single ori nui rows. Create these 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 double thread.

3. We then move on to the lower part of the shell where it broadens out. The opening is made from 1 block of maki age shibori stitched around with a double thread starting and ending at the same place leaving long ends for pulling up later.

Alongside this are 5 lines of simple parallel running stitches through one layer of fabric with double thread and a small cotton “tag” knotted into the end of each row of double thread.

4. To finish off run a single row of stitching from just below the nose of the shell to the base, around both sides of the outside of the design, which sort of gathers it up.

Gathering the stitching in 4 steps

Now it is time to pull all the stitching up. The secret is to do it all quite methodically and calmly!!

A tip: I sometimes use a little bit of tape to hold the ends of thread while I am working on another area to help keep all the ends separate.

how to make a shibori shell pattern (3)
stitching completed and gathered up ready for dyeing

1. Start at the nose. Pull each of the 2 areas up 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. Then continue winding the thread around til you get to the top and then tie the ends together to secure it.

2. The next job is to pull up the 3 lines of parallel stitching and the 4 ori nui rows. One by one pull them 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.

3. Then pull up the lines that form the side of the opening, 5 rows of stitching, again put a tag in each end after pulling up.

4. Last two steps. Gather the large opening area, gather up and bind around as described for the nose of the shell. Then the last lines to pull up are those two lines that go around the outside. Phew! Sorry it is all rather fiddly.

You now have your design ready for dyeing. If you need help on dyeing with fibre reactive dyes look at this blog. Once dyed you unpick all the stitching to reveal the design. Remember with shibori each design is unique and yours. Your stitches will vary and how close together you have them. So many variables!

how to make a shibori shell pattern
The completed dyed shell design

I hope you find the instructions helpful and you will try to create a shell in Shibori. This design is now available with full instructions as a downloadable PDF pattern.

Please sign up to my newsletter to get regular design ideas and tips on using Shibori to make some lovely shapes.

Free Shibori Guide With Newsletter Signup

Join my newsletter mailing list and download a free guide to making this cushion cover in shibori stitch resist.

Scroll to Top