Here is an easy method to create an overall Shibori patterned fabric

Fabric created with shibori weaving

Woven shibori is a process of weaving and resist developed by shibori artist, Catharine Ellis, and taught in her book, Woven Shibori (Interweave, 2005). I saw some examples of the work on Pinterest and wanted to explore further. Here is my first experiment with woven Shibori. Great results and not too complicated or time consuming.

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.

3 steps to making your own woven shibori

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. Take a piece of fabric approx. 11”/ 27cm wide and 18”/ 50cm long (any longer and it is not possible to sew without joining the thread) and add an allowance for a hem. I worked on ready hemmed piece of silk in this example as part of a scarf. Carefully draw a grid of lines to create a series of small squares approx. 1 ¼” or 3cm in size. If you look at the picture of finished sewing here you can see the pattern you need to draw out.

shibori weaving (3)
This is the completed sewn fabric and shows the scale of grid you need to draw.

Stitching your design

Sew the first row of simple running stitches through one layer of fabric along the top with double thread and a small cotton “tag” knotted into the end of the row, sewing small close together stitches alternated with a very long stitch then back to small stitches. Sew a block of 6 lines like this about ¼” or 6mm apart. Then leave a gap of 1 ½” or 4cm. Repeat this another 3 times.

Pulling up the stitching

Now it is time to pull all the stitching up. This is quite quick and easy in this design. Pull each and every line of parallel stitching. 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. Repeat this as many times as necessary. The thread needs to be pulled up very tight but without breaking it! It will look like these two images here. Showing the front and back of the pulled up fabric.

You now have your design ready for dyeing. If you need help on dyeing with fibre reactive dyes look at my previous blog.

Once dyed you unpick all the stitching to reveal the design. I hope you have as much fun as I have had making this pattern.

Shibori weaving Close up


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