The secret of devising some delicate dandelion heads in shibori

shibori dandelions

You may long to create some unusual shapes and designs you have seen created with shibori.  I am going to introduce you to a way to create some quite simple but satisfying dandelion patterns in this “sophisticated” tie dye method.

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 steps to making your own dandelion head

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. To make the dandelion head use a small round glass jar or plastic pot about 6cm or 2 ½” and draw around it. Then draw a stem about 20cm or 8” long. Draw a few leaves. It is worth looking at a botanical image or photo of a dandelion to get an idea of the leaf shape.

Stitching your design

Each of the 3 heads are made from a circle stitched around with a double thread starting and ending at the same place leaving long ends for pulling up later. It is helpful to keep your starting and ending place away from the stem line, it makes it all easier. Then stitch another line just inside this first line.

A stem can be added from the bottom of the seed head, this is made by carefully making a fold along the line of the stem. With a double thread and small cotton “tag” in the end sew through both layers of fabric. Then sew another line exactly parallel with the first one.

The leaf is constructed by folding the fabric in half along the middle and then with a double thread and small cotton “tag” in the end sew through 2 layers of fabric, carefully following the outline of the leaf. Then repeat this with another line of stitching about 7mm/ ¼ “  inside this one and continue (about 4 lines of stitching) until the leaf is filled.

Pulling up the stitching

Now it is time to pull all the stitching up. Start with the 3 dandelion seed heads. Pull both circles of stitching up in turn gathering tightly and knotting. Take a slightly thicker thread somewhere between button thread and double knitting weight and knot it around the inner row of stitching, leaving the outer row unbound. 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 3 “heads”.

The next job is to pull up the lines of parallel stitching that create the leaf. 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. The thread needs to be pulled up very tight but without breaking it!

To add the stem you then pull both threads up securing the ends as described above.


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.

You now know how to create a simple but effective dandelion head in stitch resist.

Here are a few other versions of a dandelion seed head completed on one of my indigo workshops, see if you can see how they were made and perhaps have a go at these. They are all variations on the different stitching instructions just given you. The flying seeds are created by binding a small bead into the underside of the fabric.


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