Another lovely design to explore making with shibori stitch resist. This design has been dyed with the actual bark of a eucalyptus tree! Let me outline to you you how to make this in sophisticated tie dye. This one is not for absolute beginners as it incorporates 4 different types of stitching and needs careful manipulation. So here goes on how to create this design. Here is my sketch of eucalyptus seed heads which inspired the design.
For some visual help look at my video where I show very clearly the process of Shibori sewing including some of the techniques we use today.
4 steps to making your own eucalyptus seed head
1. 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. The shape of a eucalyptus seed head is made of a cup with seed strands coming out of it. Draw a short line upwards from the top of the cup to mark the stem. Two long leaf shapes are drawn either side. The whole design including the stem is about 10” or 25cms tall.
2. Stitching your design
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”
There are 4 different Shibori stitches used in this design
2.1 The eucalyptus seed cup itself is 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 on the outside of the cup shape, it makes it all easier.
2.2 The seed strands are made from 13 lines getting slightly longer away from the body of the eucalyptus seed head. Sew these 13 lines with simple running stitches through one layer of fabric along the top with double thread and a small cotton “tag” knotted into the end of each row of double thread. Vary the length of the stitches in each row.
2.3 The stem is added from the top of the eucalyptus seed head, to a length suitable for your fabric or design. This is created by making a fold along the line of the stem. With a double thread and small cotton “tag” in the end sew an overstitch, kind of gathering the fabric onto the needle.
2.4 The leaves are made by overstitching and gathering the fabric with diagonal stitches quite close together pulling them very tight as you go. This must be done as the last piece of stitching but just before gathering up the other stitches.
3. Pulling up the stitching
Now it is time to pull all the stitching up. Start with the eucalyptus seed cup stitching. Pull the thread up gathering the fabric 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.
The next job is to pull up the 13 lines 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 13 times. The thread needs to be pulled up very tight but without breaking it!
If you are adding a stem you then pull this up securing the end as described above.
You now have your design ready for dyeing. If you need help on dyeing with natural eucalyptus bark look at my previous blog. Or you may prefer to dye with fibre reactive dyes. Once dyed you unpick all the stitching to reveal the design.
I do hope you have enjoyed these notes and found my instructions helpful. Do sign up to my newsletter to keep up to date with new ideas and designs or join a workshop.