The shibori starfish is a simple design to create using some of the most straightforward stitching. In this pattern we use ori-nui, ne-maki and maki-nui shibori stitching. It is a design that is very easy for a beginner to shibori to make.
I visited the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter and saw there is a huge variety of shapes, sizes and types of starfish from the HMS Challenger Collection. Some starfish have only four arms and some nine or even more. Perhaps you can come up with another design and pattern!
Choose a lovely soft cotton piece 30cm/11 ½” square. Please look at my general blog “7 Helpful Hints for shibori sewing” about useful tips for shibori sewing before you get going. You may like to find an image online and print it out at A4 to draw around. Mark out the pattern with a water soluble fabric marker pen.
How to Make Shibori Starfish Patterns Step by Step.
Each row and line of stitching is sewn in double thread and has a small tag inserted at the end to stop the thread pulling through. See my video for clarity on this.
All 3 designs have similarities in the stitching with just a slight difference. I explain the first design fully. The following are just variations.
Shibori Starfish 1.
- Stitch a single line of running stitches around the outside shape of the starfish. You may have to use a number of lengths of thread to stitch around the outside. Each time fix a tag in the end of the thread and leave a length of thread at the end of the stitching.
- Make another short line of stitching x 5 just in from that line on the inner curves of the body.
- Next pinch 2 layers of fabric together along each “spine” x 5 and sew a simple running stitch (ori nui) through both layers of fabric.
- Finally tie a small bead into the centre on the underside of the fabric.
Pull all the stitching up, tightly, securing the end of each thread with another tag. Starting with the spines, then the curved inner lines, then the outside line last of all. Dye your piece of fabric and then unpick the stitches.
Shibori Starfish 2
This is very similar to starfish 1 with a single line of running stitches around the outside but using maki-nui, the oversew stitch to create the spines of the fish and a larger bead with more binding around it in the centre.
Both these designs are dyed with indigo.
Shibori Starfish 3
Again very similar to starfish 1 but this one has the feeling of more movement and is dyed with madder.
I hope you enjoy experimenting with starfish shapes and patterns. Do search online for images and ideas. Or you may be somewhere in the world where starfish are seen more frequently! These fabrics and patterns were all created on my workshops by Philippa, June and Alison.
Let me share with you a brilliant shibori starfish created by Josefina in Chile following my pattern details. Isn’t it fabulous! Shows how everyone has a unique stitching style all of their own. And also the difference the type of fabric makes, this fabric is a looser weave than the other examples.