Step by Step Guide to Producing a Shibori Salmon Design

shibori technique leaping salmon (22)

Here is a fabulous design to be made from Shibori stitch resist. I will explain how to do this is 3 steps. It involves three types of Shibori stitching, to get technical mokume, ori nui and miru Shibori! But straightforward when broken down into easy stages.

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

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 easy steps to making your very own salmon

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 fish measures 30cms or 12 inches from head to tail. At its widest it is 9.5cms or 3 ½”.

Stitching your design

1. First place the bead for the eye under the fabric and tack it in position.

2. Next sew the line along its belly. Create this 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. The main body of a scale pattern is built from many lines (approx. 30) 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. These lines are 5mm / ¼” apart.

shibori technique leaping salmon (7)

4. The head is created from folding the fabric carefully in half at the head end and sewing through two layers of fabric. The mouth line is made from another short run of stitching through a single fold of fabric on the lower part of the head.

5. Find the bead which you attached at the back earlier, and bind from the front to make the eye.

6. I then added another row of stitching through two layers of fabric around the head so I could be sure I got a strong definite line.

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7. Finally sew the tail by folding the fabric and sewing through the two layers with 2 rows of stitching.

shibori technique leaping salmon (11)

Gathering the stitching

Now it is time to pull all the stitching up. Start with the head pulling up the stitching tightly and secure the ends by separating the two threads and insert another “tag” between and tie a double knot around it.

Next the main scaled area of the salmon body. Pull up the 30 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 30 times. The thread needs to be pulled up very tight but without breaking it!

Then pull up the stitches that form the tail and the underbelly of the fish. Sorry it is getting fiddly by now.

You now have your design ready for dyeing. If you need help on dyeing with indigo look at this blog. This design really works best with indigo. You need that soft blurry line that indigo gives.

Unpicking the design

Once dyed you unpick all the stitching to reveal the design. Take care with that eye and all those scales!

I hope you find the instructions helpful and you will try to create a salmon in Shibori. Please sign up to my newsletter to get regular design ideas and tips on using Shibori to make some lovely shapes.

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