Straightforward Steps to Making a Shibori Stitch Resist Thistle

shibori stitch resist thistle (1)

Here is more encouragement and advice to help you to make a stitch resist thistle. This one is not for beginners as it incorporates 4 different types of stitching and needs careful manipulation. I have made this design into a rather pretty lamp.

This is a step by step guide on how to create a stitch resist thistle 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”

For 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 Thistle Design

1. Drawing the Design

You start by drawing the design on to ready for dyeing fabric (ie pre washed at 60 degrees C/ 140 degrees F) with tailors chalk or removable fabric marker. My example here is 11cm/ 4 ½” high plus 28cm/11” long stem. All instructions are for this size.

shibori stitch resist thistle
The complete shibori stitch resist thistle

The shape of a thistle is made of a cup with the flower coming out of it. Draw a line downwards at the bottom of the cup to mark the stem. And two curved lines to suggest the bracts either side of the flower plus a small leaf shape half way down.

2. Stitching your Design

There are 4 different Shibori stitches used in this design: miru, mokume, ori nui and guntai shibori.

The thistle cup itself is created by folding the fabric in half along the centre line of the cup and then sew the 7 or 8 lines of simple running stitches (miru shibori) through both layers of fabric with double thread and a small cotton “tag” knotted into the end of each row of double thread.

mokume shibori thistle head stitching
Shows mokume and miru stitching used to create the thistle head

The flower head is made from 15 lines getting slightly longer away from the body of the thistle. Each row and each stitch is in line with the one below, each stitch getting wider as you go up. They are sewn with simple running stitches through one layer of fabric (mokume shibori) with double thread and a small cotton “tag” knotted into the end of each row of double thread.

Add two side bracts and the leaf with guntai shibori as described here in another blog.

Add a stem from the bottom of the thistle head, created by carefully making a fold (ori nui) along the line of the stem so you are pinching 2 thicknesses of fabric in your fingers. With a double thread and small cotton “tag” in the end sew through 2 layers of fabric.

3. Pulling up the Stitching

Now it is time to pull all the stitching up. Start with the thistle cup 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.

The next job is to pull up the 15 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 15 times. The thread needs to be pulled up very tight but without breaking it!

The stem is gathered up securing the end as described above.

shibori thistle stitching (1)
Shibori stitch resist thistle all gathered up ready for dyeing

4. Dyeing

You now have your design ready for dyeing. This design will only work successfully with indigo. My experience tells me that guntai shibori does not work as well with fibre reactive dyes. The design is too faint.

Once dyed you unpick all the stitching to reveal the design.

I hope you have found these instructions helpful and wish you success in making your own thistle. If you would like to get regular ideas for creating in shibori sign up to my newsletter.

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