A tried and tested method for making a thorny tie dye thistle

shibori-thistle-design

Here is another wonderful design to make in stitch resist shibori. This one is not for beginners as it incorporates 4 different types of stitching and needs careful manipulation. I have used this design in a number of lamp shades. So here goes on how to create this design.

So as not to repeat my general instructions about sewing please look at this blog post to see the general tips on 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 prewashed at 60 degrees C/ 140 degress F) with tailors chalk or removable fabric marker. My example here is 18cm/ 7 ¼” high plus stem. You may make it smaller and then can do a little less stitching. All instructions are for this size.

pattern-for-shibori-thistle-large

The shape of a thistle is made of a cup with the flower coming out of it. Draw a short 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.

2. Stitching your design

There are 4 different Shibori stitches used in this design

shibori-thistle-sewing

  • The thistle cup itself is created by folding the fabric in half along the centre line of the cup and then sew the 8 or 9 lines of simple running stitches through both layers of fabric with double thread and a small cotton “tag” knotted into the end of each row of double thread.
  • The flower head is made from about 20 lines getting slightly longer away from the body of the thistle. Sew these 20 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.
  • Add two side bracts by a simple fold and stitching through two layers of fabric
  • A stem can be added from the bottom of the thistle head, to a length suitable for your fabric or design. This is created by carefully making a pleat along the line of the stem so you are pinching 4 thicknesses of fabric in your fingers. With a double thread and small cotton “tag” in the end sew through all the 4 layers of fabric.

3. Pulling up the stitching

shibori-thistle-pulled-up

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 20 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 20 times. The thread needs to be pulled up very tight but without breaking it!

The stem and bracts are pulled up as described above.

4. Dyeing

You now have your design ready for dyeing. If you need help on dyeing with fibre reactive dyes look at my previous blog. https://www.townhillstudio.co.uk/dyeing-with-fibre-reactive-dyes/

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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