William de Morgan Design Inspiration for Shibori Stitch Resist Patterns

A friend was clearing out some of her books so I just had to look into her reject box and I found a beautifully illustrated book about William de Morgan design and his amazing colourful tiles. As so many of his tile designs are stylised natural forms it was a perfect inspiration for trying a new design in shibori stitch resist.

Here is the tile I used, inspired by Islamic patterns, and my drawing selecting some elements to use in my shibori.

Before starting remember to refer to my blog with useful hints for shibori sewing and plus look at my videos.

In this blog I am going to pair an image of the stitching with the finished dyed fabric for each element of the design.

4 Elements of William de Morgan design

Left Hand Leaf

This simple leaf shape is made from 6 separate sections which are each outlined in running stitches, maki-age shibori. The 6 separate threads are pulled up and then a heavyweight cotton thread is used to wind around the shape leaving quite a good amount of the gathered fabric exposed. It can sometimes be quite tricky to ensure you have gathered and bound right into the corners.

Central Flower

The central flower head is created by folding the fabric in half along the centre line and then sew the 9 or 10 lines of simple running stitches parallel to each other through both layers of fabric with double thread and a small cotton “tag” knotted into the end of each row of double thread. (This is very similar to creating a teasel shown on my video) A small area of Maki age shibori makes the base of the flower.

To gather one by one pull up the 9 or 10 rows of threads 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. Pull up and bind the base of the flower head.

Right Hand Bud

This is using two needles together which enables very fine stitching to start from the same spot rather than use two separate starting points.

Thread two needles with double thread and then tie just one of the tags in the end of all four lengths of thread. Enter the first needle in and start sewing a single stitch line going in one direction. Then once you have completed this line of stitching start with the second needle as close to the point of entry of the previous needle and complete a second row. Repeat this another 3 times. To gather each row of stitching needs to be pulled up and another tag tied in the end.


All the stems are made using ori nui shibori stitch. The main flower stem is slightly different, it has two rows of stitching to make a thicker line. These are then gathered up and finished with another tag at the end.


As always the last job is to gather all the stitches to build the resist to the dye. I have described how to do this in each section above.

Gathered shibori stitching

Once the fabric and stitches is all tightly gathered it is time to dye the piece. This time I used indigo dye but you could use fibre reactive dyes. And here below is the completed design after dyeing.

William de Morgan inspired shibori design
Final shibori piece inspired by William de Morgan design

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