Thursday, July 20, 2017

Shibori Dyeing Experiments

I've been away from my sewing machine, except for one week, since mid-May.  I'm getting itchy fingers to say the least!  Last week I decided it was time to do some therapeutic crafting and hit up Walmart for some white onesies, dye and thread.

I've been wanting to experiment with the Shibori thread resist technique, called Nui Shibori, for a long time. I wasn't sure it would work well on fabric with such an open weave since it's usually done on fabrics with a very tight weave similar to what is used for batiking.

Happily, as you can see, it worked well! I drew the designs first in washable marker and then stitched over them.  The pic above is of the jellyfish onesie.  After stitching you draw the threads up tight and tie them (like cinching the rubber bands in regular tie dye.

For this one, with the "tentacle" looking stripes I sewed through the front and back layers at the same time.

I really liked this "fish scales" one with a faded dye technique. I just clipped the onesie to the side of my dye bath and lowered it further in every ten minutes until it was done.

The tentacle-looking stitch pattern inspired this onesie called "Octo-hug" or "An Octopus Ate My Baby!"  Can you see the octopus on the back wrapping his tentacles around? 

Front of "Octo-hug"
I learned a lot from making this one and I will definitely do another version, which will hopefully come out even better.

There is at least an hour of stitching and tying in even the relatively simple designs so I am working on these slowly and doing small dye batches of about three at a time.  This week I'm going to pick up a new dye color and hopefully find a bottle of Retayne to help set the dye.  Can't wait to gift these soon!

The new Covered in Love block drive just began and it's a red, white, and blue star free-for-all.  This drive will run until the end of August if you want to help out.  We gift quilts to the family member of patients dying in the hospital. More info here

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Listening to... OK GO (those guys with the killer music videos)


  1. Those onesies are so cool!! I've long been interested in dyeing only did a teeny bit in a guild workshop once. It's fascinating. Now I am off to watch the video of OK Go

  2. Wow! That is so neat! I've heard of Shibori, but never knew how it was done. Your tentacles came out great, and I love how they wrap around the baby :)

  3. Those onesies are fantastic! I've never heard of this technique before, but I will definitely give it a try. We've got two little ones on the way in the extended family. Thank you for the information on the block drive. I've bookmarked it and will see what I can do. Have a great weekend! --Andrea

  4. I've never heard of that dying technique before. You did a fantastic job & I'm sure mommy & baby will love these. I've got my July/August blocks ready for you but am out of stamps so it will be a while before I get them mailed off. Keep having a happy summer!