Create a gorgeous pattern on silk fabric using stitch-resist shibori (called ori-nui) and natural indigo dye. Then just add a few more stitches to create a lovely wall hanging for your home!
- White silk crepe de chine fabric (or other natural cloth)
- A wood rod
- Rubber bands
- Two wood sticks for binding
- Needle and thread
- Sewing machine
- Latex gloves
- 20g of pre-reduced indigo, 250g of reducing agent (thiox or hydrosulfate) and 250g of soda ash, which you can find in this indigo dye kit.
- 19L (5 gallon) plastic bucket with a lid
- Stick for stirring (make sure it's long enough to reach the bottom of your bucket)
- Small container for the foam/"flower"
- Sheet of plastic to cover the floor
- Shallow pan to hold your fabric
1. Prepare the Indigo Dye
First, you need to set up the indigo vat. Just follow the step-by-step instructions we prepared for you in this Shibori Fundamentals tutorial. If you plan to use fabric dye and not natural indigo, you can follow the instructions in the second part of this Ne‑maki tutorial.
your indigo vat is set, cover the bucket with a lid and let the dye
settle for between 15 minutes and one hour.
During this time you can stitch and bind your fabric.
2. Stitch the Fabric
First of all, you will need a strip of fabric of natural cloth, which is a prerequisite for dyeing with natural indigo dye. It is also best for this specific shibori technique, where stitching is used to create the design, to use a thin cloth which pleats easily, and this is why silk is the ideal choice.
Keep in mind that the width of your strip should be about the width of your rod. In my case it is about 50 cm (19.7 in) and I kept the length of the fabric. But the dimensions are not restrictive for this specific project. You can alter them based on the final shape you want your wall hanging to have. Just make sure the fabric is cut straight.
Let's get to work. Thread your needle. Keep in mind that you need a long piece of thread, the longest possible with which you can easily stitch.
And make a double knot using both edges. Then trim off the excess thread.
You will stitch along the long edges of your fabric with a running stitch. This stitch is the basic stitch for hand
sewing and embroidery, and it is worked by passing the needle in and out
of the fabric.
So, start from one corner of the lower edge of your fabric and pass your needle downwards and then bring it back upwards. You can decide on the length of your stitches. Start your stitches about 5 cm (2 in) from the edge (mine are too close to the edge here).
Stitch the lower edge of your fabric. It helps to straighten the fabric as you stitch along to make sure you keep a straight path.
You can also make more than one stitch at once to go faster.
Then stitch the upper edge of your fabric. Always try to keep the stitching parallel to the edge of your fabric.
3. Bind It
Now place your finger at the end of the stitching and gently pull the thread through. The fabric will gather close to your finger and will get pleated.
Repeat the same process on the upper part of your cloth.
And it will look like a cocoon.
Pull the thread and knot it to secure it in place. Try to keep the fabric bound as tightly as possible.
This is how the pleats you created will look.
There'll be a zig zag formation on the edge.
Now squeeze the center of your cocoon.
And fold it in the middle.
Bring the two edges together and completely fold your fabric.
Place a small wood stick on each side of the folded cloth.
Take a rubber band and bind the fabric together with the wood sticks.
Do this on the other side as well.
Cool, now your fabric is stitched, tightly bound and ready to get dyed!
4. Dye It
First soak the fabric in water and squeeze it to remove excess water and air.
Your indigo vat should have settled by now. Open it and remove the "flower"/foam. Wear gloves and dip the fabric into the vat.
Gently remove the fabric from the vat, place the foam/"flower" back on the surface of the dye and close the bucket with a lid.
At first, the fabric will look green.
But it will oxidize through
contact with air, and it will turn indigo blue.
Let the fabric completely oxidize for about 20 minutes. You can repeat the process if you think you need a deeper hue.
4. Unbind, Wash and Dry
Once your fabric has the hue of blue you want, rinse it.
Remove the rubber bands.
Also remove the wood sticks and open it up.
Now, remove the knot and pull the thread through to unstitch it. This is the most rewarding moment; enjoy!
Gently hand-wash your silk fabric with mild detergent in warm water.
And let it dry in the shade.
5. Stitch It and Hang It
To create the hem, first fold the long edge of the fabric inwards twice. Make sure to keep the folds really thin, especially if you stitched as close to the edge as I did, because you don't want to hide the design created by the stitching. Pin along the fold.
Now, stitch both hems. You can either do this by hand if your fabric is
really delicate, or by using a thin needle on your sewing machine. Use either white thread or blue that's close to the color of your dye.
Once sewn, iron the fabric carefully on the correct setting (silk).
Now place the fabric vertical on the working surface, meaning the short edge placed horizontally. Bring the upper edge downwards and create a horizontal fold of about 3 cm (1.2 in).
Once you are sure the fold is straight, pin the fabric in place.
Stitch along the edge of the fabric. This will create a horizontal tube for the rod.
Now you just need to create the upper part of your hanging. Just slide the rod through the tube you created by stitching, and center it to the cloth.
Cut off a long piece of twine about 1.5 m (60 in).
This will be used to make a loop from which you can hang the wall hanging.
Tie the twine around the left edge of the rod and knot it there to secure it place.
Leave a bit of twine (almost twice as long as the width of the fabric) and secure the second edge in the same way. Now you not only have a way to hang your wall hanging, but also your fabric is secured in place.
Deck the Halls!
Now just hang your shibori wall hanging on the wall and deck the halls. You can add a few nice objects around it to make a synthesis on the wall, with your new shibori hanging as the central piece.
In this tutorial you learned how to create stitch-resist patterns using the ori-nui shibori technique. And also how to stitch a lovely wall hanging for your home!
Ready, steady, indigo! Follow my Shibori for Beginners series of tutorials and learn how to tie-dye with me.