I wanted to see if I could make a plaid pattern simply by using mechanical resist dye techniques. I tried two ways, one by tying and the other by stitching. I ended up with one that was fairly successful, and after a failure at sewing it into a shirt, I ended up with two-tone napkins. I'll walk you through the dye technique and touch on the sewing bit.

Warning: Unnecessary Geek Out 
I, for one, find the history of textiles fascinating. Which, by the way, is not a great pick up line. Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of tie dye. It's tacky and really shouldn't exist beyond the point of hanging on the summer camp clothes line. However, my mind was ever so slightly changed when I went to an exhibit at the Kent State University Fashion Museum a few months back . They had a resist dye exhibition with some really amazing bandhani garments made solely from mechanical resist techniques like binding, folding, twisting... basically tie dye. I was inspired. There was one piece that was highly detailed with people and animals and it told a story all from scrunching up fabric in the right way. While amazing, I had no idea how to even begin to work on something like that, other than spend 40 years as an artisan in India. However, there was another piece that used similar techniques, but from the Caribbean that was an almost perfect plaid pattern. This was still pretty distant from the type of tie dye I've seen before but was slightly more in reach. So I decided to give it a shot as a technical experiment.   

Fabric - best with non-synthetics, like cotton
Fabric Paint

Step 1: Tie Technique

This is for the first, more traditional method tying the fabric with thread. 

1. Accordion Fold: For this to work, you'll need to do an accordion fold on the fabric so that when you paint the edge of the folded fabric, you'll be painting each successive layer. 

2. Tie: Measure out how far apart you'd like your horizontal lines to be. Use a heavy duty thread to tie each section as tightly as possible. I did a first knot with one piece of thread, that came in with another to get it tighter.

NOTE: Make sure that the edges of the accordion fold are visible after tying.  It's easy to let one flap cover the others. 
I also am fascinated by the history of textile dyeing, and even more interested in various techniques for dyeing, printing, embedding, in general just messin with fabric. Many people react to the topic with eyes glazed over. Viva la internet, and thanks for the great tute!
I don't think I've ever seen how to do plaid dying! I love it!

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a maker with a penchant for art and a love of sculpting the unsettling. I also appreciate the history of deep craft traditions ... More »
More by leftmusing:Mad Max Costume: Immortan Joe Mask Imperator Furiosa Costume Pocket Bag with Printer Friendly Pattern 
Add instructable to: