I've been obsessed with the gorgeous indigo prints that are trending in homeware stores at the moment, and was excited to discover it had a name- SHIBORI. And after a quick google search, a multitude of web pages with tips on how to create shibori got me fired up to have a crack at creating my own, and share my experience with other wanna-be shibori fiends! So here goes.....
Step 1: Get Ready
From what I read, there's a few key items you'll need:
INDIGO DYE- this sounds like an obvious one, but I was surprised to hit my local Spotlight and find there was no colour labelled 'indigo', and certainly no 'natural indigo dye' that the shibori e-masters seem to use. Being impatient, rather than shop around I opted for 50g dylon powder in 'denim', as indigo dye was traditionally used for jeans.
(You'll also need 250g of salt if you use Dylon)
FABRIC- I bought a $2 remnant of white cotton for my test run. Wow- I'm even more excited to have realised what I turned that $2 in to!
BUCKET OR BASIN- I bought a big bucket, which may be useful if I was mixing true indigo dye, but ended up just using my sink.
BITS & BOBS- Different Shibori techniques call for different items. I had stones, elastic bands & thread around the house, so could try a couple of styles.
Step 2: Get Set
One thing you should know about me is that I'm not great at specific instructions, I'd much prefer to freestyle. Turns out that Shibori doesn't mind! Planning this as a test piece, I cut the fabric in to 3 random pieces (one quite square, 2 rectangular) ironed each piece and set to work on turning these 2D rags into 3D structures.
Step 3: Go Kobasu Go
The first technique I tried was the trickiest, and most time consuming- Kobasu. I concertina folded a length of fabric in 4, and then used a pencil & the square corner of an old CD case to draw triangles along each edge, creating a kind of chevron pattern along the length (the picture explains it much better than I can!)
Step 4: What a Stitch Up
Next I did a running stitch along each triangle. Make sure you have a good thick knot at the end of the thread, and use a lot more thread than you need- you need to leave 10-15cm at the end of each triangle, which will be used to gather and bind each section.
I was unsure whether I would need to stitch every fold, or if I could stitch 2 or 3 folds together. I decided to test both ways, and you'll see from the final pic it did not make a blind but of difference- woo hoo, love finding an easy option!
Take the thread at the end of a triangle, pull it to gather the fabric, and then wrap the thread around the gathered section. Repeat, and repeat, and repeat...... (It'll be worth it, I promise!)
Set aside to tackle a few other techniques.
Step 5: Kumo Rocks
Next up, I plucked some pebbles out of a plant pot in my garden, and grabbed some elastic bands. Wrap pebbles in fabric and tie as tightly as you can without snapping the band.
No fancy rules- just repeat until you run out of pebbles or fabric!
Step 6: I Fold
I don't know the fancy Japanese name for this one, so I'll just call it 'the accordion'. Concertina, or accordion fold, the fabric (each fold I made was about 4 or 5 cm). I occasionally ironed a crease as I went, to keep it in place. Once it is all folded, accordion fold the long thin fabric 3 or 4 times and bind with elastic bands. Done!
Step 7: Taking the Plunge
As I've mentioned, I'm a pretty impatient crafty minx. Failing to find natural indigo dye in the first shop I entered, I opted for Dylon's denim dye.
I followed the instructions on the packet. This included adding 250g salt, so I made a quick dash to the corner shop for some table salt. I filled my sink with the recommended amount of water, stirred in the dye, plunged my three bits of fabric in to the mix and left them, with no real idea how long it would take.
Step 8: Dyed & Gone to (Shibori) Heaven
After about 40 mins I pulled the fabric out of the sink, and left it another 20 mins or so before snipping all the elastic & thread and hanging it to dry.
I literally had no idea whether it had worked as I started snipping away, so was stoked as these patterns started to emerge.
I dried the fabric, then put it through the wash and dried it again, smiling every time I looked at the washing line.
Now to decide what to do with my gorgeous fabric....... I'll save that for another post :)