Quilted shibori

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Last weekend I went up to visit Prima in Brattleboro and did a bit of fabric dyeing. I was particularly excited to try some different shibori techniques.

This piece was the result of a slight misunderstanding. I conflated a technique where you pleat the fabric and clamp it with one where you stitch a pattern and gather, and decided what I needed to do was pleat and stitch. This actually worked well. The layers of fabric have sort of the same effect as gathering, stopping the dye from getting in. I would not be surprised if this is also a common method of resist dyeing, although it’s not one I read about. My approach was:

1. Pleat the fabric into a 2 inch wide strip
2. Mark out 2 inch increments in the other direction
3. Draw curves from one corner to the other (look at the photos to see what I mean)
4. Stitch along these curves
5. Stitch another curve 1mm under the first
6. Dye
7. Pull out the stitches and iron

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It’s one of my favorite pieces I dyed this weekend. It was also one of the easiest, since the pleating means you only have to sew an eighth of the lines, and it was the only piece I sewed on the machine.

Since this technique requires pulling out tight stitches it’s only suited to reasonably sturdy woven fabrics. Quilting cotton is perfect. Prima and I later tried it on a piece of jersey, and ripping out those stitches was pretty frustrating. Not recommended.

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