My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Shibori Folding Techniques - Tutorial

So after my Monday Musing yesterday (maybe I should call it Monday Moaning!) I thought I better post some actual content on this bog of mine.

And seeing as I was rambling about doing a creative practice project making complex cloth (and I still am considering doing that, I'm just nutting out the way I would actually structure it), I thought I'd post a little video tutorial for you on doing some basic shibori fabric folding to pattern cloth.

Shibori is a Japanese term.  It basically refers to the many ways of manipulating cloth - be it folding, tying, stitching, or clamping - that can be done before placing the fabric in a dye bath.  There are beautiful examples of shibori from highly skilled artisans that you can find if you do a little web searching, but this video shows you nine simple ways to secure your fabric using basic household items.

There wasn't time in the video to show how I actually dye the cloth.  So here is my basic recipe and technique:

Tie or fold your fabrics first and have them ready to go in a small container or plastic zip-lock bag.  Tie your bundles using DRY fabric.  Wear gloves, work in a well ventilated area, and use a dust mask when the dry dye powders are exposed.

This recipe will dye at least five fat quarters, maybe more depending on how small your tied bundles are:

700mls hot water
2 tablespoons non-iodised salt
1 tablespoon soda ash
1 ½ - 2 teaspoons of dye powder (the variance is to allow for when you are mixing colours, sometimes with a complex recipe it is hard to measure tiny amounts and it gets easier if you ‘upsize’ the total dye powder amount)

Remember to use hot water for best dissolving.   Put ingredients into a jug and stir well, or a capped bottle or jar and shake well.  Work quickly as the dye powder starts to react with the soda ash straight away.  Pour this solution onto your tied or folded bundles.  Slosh them around to make sure dye solution has covered them.  Leave to ‘batch’ in a warm place for at least four hours.

Rinse the bundles while they are still tied.  Once the water is clear then you can untie them, keep working in a bucket of water or under a running tap.  Then rinse again.



  1. Hey you - awesome video, almost inspired me to get out my fabric dyeing equipment again. That would be when I can find it amongst all the boxes and then find some space in the new place. Yes - we did it! We have moved!!!! Yay! Now comes the unpacking and shuffling...

  2. Thanks Lottie! This is something I've always wanted to do! Fascinating. Your tutorial is inspiring, you make the folding seem so simple. I used to dye my homespun wool, but not tried fabrics. It is now top of my list to try.


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