Japanese Hand Dyeing: Shibori Techniques

by Rekha on August 13, 2017

Japanese hand-dyeing, known as “shibori” is a manual resist dyeing technique that produces repeating shapes and patterns by twisting, binding, stitching, folding and clamping fabric.

There are numerous ways one can twist, clamp, bind and fold fabric to achieve specific patterns. One specific technique known as Itajime Shibori captured my interest. The traditional approach is to fold the fabric in a specific way and sandwich it between pieces of wood which are held in place with string. The fabric packet is then submerged completely or partially dipped in a dye bath. When unfolded, a beautiful repeating pattern is revealed.

Shibori fabric Samples | DivineNY.com

This technique was my inspiration for my new hand-dyed cocktail napkin sets. I first folded the fabric in a triangular shape and then infused it with silk dyes using an eyedropper. Instead of wood boards, I simply used spring clamps that I purchased from Home Depot.

Shibori folded fabric - preparing to dye | DivineNY.com

Fabric infused with silk dyes | DivineNY.com

For my color palette choice, I was inspired by Pantone’s Fall 2017 Color Report and chose two contrasting colors for each set.

Pantone Fall 2017 Color Report | DivineNY.com

Once dyed, each fabric packet was then steam set for 30 minutes. The steaming process fixes the color and makes it permanent. Once cooled, the fabric is unwrapped and laid flat to dry for 24 hours. The next day, each fabric piece is rinsed in cool water to remove the excess dye. Once dried and ironed, they are ready to be sewn and made into 6” x 9” cocktail napkins.

Shibori Napkin Sets | DivineNY.com

Shibori Napkin Sets | DivineNY.com

Shibori Napkins | DivineNY.com

Shibori hand dyed napkin sets | DivineNY.com

Shop the new collection here: green/purple and navy/orange.

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