Fabric is expensive. Fact. Patterned fabric that is not covered in chintzy prints or vom-inducing colours is even more expensive, not to mention sometimes hard to find. Since I am very particular about patterns, I started looking at ways to create my own prints to work with that don’t cost the price of a small house, and one way which I’ve been seeing all over Instagram and Pinterest is Shibori dyeing.
The ancient Japanese art of Shibori has been having a definite moment of late, and I for one have definitely fallen in love with it. Similar in technique to tie dye (that old favourite of ’60s free-thinkers and primary school art teachers), Shibori incorporates traditional indigo dye on natural fabrics to create beautiful, eye-catching results. Although relatively simple in principle, some of the insanely intricate details that can be created are absolute works of art; check out my Shibori board on Pinterest to see what I mean!
Inspired, I set about having a go myself and ended up using the fabric for some napkins (with added pom pommage because, you know, they’re awesome).
Shibori is all about folding, namely concertina folding, and although there are traditional designs with crazy names, there really isn’t a right or wrong way about it. Using lightweight bleached calico, I tried various different folds (I will probably go into more detail on this in a separate post) and bound each piece with rubber bands and wood to resist the dye in certain areas. I’ve numbered each one so you can see how the various folds turn out below.
I used Dylon hand fabric dye in Jeans Blue and left the pieces in the dye for about 45 minutes before leaving them out to dry. Then it was time to make them into lovely napkins!
I used a napkin that we already had for dimensions, as we like fairly sizeable ones in our house, so mine are roughly(!) 38x38cm. Obviously this is completely down to personal preference. Don’t forget to allow 1.5cm for the hem.
I double hemmed each napkin using a navy/dark teal thread, mitering the corners for a professional look (I will probably do a tutorial on mitered corners in the near future since I find them so satisfying to do and they look the bomb). Then I sewed a row of white pom poms along the bottom edge of each napkin using white thread – make sure you use craft poms as opposed to upholstery ones as you want them to survive washes!
And that’s really it! I thoroughly enjoyed the Shibori dyeing and will definitely be doing more of this using different folding methods. I’m planning on trying the Dylon Navy Blue dye next time and leaving the fabric in the solution longer though, as I found these faded slightly after drying out. We shall see how it turns out!
I hope you like them, they are already getting a lot of use in our house!