Slow Projects: Shibori and Indigo Dyeing – Results

Following on from my previous post on the stitching and dyeing process, it’s time to take a peek and see how it turned out.

Unwrapped and pegged out to dry
Close-up, still drying
dry cloth – much lighter in shade with more variation in dye colour.  Still needs final rinse and iron to remove the stitching holes.

It took an insane amount of water to wash the dye out.  Because of the drought we’ve had to have water trucked in, and I really hated to be wasting so much of it.  Much of the dye hadn’t bonded to the fabric, so what looked like a very inky colour ended up being two shades lighter after the fabric was washed, and another two shades lighter again after it dried.  When I did the last dunking, the vat was starting to get a bit cloudy, and I think that is where I’ve come unstuck as the colour was actually lighter after the last dunk than before it went in.  From what I’ve since read, it has cloudiness ( a sign that the ph was not right and oxygen was in the vat) caused the dye to unbond from the fabric.   Oh well, less impatience and more care needed next time.

But, I am excited that the pattern shows up quite well.  From a distance it looks quite good.  Close up, there is a lot of variation in the colour which I was hoping to minimise.  I was a bit disappointed at first, but I’m starting to like it.  For a first try, I think it’s pretty good.

So, now the next step is to decide what to make with it.  Some doodles to ponder…     Which do you like the best?

Ideas for using the shibori fabric

8 thoughts on “Slow Projects: Shibori and Indigo Dyeing – Results

  1. This took a lot of patience, so I don’t think you were impatient, were you? The results are lovely! I really like the textural feel of the pattern, and I like the dye imperfections. I like this type of fabric very much. I vote for the loose fit blouse with cut on sleeves, but you should choose which one will be more comfortable and flattering for you to wear! Are you going to follow up with some sort of rinse like Retayne? I am not familiar with the process, so I don’t know if this is recommended. I think this is a very impressive project. You should enter it. Lots of folks would love to see it.


    1. You always leave such thought provoking comments – thank-you! I truly was impatient to finish off the dyeing before dinner time and chose to ignore that the vat wasn’t quiet right. I think we are quite spoiled now with the modern dyes which work so quickly and easily. From what I understand, the Retayne won’t work with vat dyes as the chemistry is different. It will work with the fibre reactive dyes though.

      Thanks for the vote on the blouse. I have the fabric draped over the dressform at the moment and I still can’t decide on the best pattern for it yet. I’m leaning toward the polo shirt at the moment as I think that would get the most wear. I might put up a review on PR, but won’t enter it. I’ve won a few contests and think it’s someone else’s turn. I’m just happy to challenge myself and learn something new.


  2. Wow, so beautiful! Taking notes as I have a long-overdue indigo dyeing project myself. I am so impressed that you did all of that shibori stitching first. You continue to amaze me! I think the M6564 is perfect for the fabric.


    1. Thanks Sasha. I’d love to hear about your project. I’m thinking of having another go with the dyeing, although a simpler project this time. Thanks for the vote on the McCall’s top. It is a bit dressier than the others and I think it suits the fabric well.


  3. Personally, I like the design with the least amount of seaming and pattern details to allow the fabric to be the star attraction. Hence, I’d vote for the shell.

    Enjoy reading your blog. I live all the self-drafting and athletic-type attire. Thanks for sharing your work!


  4. This is so impressive. Your fabric turned out so beautiful. Indigo is trickier than it seems. My results using natural dyes are so varied and never predictable. You did great.


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