A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October with Nienke Smit & CO - Stitch resist shibori

Welcome in October, a new month, a new technique. That's the concept of this blog! Thank you Mags Ramsay for a great series of working with acrylic paints. It has been very inspiring!

Last year, I spend a whole month on '30 ways to fold your fabric' before dying. This month we (as I have a team of contributors with me!) will share our experiments of many ways to stitch your fabric before dyeing!

A great resource on theory is this website:

(And by the way, the book they recommend is the best you can get on Shibori dying to my opinion. And lucky us, there was a reprint in 2012.)

Now for some theory,  (source: Shibori resist dyeing techniques from Grethe Wellejus, out of print) the word Shibori is Japanese and means twist, turn, press, which are the basic principles in the ways in which these methods may be used to decorate a piece of material.
Having placed a piece of material in a folded or sewn pattern, it is pressed firmly togehter and dyed int he chosen dye and thus will receive most colour on the surface area.
The dye will penetrate in proportion to the type of dye, length of time, type of material and the pressure applied. Thus you obtain a variation in the shade. At the bottom of the folds, the pattern will stay undyed.

In this way parts of the materials have resisted the dye, - hence the name resist techniques. The various shades and the three-dimensional effect are the characteristics of these techniques.

And from another source Shibori.orghttp://shibori.org/traditions/techniques/:

The unique effects possible with nui shibori (stitch resist) are determined by the type of stitch, whether or not the cloth is folded, and the arrangement of the stitches: straight, curved, parallel, or area enclosing. After the stitching of a piece is completed, the cloth is drawn into tight gathers, along the stitched thread(s), and secured by knotting. It is then dyed. The cloth within the gathers is largely protected from the dye.

The simple running stitch is commonly used and sewn evenly in a constant forward movement. The only other type of stitch used in Japanese shiboriis an overcast stitch called makinui. This stitch is made over the edge of a fold of cloth, and stitching proceeds from right to left with a circular motion of the needle. The thread is not drawn up with each stitch, but the cloth is gathered on the needle. As the stitching continues, the gathered cloth is pushed back over the eye of the needle onto the thread.

This month, in four weeks, we will concentrate on the mentioned arrangement of stitches:

  • straight
  • curved
  • parallel
  • area enclosing

We made samples just to see the effect and hope you will find inspiration in these to try yourself! 
Tomorrow some basic information!


  1. This is exciting. I really want to try some of these techniques. I hope tomorrow you tell us what kind of threads we can use, as that's my first question.

  2. Look forward to your posts, Nienke! For Craft A Life, I'm currently using dental tape to stitch curved patterns on t-shirts for dyeing. If I stitch on regular fabric, the dental floss works well. I prefer it to regular thread as it is strong and will hold well when the fabric is scrunched up.

  3. Thank you Judy, that is a good idea! I prefer to use cotton thread as the advantage of cotton thread is that it will shrink once wet which makes the knot even more tight!

  4. Looking forward to seeing all of the posts!

  5. This looks like a great month to come. I am so anxious to see your and your helpers work. It's like a buffet!!


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