Itajime Shibori




You might have read that title and thought, "Huh?!"

Last week at the North Texas Quilt Festival I had the wonderful opportunity to take a few classes and one of them was a class on Itajime Shibori.

Cindy Lohbeck teaches several classes throughout the year. She sells all the supplies for her Itajime Shibori dyeing techniques on her website here: Hands-on Hand Dyes

Yes, they did stick us in a commercial kitchen for this class. Did I mention this gets messy??

Shibori is an ancient Japanese fabric resist dyeing technique that is used to create patterns on fabric. There are several different versions of Shibori dyeing. Itajime Shibori uses shapes to prevent the dye from getting through to the fabric. The original technique is done with wood pieces, but in more modern practice plexiglass is used. 



Do you know what "PFD" stands for on a fabric label? Neither did I! PFD stands for "Prepared for Dye". This means the fibers of the fabric are open and ready to hold onto the dye that you apply. Most fabrics you can buy at your local quilt store are already treated with chemicals that will prevent them from absorbing any dye. So, the first step is finding some PFD fabric.

Once you've got your fabric and your resist shapes you can fold the fabric according to the way you want the pattern to repeat. In our class Cindy had us fold our fabric into a fan so that our pattern would be a medallion or "flower" fanning out from the center. 


Cindy also sells PFD fabric yardage on her website here : PFD Fabric Yardage


After you have everything folded you use a bunch (and I mean a BUNCH) of c-clamps and binder clips to clip all your templates onto each fan. The fabric is soaked in soda ash to open up the fibers of the fabric and you are ready to dye your fabric! 


Cindy's Itajime Shibori kits and supplies can all be found here: Itajime Shibori Supplies


I didn't capture any of the dyeing process because like I said... it's MESSY! You can just imagine - arms, apron, and table covered in indigo dye. 

Once we had everything covered in dye we placed all the folded fabric pieces (with clamps and templates still attached) into a large trash bag. The dye sat on the fabric for about 24 hours and then they were ready to rinse. 

Rinsing was also a bit of a mess, but I have just come to accept that our bathtub is blue now. It matches the shower curtain - it's fine. ; ) 

Cindy provided us all with a dye fixative so that the colors would stay vibrant. After soaking them water mixed with a little of the color fixative, I rinsed them each in cold water. If the water still wasn't running clear - I rinsed them in a little hot water and that seemed to do the trick. Then, I removed the templates. (THIS is the fun part!!)

I ran them through the wash with some of the detergent Cindy provided. Dried them on a low dryer setting and then pressed them with a steam iron. 

VOILA!! Check out the finished products...



I don't know what I am going to do with all of these yet, but I am so inspired by the process. I LOVE that such an ancient technique is still in practice today to create such beautiful hand-made fabric. Just Google Itajime Shibori and check out all the beautiful images that come up... it's incredible!

I hope you all will give it a try! As I mentioned - Cindy makes it super easy to get all the supplies right from her website. Here is a link to all the classes she has coming up: Classes

Now I want to learn more about fabric dyeing. What should I try next?!



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  • Trish on

    Amy!! They turned out beautiful!!! I want to learn how to do this. I need to order some stuff from her!! Bring them to the meeting next week :))

  • Jeanne Lobsinger on

    You must try Ice Dyeing (I think that is what it is called.) There is a lady in North Keller area that teaches all kinds of dyeing out of her home garage. She teaches all kinds of dyeing. Have fun with those beautiful blues!

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