I’ve had an interest in shibori – traditional Japanese fabric dying – for a while, since I did a workshop at a textile art exhibition a couple of years ago. One of my plans for Burning Man costumes was to dye some voile and make a bunch of light tops for daytime wear.
Yesterday I prepared my pieces of fabric. I cut four pieces of voile in different sizes, and folded and scrunched them in various ways…
Top to bottom: 1. wrapped with string around a plastic tube and scrunched up tight; 2. stitched and gathered; 3. folded with a diagonal concertina fold and tied with string; and 4. folded in a pattern I made up (it might have a name but I don't know it) and then pressed between two bits of wood, with some chunky brush-bristles for texture
The dye I used is fancy stuff called Liquid Radiance – unlike most other dyes you can use it on any sort of fabric, and you can use it as paint too. In some ways it doesn’t work quite like other dyes, so I wasn’t sure how my experiments were going to come out. I was also trying not to use too much of it, so I used the dropper bottles instead of the usual method of dipping the fabric in a container of dye. That let me do some multiple-colour stuff that I couldn’t have done the other way. The voile resisted the dye a bit – I ended up dampening the fabric with a spray bottle to encourage the dye to spread.
Here’s what I got – first the ‘In Progress’ shots, and then the results:
Scrunched around a tube - in progress
Scrunched around a tube - the result. This technique is supposed to produce patterns that look like waves or ripples - I think you can see that effect here - hooray!
Gathered and salted - in progress. For this one I sprinkled some salt on the piece after applying the dye. The salt dries up the colour, making little spots. I hoped the salt effect would show in the loose parts and not penetrate so much in the tight gathers.
Gathered and salted - the result. Here is the wide view of this one. The lines of gathering didn't have as much effect as I'd hoped. Maybe next time I'll try a shorter stitch or more than one line of stitching at each gathering position.
Gathered and salted - a close up. Here you can see the tiny spots. Next time I'll use the right sort of salts instead of table salt - and in chunkier pieces.
Concertina fold and tied - in progress.
Concertina fold and tied - the result. The folding was actually a bit more complicated - folded in half, and then all the corners folded in like an envelope, and then concertina folded - the envelope bit gives that square effect. The blue ran a lot and ended up kinda overtaking the red.
Funny fold with brush bristles - in progress. I started with just brown, but at the end I decided it was a bit boring, so I added some splashes of the last of the purple.
Funny fold with brush bristles - the result. The bristles only really had an effect on the outermost layer, resulting in a cool centre panel thing. I'm going to have to rethink my plans for this piece of fabric - make that panel a feature. This dye seems to travel quite easily along the fabric, even into tight places you don't want it to go - a bit of a complication for mechanical resist techniques.
And now, the pièce de résistance… I acquired a pair of white thermal pants – free, but boring 😛 So I made them stripy:
Stripy thermals - not actually the pièce de résistance. But fun.