Shibori dying technique for my wedding guest dress!

I've wanted to try Shibori for a long time, but never had the time or patience required! I really wanted to make my own dress for a wedding we were attending, (Inspired by The Great British Sewing Bee!) and so decided it was the perfect opportunity to give it a go! 

I'll be honest, my first batch of dying didn't work at all. I spent the time doing the Shibori, only to realise when my fabric came out of the dye that I'd used poly-cotton instead of 100% cotton. The fabric just didn't take the dye, and so I had to start all over again! Boo. But a good learning curve! 

A quick trip to Hobbycraft, a lot of help from the lovely ladies in there, and a long dilly dally in the bead aisle meant I was ready to go again with my second batch! 

First I had to decide on my design. Here my fabric is folded in half length ways, so I knew that it would be mirrored on the other side too. I wish I had drawn more smaller half circles on the fold line, so there would be less blue space down the middle. But that's something I will know for the future! 

I used a range of kitchen items to make my circles with as I wanted to easily draw out different sized circles. I had three meters of fabric to hand stitch and dye, on a short time scale, so I knew some had to be quite large in order to get it done in time! shibori technique dying wedding guest dress

Once all my circles had been drawn, I then hand stitched along each line, leaving a long tail of thread on the end, without knotting it so I could pull them tight for dying. I did however tie a knot in my thread at the beginning, so I would have something extra to pull on. 

I purchased extra strong thread from Hobbycraft (Which was in the sale, YAY!) I wanted this so I could pull really tightly on the thread without it breaking.

Do long running stitches over your lines. Where the running stitches are, will resist the dye leaving your base colour. For example my fabric is turquoise, as so it would be left that colour. shibori dying fabric technique wedding guest dress

Once all your running stitches are in place, pull the open end of string and slide your fabric down the length of it, until it's all neatly folded up. Where you have lots of lines close together (See photo above), I found it easier to work from the middle of the circle outwards. 

I also (Because this was the second lot of fabric I was using, and also running out of time, so this had to work!) I went back a tied more thread over where i had folded it into little peaks. I really wanted  a defined outline of the circles to show the turquoise colour, and this added to the effect.

I have to admit this part really shredded my fingers! I knew the thread had to be pretty tight to resist the dye, and it cut my fingers. Leave yourself plenty of time so you can come back to it if you need! Or maybe I've just got soft hands! shibori dying technique wedding guest dress

I used a dark Navy Dylon Dye, to dye my fabric. Seeing this batch in the dye bath I could instantly see the difference between using poly-cotton and 100% cotton fabric. It took the dye so much better and was instantly the correct colour. Follow the instructions on the packet, the Dylon dye was super easy to use, and came out exactly the colour I wanted, even considering I started out with turquoise fabric as my base. 

You can see my extra strong thread didn't take the dye, which was good! shibori dying fabric technique

When the fabric was dyed, I then rinsed it in cold water until the water ran clear, and chucked it in the washing machine and washed and dried it as I would normally. This allowed my fabric to shrink (If any) and meant it was properly fixed and ready to use!

I used a Simplicity New Look pattern 6125, which I had not used before, and included adding a zip...which I had also not done before! I liked the shape of it on the drawings, especially the little detail on the neckline. It also said 'Easy' on the packet which on limited time I thought would be a good idea! The clean shape and limited darts also would show off the fabric as best it could, and after all my hard work tying it up I really wanted it to be the main feature! simplicity new look pattern 6125 shibori dying teachnique

And here is my finished dress! YAY! Although I was still sewing the detail on the neckline the night before the wedding, it was finished in time! 

I really need to practise my zip's, having never done one before, it took me 7 attempts to get it to be invisible. It didn't help having a white zip on a blue dress! 

I really love the shape of it, I made the cut out on the neckline lower, and widened the skirt slightly as I love a fuller skirt! But I'm really pleased with how it turned out. I think this would be a great dress in some sequined fabric! But I need more sewing practise first! shibori dyed dress wedding guest shibori dress wedding guest shibori dress wedding guest

I just can't stop staring at all the little details, they look like little planets or a secret underwater world! shibori dress wedding guest shibori dress wedding guest shibori dress wedding guest shibori dress wedding guest

The pattern doesn't quite match up at the back, partly due to my sewing (Adding the zip) and partly due to the fact my fabric was folded over, and so both sides aren't quite the same. shibori dress wedding guest

I love the unique effect Shibori has on fabric, and would love to try out more intricate designs, perhaps on a smaller project though! 

Using a coloured 100% cotton as a base colour saved me a dye batch, and also time! So I wold recommend using a colour as a base again.

Have any of you experimented with Shibori before? If so I would love to see some photo's! 

Harriet xxx