Daily Lunch Distraction: Arashi Shibori Dyeing Technique

14 Aug

I’ve been a bit obsessed with the Japanese dyeing techniques called shibori. The one I particularly love is called Arashi, and it consists of wrapping your fabric around a pole, binding it tightly with string, compressing it so there are pleats, and then dunking it in dye. Here is a gorgeous example from an Etsy seller called DyeDianaDye. You can click here or on the photo to buy a similar shirt from her shop.

There are variations in this process, but I can tell you exactly what I did and where I went wrong. My first attempt failed, but I have some good pics to show for it. Check out this video of a woman wrapping a pole. She scrunched up the fabric as she went along, but I wrapped it entirely then pushed it all to one end.

First, the fabric. My fabric was actually just a white tunic I had, seen here, which acquired some strange yellow stains after a trip to the beach. Since it was white, I figured it would be the perfect blank canvas for this type of technique. [Forgot to mention this originally, but I wet the shirt before wrapping. Thanks Diane!]

Then, the pole and string. I went to the hardware store and purchased some PVC pipe, which was about 2′ by 1 1/4″. As for string, I thought a big chunk piece of wire would work well, but it made it very hard to scrunch up, so I went with monofilament line. I don’t remember exactly how long, but it wasn’t significant.  Here’s the shirt on the pole, pre-dunk:

I started at the top of the shirt so that the bottom of the shirt would have the deepest color and it would fade to white at the top. The dyeing pot:

As you can see, the fabric comes up a bit higher  than the dye, but it had good coverage when tipped to the side and stirred. I really wish I had taken pictures of the unravelled shirt, as it looked quite beautiful, but here’s the shirt off the pole and cooling after I set the dye in the microwave. At the top of the shirt, there were very light purple stripes. It looked incredible!

It looked even better unraveled, but unfortunately I took a bad risk and tried to do a quick dunk for a lighter purple overlay and the pattern was washed away. Now I have an all purple shirt, so I may retry this technique with some deep blue dye when I have a free morning. Perhaps Diana from DyeDianaDye will have some tips for me!

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One Response to “Daily Lunch Distraction: Arashi Shibori Dyeing Technique”

  1. leggyliz 14. Aug, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    Oh! I actually did wet the shirt before doing it, but I forgot to mention that in the post. I’ll correct that. I’ll definitely scrunch as I go… I should have followed the video! :)

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