July 20, 2014

How to Reverse Indigo Shibori / Tie Dye

Fall For DIY Reverse Shibori Dye

I don’t know if many of you know this but I have a degree in textile design. It’s been a while since I finished but I’m still fascinated with texture, pattern and surface design especially of tactile materials like fabric and porcelain. What I absolutely love is pattern made from random formations and gradients, so you can imagine how excited I was to find a really easy way to create this fabric at home with old denim jeans off cuts. There are two different techniques I’m going to show you in this tutorial; Shibori and tie dye. Lets start with the reverse Shibori style tying process.

Fall For DIY Reverse Shibori Dye Ties tutorial

Materials:

Bleach

Denim Fabric – The perfect use for all those denim short cut offs!

Small off cuts of wood/plastic

Elastic bands

Shibori Instructions:

1. To create the uniform shibori dye style fold the fabric neatly into a square/triangles.

2. Secure wood blocks and/or elastic bands to block off sections of material.

Fall For DIY Reverse Tie Dye Tutorial

Fall For DIY Reverse Tie Dye Ties tutorial

Tie Dye Instructions:

1. Take the fabric in both hands and twist in opposite directions.

2. Fold the twist in half and secure with elastic bands. Keep twisting and folding until you have a small ball of fabric. Hold in place with an elastic band.

Bleaching Instructions:

1. Pop on some rubber gloves. You don’t want to get bleach on your hands… trust me.

2. Submerge your tied fabric in the bleach. It will probably float so you will need to weigh it down with something heavy that you don’t mind getting a bit bleachy. I used an old plastic bottle full of water.

3. Leave for around 10 minutes and then turn over. After another 10 minutes check the colour. Keep turning the fabric until you have bleached the exposed fabric to a lighter shade.

4. Once you’re happy take the material out of the bleach, remove the elastic bands and wood blocks and rinse thoroughly for about 5 minutes until all of the bleach is removed. Once you’ve made enough fabric for your project put it all on a quick wash in your washing machine to get rid of that strong bleach smell.

Fall For DIY Reverse - Shibori Tie Dye tutorial

Now your fabric is ready to iron, cut and sew up into whatever your heart desires! My favourite project is this Clutch I made using this Zipper Pouch Tutorial. What do you think?

Fall For DIY Reverse Tie Dye Fall For DIY Reverse Shibori Tutorial

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11 thoughts on “How to Reverse Indigo Shibori / Tie Dye

  1. Clau

    Ok, sorry about the silly question, but I’m just that kind of person XD
    How is the best way to cut a pair of jeans so there’s less waste?
    I’m dying to try thisssss!!

    Reply
    1. fran Post author

      Hey there Clau,

      No way is that a silly question! It’s taken me a while to perfect it. If you have good quality, thick denim it’s really easy to rip the seams with a seam ripper to separate the leg fabric. I will then cut along the top, just under the waste band at the back with my fabric scissors and down to the crotch. Go under the pocket at the front and get as much of the fabric as you can before cutting down the the crotch again at the front. I then take the back pocket off using the seam ripper again.

      You can also unpick the zip and use that in another project! I try to use as much as possible really. Love upcycling! xxx

      Reply
  2. Hannah

    Is it better to do this on heavier weight fabrics? Would it work on cotton? I have not done much shibori dyeing and I know people do it on linen, but I wasn’t sure if the bleach alters the process / level of soaking in very much?

    Reply
    1. fran Post author

      Hey! Sorry for the late reply. I think it depends most on the way the fabric is dyed in the first place. If you’re wondering how a material might react to the bleach you could ask for samples and do a test run first. Real thick denim works better than thinner ‘jeggin’ or skinny jean materials. I think it would work well on cotton also.

      Hope that was helpful!

      xx

      Reply
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  4. melody

    The effect is beautiful, but it would be safer to use a discharge paste rather then bleach. Bleach is a strong chemical plus works in the fabric even after rinsing, eventually damaging it’s structure.

    Reply
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  6. samibambam

    Did you have any problems with the bleach burning holes in the material? I have had a bad experience after not diluting the bleach on thinner fabrics, but I haven’t tried it on denim. The project that I was working on looked fine right after the bleaching, but after a couple of washes, it was riddled with holes. Now I always dilute at least 50% but it doesn’t get a really bright white that way.

    Reply
    1. fran Post author

      I only use the really thick denim to bleach onto so I’ve always been ok up until now. I don’t know what would happen to a thinner ‘skinny jeans’ type denim… by the sounds of it, holes!
      I also make bags and accessories that don’t require very much washing. This could be an option if you wanted to use a thinner fabric.

      Another reader suggested discharge paste. This looks ideal for you!

      Reply

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