Friday, February 12, 2010


Itajime is a really fun and creative way to learn resist dying. The group I was with did a cotton bandana in the morning and a long silk scarf in the afternoon. The first and second pictures show some of them hanging up to dry. The bottom photograph is what DD#3 and I created with the cotton. Hers is the blue/black, mine is the blue/yellow. I think everyone did extremely well in the class and we all learned a lot.
So what is Itajime? Basically it is clamp bound resist dying from the Japanese "Shibori" style that originally used carefully folded fabric, dyes, boards and string. We used acrylic shapes and clamps.
1. Damp fabric is very carefully folded.
2. Acrylic shapes are clamped tightly in place on both sides of the fabric to act as the "resist"
3. Dye is "painted" onto the fabric in whatever areas you want colored. (wearing long plastic gloves is highly recommended from this part to the end.)
4. The fabric is steamed for 5-7 minutes in a large metal kettle.
5. With clamps still in place, rinse most of the excess color out under very hot water.
6. Unclamp the piece and unfold the fabric.
7. Gently "agitate" your piece in cold soapy water to set everything
8. Rinse in cold water , squeeze out the excess water and hang up to dry.
Hopefully I did not miss a step :)
The cotton takes much longer to rinse out than the silk.
The really nifty part of this whole process is unfolding the finished fabric to see what design will emerge.   Each piece is unique and lovely.


Debbie said...

What a neat technique and such interesting effects. I will add it to my to try list when I pull out my paints and dyes this spring.

Dotti said...

Very nice...I saw the technique featured on a cover (issue 36) of QA magazine. I didn't like it because the artist was over dyeing commercially printed fabrics. I really like the way you (all) have done it. What kind of dye are you using that needs steaming?