Saturday, August 9, 2014

Linen Baby Wrap Sekka Shibori Dye: Part 2

This is the second half of my Sekka Shibori experiment. The first half, which covers the basics and folding can be read here.
This is where we left off: a stack of folded linen.

Trying to figure out dyeing was challenging since I could not find a tutorial. In my last post I showed how I figured how to apply the dye to get the pattern you want. Here is that picture again:

And based on that, this was what I thought I'd try to attempt. I figured why not toss two colors in there just to see what happens.

At the very end, I found this blogpost that was the most helpful on how to tie this beast off. The below image is from there. The post also shows how the old lady is folding the folded up fabric in triangles and a whole bunch of (AH-mazing!) Shibori dyed fabrics and kimonos.

Back to boring old TX. After a couple trips to Home Depot, Joanns and HEB (I mean who can remember all the things to buy at once, even if you have a shopping list!), I had all the materials to dye. I chose Dylon's Navy and China blues, because that's what was quickly available to me at the moment.

Here is the tub for soda ash soaking and soda ash from the pool department at Home Depot. 

Here's the rest of my supplies:
Salt (which I forgot to use and apparently doesn't really matter in this type of dyeing), glade plastic tubs, gloves, clamp, plastic bag, pieces of wood, paintbrush, plastic table cloth, plastic spoons.

First thing I did was get the soda solution ready and soak my fabric stack. The official ratio is 1 cup soda per 1 gal warm water, but I just filled the bottom up several inches and tossed a plastic cup of soda ash in there. Stirred and tossed in fabric. The tip was out a little, but I just turned it over a couple times.

While that was soaking I worked on how to clamp the wood down, I bought the smallest piece of wood from the store and cut it into the same size as my template except for two corners. I did this thinking that that way the corners would get more ink since they were less compressed. We'll see if it works. 

To make sure the wood doesn't warp while sitting in the dye, I covered it with some plastic from a plastic bag like so:

Then it was about time to mix the dyes and get my fabric out of the SA and clamp and dye it. I am inserting Dylon directions for tie-dye (bottle method) from their webpage here. I specifically was looking for the info on how much dye to mix with water.

1. Wash Fabric and leave damp
2. Prepare fabric as per instructions for the selected Tie-dye method below
3. Using rubber gloves, dissolve dye in 500ml warm water
4. Put dye solution into squeeze bottle
5. Place tied item into the empty bowl and apply the dye to the selected areas straight from the bottle.
6. Once complete, put the item in a plastic bag, seal it and leave overnight
7. Without untying fabric, rinse in cold water until water runs clear, then untie and wash in warm water. Dry away from direct heat & sunlight
8. Wash separately for first few washes to remove any excess dye 

Aaand back to TX, Take the fabric out of the bath and clamp it. I didn't wring or dry the stack before dyeing, figuring clamping the stack would squeeze a lot of the water out, which it did.

I used a chip brush to paint the dye on, because I thought that would give me the best control on where to apply it. Traditionally they often dip the stack, but I did not feel this was clamped tight enough and sturdy to do that. For the solid side, I held the stack upright and painted the whole thing, adding extra dye to the middle and making sure to paint in all the little creases. I dripped quite a lot, so be careful when you do this.

Then I laid it painted side down and did the sides about 2/3 up. Also painting more dye in the middle of that side hoping to bleed more dye in and plump up the marks. Then I rinsed the brush and painted on the China blue in the one corner that was still white. Also trying to sop it on more on the tip of the triangle and trying to keep it from running into the navy.

After painting, I put some more on for good measure, and moved it into a plastic bag. As I was getting it in, the clamp came undone and the fabric fell out. Moment on panic! I gathered everything back in as quickly as I could, but it takes forever to unscrew this to clamp it back up again. Oh well. I'm sure it will give it some character. Thank goodness I had those corners tied, so it didn't lose shape.  Now the whole thing is sitting in the sun and will have to wait until tomorrow for the reveal. I will update the post when that time comes.

The next morning it was time to undo the stitches and unravel the fabric!

It's like Christmas! I had a nightmare just before getting up that I opened this and the dye had only colored a yard of the fabric on one side and otherwise my wrap was white. Good thing it wasn't true! So much fun pulling it open.

Laying it out to see the pattern.

It was pretty much what I expected for my first try. Pretty but not as even and "fat lined" as I had hoped. Some of the lines barely came out, but I like the pattern and color, so will try this again on the other half of the wrap. After this, I rinsed in a plastic tub outside until the water ran clear and then toddies it in a hot wash with extra rinse. I was a little worried because the navy was almost black, but after the hot wash, some more came out and now its just the shade I was hoping for. 

Here are some action shots after wash, dry and hemming. The linen wraps nicely already. Its super sturdy after getting into place. Never tried a pure linen wrap before of store bought fabric, so was happily surprised. Its not super cushy on the shoulder as of yet. But it was very comfy and airy. Which is perfect for the August TX heat. Once we don't need this as a wrap, it will make for awesome towels, pillows or a blanket. Or maybe I'll sell one and keep the other. Will see when the other is done. :)

 Here is a closeup of the after wash and lighter colors.

The whole wrap again.
This was a fun (and back breaking) experiment which I am already building on. I have the next piece of fabric folded and sitting in dye at the moment ready to be washed tomorrow. That will get it's own post when I'm done. It'll be very similar, but I used Osnaburg, the square folding pattern and two shades of green. Notes to self on dyeing, the lines are pretty thin and show areas where I added the extra dye. Next time, fluff the folds a little with dye to get more color in and build the "fat" lines up more gradually.


  1. Very nice tutorial and beautiful results. My compliments for the thinking and the courage to start such a project!

  2. Thanks for posting. Great help:)

  3. Lovely, thanks for posting ;)

  4. thanks for share this. very useful! I would try it :)

  5. This is one of my favorite shibori patterns. Thanks so much for posting!

  6. Very useful information. But isn't soda ash another word for lye? What about using vinegar as a fixative?

    1. Soda Ash is more of a base and vinegar is acidic. Different fabrics require a different fixative. Sodium Carbonate(Soda Ash) and Sodium Hydroxide(Lye) are not the same thing. Soda Ash is use in swimming pools. Acid based dyes are used for your protein fibers such as silk and wool.