Thursday, May 15, 2014


I've written quite a lot about the thiox dye vat and some of its challenges, so now it's time to say a bit more about some of the shibori techniques that I've been playing with.  Itajime, or clamp resist, involves accordion pleating combined with the use of various clamped objects to make patterns.  Traditionally, flat pieces of wood in different shapes provided the resist, but acrylic works even better, since it doesn't soak up any dye.  I mainly use acrylic quilt templates or rulers, since I managed to buy a cheap supply from Dressew, plus others at half price from Jo-Ann when I was in the States a while back.  That was before I discovered r0ssie, an Etsy seller who cuts acrylic specifically for itajime.

For a lengthier description of the folding and clamping process, see Kaizen Journey's instructions here and here

Here are some before and after shots of itajime pieces from my first dye vat.  The first photo shows the folded and clamped fabric after several dips in the dye bath:

I bought a couple of cheeses that each came wrapped on a piece of balsa wood, so I saved the wood for itajime.  I used rubber bands in order to get a bit of resist on the edges.  Here's how the fabric came out after unfolding:

Here's the same clamped piece, along with two others, during the oxidation process:

The middle piece is a half-yard pleated and clamped between two 3x9 inch rulers, while the one at the bottom is my beloved "windows" fabric, clamped with a square quilt template, two pairs of chopsticks, and a pair of popsicle sticks.

Here are the end results, set out to dry and aerate:

Note some of the greenish tints on the second piece, where the indigo hasn't yet oxidized completely.  The color transformation is so endlessly fascinating.  I love indigo dyeing! 


  1. how con you assure that oxidation is complete in the deeper fabric layer when you are using itajime, i dip my fabric 7 times, 3 mins each one and let it to be oxidized for about 3 or 4 min but the oxidation is not complete, help me please!!! my email is

    1. You need to let the fabric oxidize much, much longer, particularly for itajime. One hour is the minimum, and two hours to half a day is better. You also need to try and open the folds now and then to let air in--I take a chopstick or a popsicle stick and gently insert it between the different layers of fabric to try and get the indigo to oxidize. You will see that even after an hour or more, there's still a fair amount of green when you look between the folds.