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Lessons in stitched and tied shibori part 3: Ori-nui, single line and double line stitching


I know, FINALLY! Welcome to part 3 of my ongoing lessons on shibori. This time around I am going to explain basic single and double line ori-nui stitches.

Ori nui is a traditional shibori technique based on stitching fabric as a resist. Different types of sewing stitches are set into fabric, pulled tight and dyed. The resist is the compression pressure of the fabric. After dyeing, the thread is removed to expose linear patterns that vary with the type of stitch used. Use ori nui shibori to create any pattern or picture made with lines.

Single stitch 1. Pattern the fabric. See equipment post for patterning advice. 2. Thread needle and knot thread. Use a heavy, doubled over knot lest the knot pull through the fabric!


3. Run the needle through the fabric evenly, gathering it on the needle. Gathering the fabric on the needle tends to make stitches straighter and more evenly spaced. Even stitches will create gathered fabric with very regular “bumps”.



4. To stabilize needle while stitching, brace against the base of your index finger. A palm or finger guard may be necessary.


5. When the needle is full, pull the fabric gently down the thread.


6. When a line is completed, stretch the fabric flat on the thread. This isn’t necessary if you are only stitching one line, but will make stitching easy when you have multiple lines planned.


Double stitch 1. Pattern fabric and use needle and thread according to previous instructions. 2. Fold fabric along pattern line. 3. Stitch right along the fold line evenly. Two layers of fabric are sometimes stiff. If so, take extra care that stitches stay even.



4. Brace the needle against your palm or the base of your index finger as you gather fabric, it will make the needle easier to control.


5. When the needle is full, pull the fabric GENTLY down the thread. Double line stitches will be stiff and hard to pull: be gentle, move slowly and twist the needle a little to move the fabric down.



6. When a line is completed, stretch the fabric flat on the thread. This isn’t necessary if you are only stitching one line, but will make stitching easy when you have multiple lines planned.


Tip: if your stitched lines are going to cross, DO NOT stitch the lines through each other. The second line to be sewn should skip a stitch and “jump” over or under the existing line of stitches. Catching the two sets of stitches together will make it impossible to tighten for dyeing.

Tightening fabric 1. Pull string so that fabric tightens into a tight, even line. It should feel stiff when pinched, the “wrinkle” pattern produced should be even with no slack or “give” in the line of stitches.


2. Tie thread off and trim loose ends. Don’t trim too short or you risk having the knot spontaneously untie in the dye phase.

Tightening work It always seems like the hardest part of stitched shibori is tightening the stitches enough to act as a resist while preventing the knot at the under end of the thread from pulling through the fabric or breaking. Here are some tips: -Doubling over the thread used in the stitching makes it less likely the thread will snap under stress. -Tie a very large knot in the end of the thread (two or three times on itself…..). But be aware that a HUGE knot will leave the dye mark of the knot on the fabric. -After pulling the thread, tie the two sides of the doubled threads on themselves. -If you have trouble tying the knot without pulling it into the fabric, put a little piece of thread under the knot as a “stop”. -If you have two lines of stitching close together, tie them to each other. BUT, if they are too far apart, they will leave lines in the final dyed product. -If you are having trouble tightening the fabric enough, dampen the fabric SLIGHTLY with a spray bottle or damp towel. The fabric will compress better damp, but too much water and it will be an unwieldy, soggy mess.

What if I break my thread? If your thread breaks and you have room, re-draw the line and stitch again. If it is in a crowded spot (lots of other stitching) and you can’t redraw the guide line, use the holes from the previous (broken) stitch line as a guide.

Feel like you missed some parts? Part 1 is all about kumo shibori! Part 2 is all about materials! Part 4 is karamatsu, or the larch pattern!

Part 5 is mokume shibori, or wood grain pattern!

#Japaneseshibori #art #crafts #SumireDesigns

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