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Monday, March 21, 2016

DIY Shibori with Bleach


Do a quick google search for shibori fabric and you'll find beautiful                         indigo, navy, and cobalt images like these.  


I've noticed this trend and wanted to try a diy version when I had several extra yards of denim left from my ottoman makeover.







When I see something I like, my first thought is usually, "hmm, I'm going to try that myself"--please tell me I'm not the only one!  

A lot of projects don't work out, but I'll save those for another post. 





This fabric, a lighter chambray on one side, which is what I used on the ottoman, and a darker design on the other, was inexpensive at less than $10/yard. 




I've used Rit dye before to change the color of a dingy coverlet, but since this fabric was already blue I thought I'd try using bleach in the same way.
I'd never used bleach anywhere besides the washing machine so I first tested this little scrap to see if it would work.


I wanted 20x20 pillows so I measured four 24x24 squares and rubberbanded each piece. 

Just like when using dye, you could also fold the fabric or make other designs with rubberbands.  

I filled my sink with bleach and water (probably about a cup of bleach per gallon of water but I didn't measure so that's not exact) and let them soak, completely immersed in the water/bleach mixture until they were bleached.



I probably should have actually washed them with soap but I was too impatient so I rinsed them with cold water after cutting off the rubberbands.


I really like the design of the unbleached areas.

Here's a close up of the chambray side when it's dry.  
A piece of this fabric in a frame or wrapped around a canvas would make fun art.  You could even use a large piece of fabric to make a headboard.


I'm not an expert at making pillows at all but there are a few things my mom taught me that are useful.  

The first is that a lot of fabrics will rip straight, which is what I did with this fabric.  I'm a horrible straight-line cutter so this really helps.



I like to iron the fabric to make it easier to work with--I don't always do this but it helps if you have the time. 




I also use a straight edge to measure and even draw a line to help me sew a straight line. I used a sharpie because I knew it wouldn't show through, but you can use a disappearing fabric marker if your fabric is thin or transparent.



Pin your fabric.

Start sewing!  

If you've never sewn before, please please give it a try.  

I started years ago because I wanted to decorate my home but could barely afford the dollar fabric at walmart.  
I used my husband's old dress shirts to make the boys' pillow shams, sheets for curtains, old shirts for throw pillows...no unused fabric was safe from being repurposed.

My early projects were extremely imperfect.  Extremely. 
I still make mistakes and have to call my mom (she still talks me through threading the machine every time) or watch tutorials, but practicing is so fun.



Use your reverse any time you begin or end a stitch.


When you reach a corner, stop sewing, leave the needle in the fabric, raise the foot, spin the fabric, and lower the foot.


When you're finished you'll want to trim the excess fabric before turning the pillow right side out.  It's also good to trim the corners so there is less fabric when it's turned.  


I used my machine to sew the pillows but then hand stitched the last bit after putting the pillow form inside.  
I've noticed that pillows look best when the form you use has a bit of down in them and are 2-4 inches larger than your pillow will be.  I used 24x24 forms for these 20x20 pillows.


I couldn't decide between the light chambray or the darker denim so the pillows are different on each side--one side is light and one is dark. 









I considered adding some sort of trim or tassels to them but decided not to because I may end up putting them on my sons' beds when I need a change.  
I bet they wouldn't appreciate hot pink trim as much as I do!


*If you'd like more help with making your first throw pillows, here's a link to a helpful video.

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