Fabric Dyeing Techniques: Itajime Shibori

Lynn Krawczyk uses pressure as a dye resist in this fabric sample.

There’s something special about hand-dyed fabric that makes it hard to resist.

With so many techniques to try, the possibilities for dyed fabric are truly endless. I particularly like the aspect of experimentation involved when dyeing fabric. For me, dyeing is a great way to try new techniques and dyes without expectation. Some fabrics are gorgeous after one process and others need a couple more rounds in the dye, and that’s ok.

Lynn used round resist shapes and itajime shibori to overdye this blue fabric.

Lynn used round resist shapes and itajime shibori to overdye this blue fabric.

The nice part is fabric dyeing techniques, especially shibori techniques, are not nearly as complicated as you might think. Today Lynn Krawczyk stops by with easy directions for using pressure as a resist while dyeing fabric.

Let’s Learn Wax Free Resist Dyeing:

Pressure Resist

by Lynn Krawczyk

Pressure resist, also known as itajime, blocks dye by applying pressure to different areas of the fabric. You can create complex designs depending on how the fabric is folded or make simple prints that lend themselves to further printing and embellishing. I especially like this technique as a way to overdye prints I’m not totally in love with.


1. Soak the fabric and wring it out so it is damp.

2. Fold the fabric as desired.

3. Place the resist shapes on the bottom and top of the fabric so they line up with each other. Clamp them together, with the clamps near the edges so that the pressure is distributed evenly around the perimeter of the shape.

4. Fill a small squeeze bottle with dye. Dilute the dye with water if you want a lighter color.

5. Place the clamped fabric into a tray and squirt the dye on the fabric outside of the clamped shape. Allow it to dry completely.

6. Remove the clamps and rinse the fabric in cold water until all of the excess dye has been removed.

Pretty easy, right? Are you ready to give it a try?


Itajime Jewelry Pouch by Vivika Hansen DeNegre from Quilting Arts Holiday 2015

You’re in luck; we’ve got tons of resources so you can make your own hand-dyed fabric. Start by reading Lynn’s entire article about wax-free resist dyeing in the June/July 2016 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine.

When you’re ready for more, check out my two favorite dyeing eBooks. The Dye Your Own Fabric eBook is wonderful because it features a variety of articles about a variety of techniques originally published within the pages of Quilting Arts Magazine. I also love, love, love my copy of The Surface Designer’s Handbook by Holly Brackman. I am probably so attached because it was a textbook in my college fiber art class, but it is so jam-packed with information I think it’s a must for fabric dyers, whether you’re new or a seasoned pro.

Happy dyeing!

Brenna's Signature

Explore more Fabric Dyeing Techniques!

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