Shibori clothing

30 July 2006

How do we make clothing out of cloth with shibori patterns?
(To see the type of clothing I’m referring to check out Fiber Arts Design Book 7, pages 154-175 or Artwear: Fashion and Anti-Fashion, which has older work.)
Traditional shibori techniques, such as the resists shown in Wada‘s first book, developed in Japan, where the traditional cloth is woven 13″-15″ wide. Hence most of their techniques work well on long narrow pieces of fabric. This is true of arashi shibori, you can do almost any length but widths greater than 15″ are a challenge.
Our clothing designs, on the other hand,are based on flat pattern making, and work best on wide cloths, 36″ being the narrowest we usually consider. Bias cut garments usually work best in the wider cloths, 54″-60″.
Here are some of the solutions/compromises I see current shibori artists use:
shibori kimonos copy.jpg
•Use the traditional Japanese shibori techniques on narrow cloth and make the clothes from it. Make Japanese style clothes from narrow widths of cloth. Kimonos, kimono style jackets are common solutions. John Marshall‘s book has directions for tradtional garments and some modern adaptations. Weavers also prefer to make long narrow fabric, so many designs have evolved to make clothes from it. Cut My Cote by D. Burnham and Costume Patterns and Designs by Tilke (try the library it is a truly mind expanding book) are sources of historical designs for long narrow cloth. Piecing is also a way to get bigger cloth from narrow pieces. These designs do not have a modern fit. It can be unrewarding to invest this much time into a garment percieved as a bathrobe.
•Others use shibori techniques that work with wider cloth.
yuko_top_amala_skirt copy.jpg
Itajame (fold and clamp), binding, capping, stitching techniques work on any width cloth. Those with a tie-dye back ground seem to be less limited by the size of the cloth, possibly because of their expeience wih large pieces and whole garments(T-shirts).
•Others adapt the techniques to the cloth they want to use. They get huge diameter stainless steel poles and lifting devices and bathtubs. Others just wrinkle the cloth on the pole to make it fit the pole they have.
Some wrap complete garments on poles, others make the cloth then think about the garment. There seems to be a different solution to these challenges for each maker– that why each has her own style.
My solutions for these problems do not involve 24″ ID stainless steel poles, that is Joan McGee. Most of my work is textural shibori including the few special garments I make for exhibitions or runway shows. Here are some photos of and outfit I made with Grace. It has both arashi and bound shibori. The dress was designed by draping some old pieces or samples (Grace and samples again) of my textured shibori. Then the pieces for the dress were planned with bound spider webs at the shoulder and hem and the shrinkage due to the pleating. The pieces were hemmed. Then I did all the shibori at the same time, including some extra pieces so that the color would match. We ended up using 5 of 6 pieces that we made. The dress was then constructed, a lot of hand stitching is needed to sew the already pleated material. There are ribbons and silk marquisette, that we dyed to match, to give structure to the dress. The hat has a red felt foundation.
Another oufit with with pleated shibori can bee seen at here.


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