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How to make Shibori Indigo Dyed Tea Towels


How to make Shibori Indigo Dyed Tea Towels

Shibori is a traditional Japanese dyeing technique that involves folding, twisting, and binding fabric before dyeing it, resulting in beautiful and unique patterns. Indigo dye is commonly used in Shibori to create stunning blue and white designs. One popular item to create using Shibori and indigo dye is tea towels. In this blog post, we’ll explore how you can create your own Shibori indigo dyed tea towels to add a touch of handmade beauty to your kitchen.

Materials Needed

  • Bernina 560 sewing machine
  • Edgestitch Foot #10, #10 C, #10 D
  • White Kona Cotton fabric
  • Indigo dye kit
  • Rubber bands
  • Large bucket or tub for dyeing
  • Plastic gloves
  • Rubber gloves
  • Plastic sheeting or tarp to protect work surface
  • Clothespins or clips to hang the towels
  • Water


  1. Wash and dry the cotton fabric to remove any sizing or residues that may interfere with the dyeing process.
  2. Prepare the indigo dye according to the instructions on the kit. This usually involves mixing the dye with water and allowing it to oxidize for a certain period of time.
  3. Fold, twist, bind, or stitch the fabric to create the desired Shibori patterns. There are various traditional Shibori techniques you can use, such as Itajime, Arashi, and Kumo.
  4. Dip the prepared fabric into the prepared indigo dye bath, making sure to fully submerge it for a few minutes.
  5. Remove the fabric from the dye bath and allow it to oxidize and change color from green to blue as it is exposed to the air. Repeat the dipping and oxidizing process multiple times to achieve deeper indigo hues.
  6. Rinse the dyed fabric in cold water to remove excess dye, and then unfold or unbind it to reveal the beautiful Shibori patterns.
  7. Wash the fabric with mild detergent to remove any remaining dye, and then hang it to dry.
  8. Once dry, iron the fabric to set the dye and complete the tea towels.


Q: Can I use any type of fabric for Shibori indigo dyeing?

A: While traditional Shibori is often done on cotton or silk, you can experiment with other natural fabrics to see how they take the dye. Keep in mind that synthetic fibers may not work well with indigo dye.

Q: Do I need special equipment to create Shibori tea towels?

A: While a sewing machine and specific sewing feet are listed among the materials, you can also try simpler Shibori techniques that don’t require sewing. Experiment with different methods to find what works best for you.

Q: Is indigo dyeing messy?

A: Indigo dyeing can be quite messy, so it’s important to protect your work area with plastic sheeting or a tarp and wear gloves to avoid staining your hands. It’s also a good idea to wear old clothing that you don’t mind getting dye on.

Q: How long does it take to make Shibori indigo dyed tea towels?

A: The entire process of preparing the fabric, dyeing, rinsing, and drying can take several hours or even a full day, depending on the number of towels you’re making and the complexity of the patterns you’re creating.