At a party a while ago, my friend Kate and I were talking about our recently acquired hobbies (my sewing and her jewellery making), and how we wanted to do more crafty stuff. After some more chatting, we came up with the idea of ‘Crafternoon’ – i.e. getting a group of friends together and doing some kind of organised crafting, and have some lunch. After some more sober chats and planning sessions along with Kate’s flatmate Amy, our plan was realised and and last Sunday about 10 of us got together to do Shibori tie dye and block printing in their garden.

Crafternoon 1

We got our inspiration from the following online resources, and used these to put together a few ‘instructional handouts’ (using the term instructional loosely..) to give people some inspiration on the day.

  • Blog post by Victory patterns on how to do Shibori stitch resist method
  • Blog post by Honestly WFT on a mix of different Shibori techniques
  • Watching this trailer for Lena Corwin’s ‘Made by Hand’ book, we decided to try the rolling pin block printing.
  • We also checked out Pintrest which is a never ending resource for DIY/craft methods

We acquired quite a long list of stuff for the day, which I won’t bore you with here. But basically we got enough dye, fabric paint, rubber bands, string etc and asked people to bring clothes or fabric that they wanted to work with, along with a rolling pin if they wanted to try the block printing method.

I took quite a few photo’s on the day, so I’m going to let them do the talking. Here are a few of the things we trialled.

And here are some photo’s from the dying process, and our results. We squealed like little children when we unwrapped the fabric, truly amazed by the results.

We ended up using this Dylon hand dye, as it’s convenient to use outdoors and doesn’t require very hot or boiling water. I originally wanted to try natural dye’s, but decided against as it was a bit too much to do on top of the other organising. For about 10-15 pieces of fabric and clothing (nothing very big), I used two sachets of dye. The end result came out a bit paler than I was hoping, so we could probably have used more. The colour also varied loads depending on the fabric people used – pure cotton ended up absorbing a lot of dye, while poly cotton fabrics ended up paler – but still  really beautiful.

I created the pattern on the large piece of fabric that I’m holding up above (freestyle petals… or something) using Shibori stitch resist method. It  took forever to do the stitching, but was so worth it. I’ll be using this, along with some additional fabric I’ve tie dyed since, to make a summery dress. Watch this space..

Sadly, only women signed up to take part. There were quite a few guys around, flat mates, significant others etc, but unfortunately we couldn’t convince them to join in. Taking gender stereotypes to their extremes, they decided to instead supply the group with some deliciously BBQ’d meat. I can’t say we complained too much…


I can’t recommend this enough as a crafty summer activity to do with your friends. If you’d like more info, tips on what to get, a copy of the PDF handout I prepared etc, let me know and I can send this through to you.

8 thoughts on “Crafternoon

  1. Looks a lot of fun! A friend and I were chatting this week about organising a craft evening or afternoon where we are all working on the same craft activity (we’ve had craft evenings before where everyone does their own thing, but that can lead to not much crafting actually getting done!), so I’ll definitely be suggesting this as an activity.
    Love that you’ve created your own pattern out of this, will be so satisfying to not only say you made the dress but that you also designed the fabric!

  2. I saw the image on Instagram and thought “oh! Are those men and are they all tie dyeing?” ☺
    Still, it’s good they were there and provided food.
    Not really a fan of tie dye, but your petals look really nice, I’ve never heard of that techinque. I’ll chek it out righ now.

  3. Pingback: Shibori Wiksten dress | We The Sewing
  4. I love the idea of a craft session with friends – we’ve talked about it but never actually done it. Well done on getting organised! I love shibori dyeing. The wiksten dress you made with your fabric is gorgeous too! Have you seen Crab & Bee & Sew Pomono’s dyeing? They both do really inspirational stuff!

    • Thanks for the tips Kathryn! I’d never seen Sew Pomono’s blog before – awesome with some inspiration :) Def want to do more experimenting with Shibori!

  5. Pingback: One year on | We The Sewing

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