3D Shibori Tutorial

The Bubble Sleeve Cardie pattern inspired me to have more fun with fabric, embellishments, and bobbles while sewing. If runway designers can experiment with fabric and embellishments in their designs, why can’t I? 

I did some research on turning ordinary 100% polyester fabric into, one-of-a-kind 3D Shibori fabric. The process was so cool that I had to share! 

But what is 3D Shibori, anyway? 3D Shibori is a technique of exposing fabric to high heat to create warped textures, contoured lines, and unique 3D effects. 

Let your imagination and creativity go wild by wrapping everyday objects into fabric and then boiling it. Glass marbles, stones, cookie cutters, bolts, and coins can make a really fun impact on the fabric and the sleeves of the Bubble Sleeve Cardie pattern are perfect for this type of project!

Jun Nakamura, Abstraction Collection| Photos by Kinsmen Photography| https://edgexpo.com


  • Craft Stones, glass marbles, cookie cutters, bolts, coins, or any boil-safe object
  • 100% polyester fabric is optimal, but fabrics with slightly less polyester content should also work. 
  • Small or medium-sized pot
  •  All-purpose thread
  • Scissors
  • Ruler


Step 1: Prepare your fabric

If your intended use for the finished 3D fabric is size critical, for example, using it in apparel sewing to make the bubble sleeve cardie sleeves, it is recommended that you do a swatch of fabric first. Your fabric will shrink after the 3D Shibori technique has been applied so a swatch will help you determine and check size.

Step 2: Cut the fabric

Cut your fabric piece either according to the sewing pattern you are following, or the swatch size you are testing. I did a square swatch of fabric in the video to demonstrate the before and after sizes of the fabric.
To follow the video, cut an 8 inch by 8 inch square out of your fabric.

Step 3: Wrapping the objects into the fabric

Once we have measured our swatch to ensure the dimensions are correct, pick up the glass craft stones or objects you will be wrapping.  Start wrapping the stones or objects into the fabric while securing them in the thread.

Start from the middle of the fabric and work your way to the edges adding objects as you go. Use the thread to wrap each object into place. You might be tempted to cut your thread for each piece ad tie it off to secure the object in the fabric, but it’s easier and less of a pain to clean up later if you just use one continuous thread to wrap all sections. Once you have wrapped all of the pieces into the fabric, you are ready for the next step.

Step 4: Boil water

Pick up your small-medium sized pot and fill it about ¾ full with water. You want your fabric bundle to be completely covered by at least an inch of water. Place on your stove over high heat and bring to a boil.

Step 5: Boil Fabric

Once the water is boiling, carefully drop your wrapped fabric piece into the water. Reduce heat to medium-high, or whatever setting will continue to keep the water at boiling temperatures without causing the water to boil over. Boil the fabric for 30 minutes.

Step 6: Carefully remove the fabric

Once the fabric has boiled for 30 minutes, carefully remove the fabric bundle from the pot with a spoon or kitchen tongs. Immediately rinse the fabric bundle in cold water to stop the thermoplastic molding effect. You can even let the fabric soak in the cold water for a couple of minutes just to ensure that your bundle is completely cold.

Step 7: Remove the objects from the fabric

You can remove the thread and objects from the fabric while the fabric is still wet in order to have a looser design. You can also wait for the fabric to dry completely before removing the thread and objects from the fabric for a tighter design.

Step 8: Measure and enjoy

Once your fabric has been unwrapped, you get to experience how amazing your fabric looks. Give your fabric swatch (or pattern piece) a final measure to compare sizes. My fabric started as an 8×8 in square and ended close to a 7x7in square. Now, I can continue to experiment with other objects or move on to my larger 3D Shibori fabric pieces now that I have a size scale.


We’d love to see your 3D shibori makes, especially if they are paired with the Bubble Sleeve Cardie, so be sure to tag us at #rebeccapage

One thought on “3D Shibori Tutorial

  1. Jennifer Moore says:

    Thanks Rebecca, looks interesting. When our heat-wave here in southern Australia subsides I might give the 3D shibori a try. I don’t spend a lot of time on the computer but enjoy seeing all your lovely projects and wishing I had more time for sewing. You and your keep safe and well in this topsy-turvy world we are living in now, regards

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