Tie-dye Definition - Definitions for the Clothing & Textile Industry

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is a method of dyeing clothing originally popularized by members of the hippie subculture. Clothes are tied, either with string or rubber bands into some sort of pattern. Then the clothes are dyed, either by submerging them or by squirting dye solution onto them. Where the fabric is tied, some areas do not absorb dye, forming a pattern. This is known as a resist technique (the areas that are tied resist dyeing).

Shibori is a form of tie-dye which originated in Japan, which has been practiced there since at least the eighth century. Shibori includes a number of labor-intensive resist techniques including stitching elaborate patterns and tightly gathering the stitching before dyeing, forming intricate designs for kimonos. Another shibori method is to wrap the fabric around a core of rope, wood or other material, and bind it tightly with string or thread. The areas of the fabric that are against the core or under the binding would remain undyed.

Tie-dye techniques have also been used for centuries in the Hausa region of West Africa, with renowned indigo dye pits located in and around Kano, Nigeria. The tie-dyed clothing is then richly embroidered in traditional patterns. It has been argued that the Hausa techniques were the inspiration for the hippie fashion.

Plangi and tritik are Malay-Indonesian words for methods related to tie-dye, and banda is a term from India. Ikat is a method of tie-dying the warp or weft before the cloth is woven.


Below are a list of common modern tie-dying patterns


Bullseyes involve a central point which is bound, as though poking the fabric with a finger or stick to create rings of color. Often different parts of the bullseye are dyed different colors.


Horizontal or vertical stripes are created by pleating the fabric into several small folds, causing the dye to spread laterally.


Spiral patterns involve a swirl of fabric, bundled into a round bun often resembling a cinnamon bun or a snail's shell. Different wedges of the circular bun are dyed different colors.


This category can hold several different patterns, the majority of which have nothing to do with each other; they can be combinations or they can be as chaotic as bundling the item to be dyed to resemble a plucked chicken.

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