Tie Dye Patterns, Part 3: Folds

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Vee Fold

Many of the popular patterns in tie dye are started by folding the garment in halves, thirds, or quarters, either vertically, or horizontally, or both.   What happens when a garment or piece of fabric is folded, then tie dyed?  A mirror image results on each of the layers in the fold.  One fold creates two images, two folds create four images.  And so on.  Most folds are also accordion pleated to complete the design.  Geometrical accordion pleating is very similar to the technique learned in a previous blog about pleating a symmetrical image.  Instead of forcing a curved chalk line into a straight one, pleats are either uniform, or angled.

Let’s walk through a few folded, then pleated designs, step by step.

V-Fold

  1. Fold a pre-soaked tee-shirt, or other garment, in half vertically, smoothing out any wrinkles, matching all the seams, and hem, and sleeves.
  2. Using colored chalk and a yard stick, make two parallel line at an angle to the shoulder.
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  5. Pleat against the chalk lines, creating a graduated angle the full length of the garment.
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  8. DO NOT pick up the garment, but slide the bands on from each end.
  9. Band tightly at about two inch intervals the full length of the garment.
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  11. Using the bands as guides, dye the area between the bands, fully saturating each section.

Pyramid–this fold and pleat is the same as the V-fold, just going the opposite direction.

  1. Fold a pre-soaked tee shirt, or other garment, in half vertically, matching all the seams, hem, and sleeves.  Smooth out any wrinkles.
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  3. Using colored chalk and a yard stick, make two parallel lines at an angle to the hem of the garment.
  4. Pleat against the chalk lines, creating a graduated angle the full length of the shirt.
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  7. Band tightly at about two inch intervals the full length of the garment.
  8. Using the bindings as a guide, saturate the fabric between the bands.

One of the tie dye patterns I have my apprentices master first  is the diamond.  It is such a simple fold.  Yet through mastering the diamond fold and its kin the tie dyer begins training the mind to anticipate the outcome of various more complex folds.

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Diamond

  1. Fold the garment in half vertically, then again horizontally.
  2. The center of the shirt is now in a fold at one corner.
  3. Using that corner as the first pleat, pull up a ridge in the fabric from corner tip to shoulder.
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  5. Continue pleating until the entire garment is pleated.
  6. DO NOT pick up the pleated garment.  Slide bands from each end at evenly spaced intervals until the entire length is banded.
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  8. Saturate with dye between the bindings.

X Fold is the same as a diamond, but pleated in the opposite direction.

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Zig Zag

  1. Fold the garment horizontally three or more equal folds.
  2. Fold the sleeves in towards the center of the garment.
  3. Starting at the shoulder, pull up the first pleat ridge at an angle to the long folded side.
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  5. Continue accordion pleating at the same angle until the entire garment is pleated.
  6. NOT picking up the garment, place bindings at evenly spaced intervals.

In this tie up, six or more layers are folded together, creating a strong resist to the dye application.  Therefore apply the dye with a heavy hand in order to reach the inner most folds.

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Eric modeling a rainbow zigzag.

Unlike the spiral patterns, folding and pleating require a great deal more precision to produce a crisp, distinct pattern.  Good dye penetration into the tightly bound folds takes a little practice, as well.  Practice and patience are foremost in creating geometrical designs.

I hope you found this information useful.  If so, please consider making a donation to help keep my site advertisement free.

 

 

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12 Comments

Filed under How to, Patterns

12 responses to “Tie Dye Patterns, Part 3: Folds

  1. like to play with tiedye in moment for summergarments,like your blog

  2. Cody

    None of your images are coming through. The links are broken. I would love to see the photos. Thanks, – Cody

  3. Hi ! I am trying to figure out how best to make a square pattern on a tshirt (by folding accordian first vertically then horizontally) – on a woven cotton fabric it came out beautifully with immersion dyeing as i had it clamped very tightly- the tshirt though thin just doubles the thickness (since a tshirt has a front and back) and so the block resist of the square shape might not be tight enough to compress and so the pattern wont come out nicely. Do you have any ways around this? Iv seen people just bind and dip in very shallow dye baths but those patterns dont come as interesting for some reason- just wanted to get your idea on this- thank you! 🙂

  4. Hi thanks for your post! I tried your V and X patterns and they came out beautifully!
    I also did some others where I soaked them in dye, but probably didn’t have enough dye and they faded out to practically nothing. They are all a pale blue or purple now. Can these be dyed again do you think? I realize there won’t be any white background to play off of, but that might be ok. Any thoughts?
    Thanks!
    Stacey

    • Hello, Stacey,
      yes, you can re-tie and dye again. The first dye will impact the over dye by muting the color somewhat.

      • Thanks for your answer. Do you have any pictures of what that might look like?
        Would you recommend bleaching the items and starting over?

      • No pictures. 🙂 I would never recommend bleaching to start over. Shirts are inexpensive, so I would begin afresh with new garments. In my experience a re-do is time consuming and usually unsatisfying.

  5. Christine

    Hi, do you use sodium alginate?

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