The New Shibori? Bleached Denim Fabric


A while back, Kristin Jackson, author of the blog The Hunted Interior did something revolutionary with denim:  she splattered it with bleach, gave it a rinse and dry, then used it to recover her clients’ chairs. (See below.)








Brilliant, right?




I could hardly wait to try this technique, but could not quite convince any of my clients to stray from some of the safer fabric choices to the world of bleach-splattered denim. So I decided to go first and make a chair cushion of my own. Like a design guinea pig if you will.



And it was so wonderfully easy.



I was lucky enough to find a roll of denim at a local fabric store offering deep discounts on remnants, but you can also find denim here. I purchased a gallon of bleach from the 99 Cents Only Store from which I poured approximately one cup (per yard of fabric) into a plastic disposable cup. I used an eye dropper to dribble and drop the bleach in a controlled way before I decided to throw caution to the wind and use a spoon to splash it on willy nilly.



Note: at first you may think nothing is happening. I even asked myself, “Did I accidentally buy indoor/outdoor, stain-resistant denim?” The bleach beaded on the surface of the fabric and the color remained unchanged.











Then ten minutes or so later, things started happening. It was like watching a photo emulsify. The pattern started to appear, faintly at first.










Then, bam! The white became whiter and, in contrast, the blue appeared even bluer.  As soon as the fabric reached this stage, I immediately gave it a thorough rinse in cold water so the bleach would cease bleaching (I didn’t want it to deteriorate the fabric), and set it in the sun to dry.










I was so thrilled with the results, I draped my bleached fabric in various poses throughout our house. It was like the gnome in the Travelocity ads, posed in various locations, although it never traveled outside my front door. (Because I wasn’t going to part with it! 🙂 .)












I was so smitten, I used it to create a cushion for a princess chair I’d restrung over winter during the many days we stayed indoors to avoid the ashy air of the Thomas Fire.










Full disclosure: in part, I’m writing this post so when I mention this idea to a client in the future, and I’m met with a raised eyebrow, in response, I’ll direct the doubter here. Ha ha.



This could be the next Shibori. It’s a little Jackson Pollock in its splattered modern art-ness. It’s unexpected. Each piece is a one-off (bespoke, anyone?), and it’s blue and white which I’d argue is one of the most classic color combinations in the history of ever.



Please let me know if you try it. I think you’ll be happy you do. If you have any questions, feel free to write in the comments section and I’ll be sure to respond.







Happy decorating! 🙂


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