question of the day

“Can you tie-dye a paisley?”


1. Ever thought about how many kinds of paisley pattern there are? Little tiny paisleys on ties. Great big ones on rugs and wall hangings. Everything in between.

2. The paisley shape is really old, essentially a teardrop (or so I have read). It’s much older than the name Paisley (from the Scottish town) would indicate. I associate it with India, myself — recall that the English word “bandana” is probably from the Hindu bandhnu or something similar, and think about your dad’s old red neckerchief with the little paisleys on it.

3. Paisleys can be really simple, but the ones I encounter tend to be quite complex, with many little decorations and flourishes. Emphasis on the many.

So, can I tie dye a paisley? Well, I guess the best answer is that I, personally, don’t know how. I can see how you can get one with clamps and blocks, and one might get a generally paisley pattern by folding the fabric carefully and dripping dye on in the general shape of a paisley, and it might work to do shibori nui and run stitches in a paisley shape and draw them up… but would any of these look like a classic woven paisley? I reckon not.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Karen B.
    Mar 23, 2007 @ 16:36:00

    I’ve seen tie-dyed T-shirts (by amateurs, obviously) that have a single teardrop shape, but that’s about it. Really, a paisley pattern is more of a printed thing than any other kind of surface design. At least, I’ve never seen any other kind in all my poking about.If you decide to try, though, I’d be happy to help document the experiment.

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