In Zoucheng, our lovely guide took us to visit 3 families who were producing zha-ran, or stitch-resist tie-dye. Her English was minimal, so I wasn’t able to ask much about the process. However, I share my photos and observations for those of you who have an interest in the process.
Wet processes and drying racks were scattered around household courtyards, with large indigo-stained vats much in evidence.
Patterns to be stitched and bound were stencilled onto the white fabric:
Cloth with patterns stencilled onto it:
Stitching, gathering and binding the designs. The gathered and bound areas will resist the dye and so remain white after dyeing.
Design stitched and gathered tightly:
Leaves of the indigo plant are fermented to create the dye.
Some kind of boiler or warmer:
The bound fabric after dyeing in indigo:
I’m guessing this is for spinning out excess water?
Some pieces, such as table cloths, had machine-stitched couched outlines added in white to accentuate parts of the design:
See more completed pieces at Zhoucheng: Zha-ran Tie-dye