A glossary of textile embellishment techniques

From Kosode: 16th-19th Century Textiles from the Nomura Collection by Amanda Meyer Stinchcum, sorted by type of technique or design

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(NOTE: Yuzen and kasuri are post-period for the SCA.)

Dyeing techniques:

BOKASHI: Shading or blending of color or ink, typical of yuzen dyeing and tsujigahana.

BOSHI SHIBORI: Literally "capped shibori." The area to be reserved is stitched off (nuishime shibori), then wrapped or "capped" in a bamboo sheath. Used to reserve large areas.  

CHAYA-ZOME: A type of dyeing employing resist paste to reserve the background in white while the delicate design is vat dyed in two or more shades of indigo.  Usually applied to ramie summer kosode (katabira) worn by women of the highest echelons of the military elite.  

Application of dye, especially background color, by brush, as opposed to immersion dyeing (tsuke-zome).  

IRO-SASHI, IRO-ZASHI: Application of color (especially pigment) to design area with a small brush, especially in yuzen and some types of stencil dyeing  (cf. hiki-zome, which refers to brushed application of background color).  

KANOKO SHIBORI: "Fawn spot" shibori. Parallel rows or scattered clusters of spots, each centered with a smaller dot of the background color, produced by  tightly wrapping and tying each spot to be reserved before dyeing. (May also be referred to as HITTA, HITTA SHIBORI, HITTA KANNOKO.)  

KATA KANOKO: Stencilled kanoko. A two-dimensional imitation of kanoko shibori in which resist paste is applied through a stencil before dyeing, creating a pattern resembling kanoko shibori. The "eye" in the center of each dot is painted in freehand. See also UCHI-DASHI KANOKO.  

KASURI: Ikat, a meathod of creating a reserved pattern by tie-dyeing yarn before weaving.  

NUISHIME SHIBORI: Stitch-resist shibori. The area to be reserved is outlined with fine stitches which are pulled tight, as in shirring, and knotted. The cloth within the shirring line is then closely wound with thread. Dye cannot penetrate the thread wound area or the deepest folds of the shirring, but it does seep into the outer folds where the shirring is looser. This produces a reserved pattern bordered by white dots along the stitching line from which radiate lines of pale color where the dye has partially penetrated. The stitching off is also a preliminary step in other shibori processes such as BOSHI SHIBORI, TSUNAMI-ZOME and OKE-ZOME.  

OKE-ZOME: Tub resist or tub dyeing. A variant of NUISHIME SHIBORI used to reserve large areas. The stitched off areas are sealed inside a tub before the whole cloth is immersed in the dye bath.  

SHIBORI: A method of resist dyeing, and the fabrics producesd thereby, in which the pattern is reserved by compressing or squeezing part of the cloth and securing it against dye penetration before dipping the cloth in the dye bath. The resulting pattern is characterized by blurred outlines and a puckered surface. See also BOSHI SHIBORI, KANOKO SHIBORI, NUISHIME SHIBORI, OKE-ZOME, TSUNAMI-ZOME.  

SHIRO-AGARI, SHIRO-AGE: A style of yuzen dyeing in which the pattern is entirely reserved in white by means of resist paste, then supplemented with touches of bright embroidery.  

SHOAI-ZOME: Method of dyeing with indigo, using sukomo [composted indigo] and heated vats.  

SO KANOKO: Allover kanoko shibori, in which the entire surface of the cloth is covered by parallel diagonal rows of tiny reserved circles.

TEGAKI-YUZEN: In yuzen dyeing, the application of brushed color to small design elements outlined with resist paste applied through a funnel over freehand drawing in 
aobana juice.  

TSUJIGAHANA: A combination of decorative techniques, also the fabrics and designs thus produced, which flourished from the late Muromachi through the Momoyama periods.  Always included shibori, often supplemented by freehand painting (kaki-e), gold or silver leaf (surihaku) and embroidery (nui).  

TSUKE-ZOME: Literally "dip dyeing" or "immersion dyeing. The most fundamental dyeing technique, in which cloth is immersed in a dye bath. Called vat dyeing when dyeing  with indigo.  

TSUNAMI-ZOME: Pinch dyeing. A type of shibori in which the ground area is stitched off and the pattern areas are dipped by hand into the dye vat. Produces dyed pattern  on reserved ground.  

YUZEN-ZOME: Literally "yuzen dyeing." A combination of techniques employing resist paste to separate different colored pattern areas, to create fine white lines, and to protect pattern areas from the background color, which is characteristically applied by brush (hiki-zome).    

Other embellishment techniques:  

NUI: Embroidery.  

NUIHAKU: Combination of embroidery (nui) and metallic leaf (surihaku) popular for kosode decoration in the Momoyama and Edo periods. Also, a category of No costume so decorated.  

SURIHAKU: Literally "rubbed metallic leaf." Metallic (gold or silver) leaf pattern on cloth, often applied by spreading an adhesive through a stencil and pressing the leaf onto the glue. See also NUIHAKU.  

UCHIDASHI KANOKO: A repousse technique for giving a three dimensional effect to stencilled kanoko by pressing out the enter of each dot with a blunt stick.  

WATASHI NUI: A type of float-stitch embroidery common in the late Muromachi and the Momoyama periods, in which the long floats of embroidery floss catch the base cloth only along the perimeter of each embroidered shape.  


Stinchecum, Amanda Meyer. Kosode: 16th-19th Century Textiles From The Nomura Collection. New York: Japan Society in association with Kodansha International, 1984 (ISBN 0-913304-18-2).

World Shibori Network

Nuido, the way of embroidery

All about Kyo-yuzen kimono.

No HOBBY LOBBY products were used in these projects.