Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Inspired by Boro

"Boro" is perpetual mending and patching that can extend the life of a garment indefinitely.  The technique originated in rural Japan. "Sashiko" is a form of Japanese folk embroidery that uses a basic running stitch to create a patterned background.

Collar and collar stand

Inspired by examples of boro and sashiko online, I've started a very long term boro/sashiko inspired project. Only "inspired by" because true boro was born of necessity, to extend the life of expensive cotton textiles and sashiko has rules I don't intend to follow strictly and a uniformity I am not yet able to achieve. This is just for fun and to create a comfortable, functional, and one of a kind garment for myself. 

My husband had a denim shirt hanging in his closet that was worn beyond the point of being wearable for anything other than painting and messy household chores. In fact, it has a few paint and spackle stains that I'll eventually cover with patches!

Boro shirt beginning.

I started by removing the sleeves since they were far too long for me anyway. I then used the fabric salvaged from the sleeves to fashion large, functional pockets along the lower edge of the shirt. The narrower pocket, close to the hip, is just the right size to hold my cellphone. Another just like it on the other side of the shirt will be handy for my reading glasses.

Working around the snaps of the Boro vest.

I then started in replacing the very worn areas of the collar stand and front button band with material repurposed from an old dish towel. With the addition of boro embroidery to hold the layers together and add an element of decoration, I quite like the way it looks. 

Of course covering the button bands with material also covered up the snaps, which I wanted to remain functional. It wasn't too difficult to snip tiny holes in the patching material and stretch it over the snaps, tucking the ends into a slim groove in the snap itself. Well -- it worked for both the top and the bottom of the "female" end of the snap anyway.

Working around the snaps of the Boro vest.

Uncovering the "male" portion of the snap was considerably more difficult because there was no groove to hide loose ends in. After some experimenting I ended up snipping a larger hole, turning the ends under, and stitching all around with a blanket stitch. Not as neat, but at least functional. That side won't be visible when the vest is worn anyway.

Working around the snaps of the Boro vest.

You'll be hearing more about this project in the weeks, months, and perhaps years to come. Once I get the initial patching and embroidery done I'll be wearing this vest a lot, perhaps only in the house, but maybe for walking the dog or camping as well. As the vest gets worn out further I'll just keep patching it!


Gene Black said...

I love it! I have been considering patching some holes in the knees of a couple of pairs of jeans (yeah, I know the holes are "cool" - but I don't like them) This may be an awesome fix. I just wish I had an old blue dishtowel similar to the one you used.

PJ said...

Very Nice!

Marlene said...

I'm not one for this fad of holes in jeans either, Gene, especially those purposely put there for fad reasons when they are brand new. Patches on the other hand, I quite like. I was lucky that I had a well worn dish towel, already delegated to the rag box. In fact I only noticed how well it coordinated with the shirt because I was actually using the dish towel as a dusting cloth! Maybe you could find something along that line at a thrift store?

Thanks PJ. I always appreciate it when readers take a moment to comment.