• Lucie Zeale

In which the Japanese art of Boro Sashiko saves my Jeans.

I had these sadly worn out Jeans, Blame the chub rub or that I am particularly sloppy but after nearly 2 years of wear they were heading to the great landfill, or maybe not.

Being fairly environmentally conscious and also not in monetary highwater due to the Covid lockdowns I did not want to lose a fairly good pair of Jeans and my favoured practice of biannual newyear sales jean shopping was in doubt also due to the Covid issue. Before passing them to the black bin bag of doom however I made my Kogin Needle Case and, while looking into Kogin, I also found several articles about the Japanese tradition of Boro, which involved patching old garments with rags and covering them in large regular embroidery to smooth the transition from patch into the older garment therefore you could have coats that are theoretically hundreds of years old. There are many articles and videos about using this process to patch jeans and give them a “funky” new look.

Since I had the jeans, the time and the inclination, I stuck them in a hoop and let loose with my needle.

Sashiko is done with parallel lines of long running stitches in white on blue, Since I have don’t feel ready to have a “funky” crotch on the school run I decided to use a denim coloured sew all thread and therefore if it went hideously wrong it should be hard to see.

The idea is that the embroidery is mostly on the outside of the fabric so there is a larger area of thread protecting the fabric and less wastage. Also, less stitches on the inside means less to rub in a sensitive area.

I drew a few guidelines to give my stitches a direction and put a scrap from my Saxon Broach backing fabric to cover where the hole was worst and started.

Since the running stitches in this type of embroidery have a fairly loose tension, I figured there would be no need to use elasticated cotton also you don’t knot the stitches just take them back through a few stitches. I went vertically then horizontally and then I decided to put in diagonal lines too which was less neat as the patterns already created were a bit squiggly but it took approximately 8 or so hours sewing it, as and when I felt like it.

I washed the jeans and wore them the next day and honestly, I am pretty happy with myself, they don’t look particularly pretty, but using the denim coloured cotton I don’t think its noticeable. Also, it gives me an extra layer of warmth which is very welcome now the November weather has turned colder.

In conclusion, It did take a while, and it is very boring sewing lines in the same colour thread over and over again; on the other hand it is very easy! And the result, having my jeans out of landfill at least until the spring makes it definitely worth it!!! you can easily do it as a background project. I will be setting up my other fading jeans to get Sashiko treatment at some point soon because its definitely easier to do before you have a hole to patch.

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