Boro work is a traditional Japanese technique often used for mending items of clothing using running stitches over patches of fabric. We are re-creating this look by using patches of fabric attached to a base fabric by stitching lines of running stitch to secure the patches. We then used the fabric we made into a useful sunglasses case.
You will need…
Two pieces base fabric for Boro stitching (we used calico) – 22cm x 12cm
Small rectangular patches of fabrics for Boro work – we used a selection from the Grove range by Makower UK
Sashiko Thread or Perle Cotton for Boro stitching – use a contrasting colour
Two pieces lining fabric 20cm x 12cm
Two pieces and two scraps of iron-on lightweight interfacing to strengthen the foundation fabric – 22cm x 12cm
Magnetic Clasp – ours was from Bag Clasps
Use a 1/4 inch seam allowance throughout.
Making the Foundation Fabric
Take your piece of calico and press. Start adding small rectangular pieces of fabric from the centre outwards and pin in place. You want the raw edges to show to give the work an aged appearance. Then as you add more patches, tiling them over the previous pieces, start to add some running stitches to secure the pieces in place.
How to do Boro Stitching
Start by knotting your thread and hiding the knot behind a fabric patch. Start by taking running stitches down the edges of the fabric patches – your stitches can be as large or small as you like and uneven stitches look good for this style.
Stitch in circles or straight lines as you wish.
Keep adding pieces and stitching them on until the base pieces of calico are completely covered. These are your foundation fabrics for the outer part of the sunglasses case.
Iron on the interfacing to the wrong side of each piece of foundation fabric to strengthen the fabric.
Assembling the sunglasses case
Take a piece of lining fabric and place right sides together with your Boro fabric piece along a short edge then sttich along, securing the ends. Repeat for the other pieces and press the seams towards the lining fabric.
Add the magnetic clasp to the lining pieces. Measure the central point, 2cm from the top of the lining fabric and fuse a scrap piece of interfacing to strengthen the fabric. Make two small slits using your seam ripper tool. Push one half of the magnetic clasp through the holes, making sure the clasp is the right way round on the interior of the lining fabric. Repeat for the other half and making sure they align when closed.
Flatten out the two stitched pieces and place them RS together with the outer pieces facing and the lining pieces facing. Pin then stitch, leaving a 5 or 6cm gap in the lower edge of the lining fabric for turning through. Make sure you secure the stitching at each end and keep the seam allowance towards the lining as you sew.
Snip all corners diagonally to reduce bulk before you turn through, taking care not to cut the stitching.
Push the case through to the right side and then slip stitch the gap in the lining by hand to give the case a neat finish.
Push the lining inside the case and your case is finished and ready to use! As you use it the Boro fabric pieces will fray and ‘weather’ giving it a nice look.