Anyone who enjoys sewing by hand knows that it is a relaxing and stress reducing activity. The sewist has to slow down in order to do it well. Therefore the fingers make each stitch deliberately. Boro stitching is a wonderful form of hand-sewing, it is a way to utilize scraps of fabric. Join me in the fun and relaxation of creating a hand-sewn boro patch.
I do most of my sewing by machine, and I enjoy the process of sewing clothing and household items in this way. We don’t usually think to sew larger projects by hand. Maybe we imagine they will not be as sturdy, or will be too time consuming. This book teaches how to sturdily sew clothing by hand. I have hand sewn a top using the methods taught in it and it has held up to a lot of wear.
There is an air of romance surrounding the act of hand sewing. It brings to mind ladies spending an afternoon talking with hands busy at their stitching. It is such a fundamental skill, one we can all find a use for in our lives.
Machine sewing is the most used method, because it is fast and the end result is usually more sturdy.
Why A Portable Hand-Sewing Project?
A sewist who likes to keep her hands busy will find a boro patch to be a great project. Tuck this small hand-sewing project into a purse or tote and take it anywhere. Gather your fabric scraps ahead of time and plan your patch before you leave your house, it only takes a little forethought.
I often carry a boro patch along with me when I will be sitting for 15 minutes or more. One place I bring my portable hand-sewing projects without fail is church. I can settle in and sew while listening and learning, keeping my hands busy.
All of those small bits of sewing time can really add up. Before you know it, you have a lovely project complete. And it feels as though it was magically finished! Sewing in unexpected places and at unexpected times, means that carving out special sewing time isn’t always necessary.
What Is Boro Stitching?
Boro stitching is a beautiful and frugal fabric art. It is the sewing together of various scraps of fabric to form a piece of cloth. The sewing together of a piece is made up of rows of topstitching. The topstitching is often made in pretty stitching patterns.
This fabric art has its origin in Japan, and was used by necessity when fabric was scarce and very costly. Boro stitching is close to my heart and I love to see combinations of fabric come together to make a useable, lovely, work of art.
Supplies To Gather For A Portable Hand-Sewing Project
- Fabric scraps
- Thread- I use embroidery floss for boro patches. I use this brand.
- Hand-sewing needle
- Scissors- I like this pair for sewing on the go, and for snipping threads at home.
- Small zip pouch, or any small bag, to hold everything together
How To Design A Boro Patch
Step One: I found a scrap of fabric as the backing of my boro patch, on which I would sew all my other scraps.
Step Two: I always search my scrap basket for inspiration. Once my eyes land on a fabric that is pretty, I make that piece the focus. So, I gathered the simpler fabric as a foundation and pieced it all together. I ensured the backing fabric was covered and the scraps were overlapped by a small amount. And then I continue to reposition them until I liked the way it all looked.
Step Three: I placed the fabric scraps in a design that pleased my eye. Following that, I pinned them in place.
How To Sew A Boro Patch
Step One: Gather scissors, thread, a sewing needle and a pincushion.
Step Two: Unwind about 16 inches of embroidery thread. The embroidery floss has 6 strands, loosely wrapped, so consequently, it can be separated. Therefore, I pulled out 2 threads as one unit. Pulling the threads out individually causes the threads to be more difficult to thread into a needle.
Step Three: Starting off, I knotted one end, and threaded the other end on to a hand-sewing needle.
Step Four: I had decided to start my stitching on the pink fabric on the top right of my patch. So, I brought my needle up through the fabric close to the top right corner. I began to make a running stitch across the top of my patch, trying to keep the stitches as even as I could.
I continued the stitching on this piece of fabric. Following that, when I reached the edge of the pink fabric, I turned and stitched in the opposite direction
Step Five: After finishing the pink piece of fabric, I started the same process of sewing the top left. I started my stitching on the top right hand corner of this tan linen fabric.
Following the tan linen fabric, I moved to the lower left corner and sewed that pink floral piece.
Step Six: Next, I sewed the center linen piece. Last, I sewed the blue linen piece and cut off the stray threads. I pressed my boro patch with a hot iron and admired my work!
How I Use A Finished Boro Patch
In the above photograph, I have pinned my finished boro patch to a tote bag. I sewed the tote bag with vintage cotton fabric. I will be sewing this patch onto the tote bag and I may add another patch to the other side.
Here are two other tote bags that I have sewn previous boro patches onto. A few of these patches also incorporated fabric collage.
I hope that you try your hand at sewing boro patches. It is such a satisfying craft that you can carry with you to sew on the go. I encourage you to go low tech and sew!
Have you ever sewn a boro patch? If so, how have you used it? Do you have any projects you like to sew by hand? Tell me below!
Here is another of my sewing posts for you to enjoy!