Nuido-It-Yourself – Boro Denim Revival


Nuido It Yourself - Japanese Embroidery with Madeline Scharpf

Last month I whined about canceling my trip to Japan. Fear not! Ain’t nobody gonna hold me down! I’ve rescheduled and we’ll be heading for the streets of Tokyo IN just one short week away. During the first leg of our trip we’ll be staying in an neighborhood called Shimokitazawa (Shimokita, for short), in the Setagaya area. It’s an up and coming fashion district known for vintage clothing boutiques, elusive tattoo shops and where craft beer drinkers congregate.

 

I found this handmade hat in Shimokitazawa during our trip last February.
I found this handmade hat in Shimokitazawa during our trip last February.
It's me wearing the same hat, except this picture was taken in South Korea.
It’s me wearing the same hat, except this picture was taken in South Korea.

 

One of my favorite eye candy websites is www.tokyofashion.com. I’m always inspired and impressed with the volume of handmade accessories and garments I find browsing through their photos. It’s encouraging and gets me in the mood to make something.

 

She's wearing a handmade headband embroidered with the band name, Moth in Lilac. Photo credit www.tokyofashion.com

She’s wearing a handmade headband embroidered with the band name, Moth in Lilac. Photo credit www.tokyofashion.com

Look at the headband, hand-stitched with the band name, ‘Moth in Lilac’.

 

Those pants are handmade and amazing! Photo credit www.tokyofashion.com
Those pants are handmade and amazing! Photo credit www.tokyofashion.com

Those pants are handmade. Each little piece was hand-sewn, patched and designed by the guy who’s wearing them. His re-claimed pouch is glorious because it’s one of a kind, kitschy, punk rock and made with love.

Let’s make something Boro!

Boro example. Photo credit threads.srithreads.com
Boro example. Photo credit: threads.srithreads.com
More Boro
More Boro

What is Boro? Traditionally, it’s mending ragged textiles with 19th century, indigo died, hand-loomed, natural fibers such as cotton or hemp. If you want some, look at FurugiStar’s Etsy shop for authentic Japanese fabrics. Look at my ‘Nuido it Yourself ‘ board on Pinterest for more inspiration.

I don’t have any authentic fabric but we’re not going to let that stop us. We’ll make due with materials that we have on hand. When creating your Boro think, messy is best and rough is lovely.

Let's see, a long needle and bamboo thread, a shibori experiment, scrap of floral print cotton fabric, tattered hanky and some jeans that my son wore gorgeous holes in.
Let’s see, a long needle and bamboo thread, a shibori experiment, scrap of floral print cotton fabric, tattered hanky and some jeans that my son wore gorgeous holes in.

Here, I’ve got a denim jacket in desperate need of elbow repair and some bits that I’ve squirreled away for such an occasion. How you puzzle together your pieces is entirely up to you. There’s no formula, just patch aesthetically. I cut out the parts I knew I wanted to incorporate and then filled in the rest with some trial and error.

Place your pieces however you like and make a running stitch through all layers.
Place your pieces however you like and make a running stitch through all layers.

What I’ve done here is create a patch by layering my fabrics and securing them together with a running stitch. (TIP: Use sewing pins to hold your scraps in place while you stitch.) Now I’ve made a nice, thick patch. This shabby chic technique allows me to preserve the rustic rips in my denim, but prevents the elbow of my jacket from tearing any further. I’ve chosen to attach my boro from underneath with a blanket stitch around the hole in the elbow. 

Finished mending job.
Finished mending job

This is a perfect project if you have a habit of hoarding away bits or can’t bring yourself to toss a delicious piece of fabric. Don’t be confined to denim tones, you can mend with anything. Try it with a scrap of knit sweater, vintage lace or a little leather.

It's probably time to fix the other elbow.
It’s probably time to fix the other elbow.

Hopefully I’ll have time to finish the other side before next week and my old denim jacket can join me once again in Japan.

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Madeline Scharpf

When she’s not gallivanting overseas (usually to Japan) Madeline is making things at home in the Oregon countryside where she lives with four dogs, a pig and her human family. You can keep up with Madeline’s endless fiber projects and find her travel blog at www.madelinewonderland.com as well as visit her Etsy shop.


Madeline Scharpf

Madeline Scharpf

When she’s not gallivanting overseas (usually to Japan) Madeline is making things at home in the Oregon countryside where she lives with four dogs, a pig and her human family.
Madeline Scharpf
Madeline Scharpf
Madeline Scharpf

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